April 25, 2009
Trivializing BigotryBy Jan LaRue
Vacuous bullies on college campuses, who couldn't score in a debate with a Teletubbie, proclaim their feigned concern about "racism" and "bigotry" as an excuse to attack people expressing opposing beliefs. Likewise, Janeane Garafalo maligned Americans as "racists" for attending "Tax Day Tea Parties," and homosexual activist Perez Hilton attacked Carrie Prejean, "Miss California," as a "dumb b**** for speaking in support of traditional marriage.
If any of these self-anointed "bigot" busters ever confronted real racism or unjust discrimination of any kind, they wouldn't trivialize it by using it so carelessly.
Holocaust images were entrenched in my memory as a young child as a result of seeing Movietone News clips in theaters at the end of WWII. Those images remain.
They were there the day my aunt took my cousins and me to a public swimming pool when I was about 7-years-old. There was a long, slow-moving line of kids anxious to jump into the water on a hot summer day. A mean-looking woman with a clipboard stood between us and the pool asking each kid a question. I was getting irritated by the delay, and asked my aunt what the woman was doing:
"She's trying to keep out Jews from Chicago."
"We beat Hitler, didn't we?" I was stunned.
"Just tell her you're Hungarian." (It's funny now, as I think back on it. I don't know how that would have helped.)
Then it was my turn. The woman glared down at me, and asked, "What's your nationality?"
I stiffened my back, gave her my best 7-year-old steely-eyed look, and said, "I'm an American!"
The woman sneered while motioning for me to proceed. As I ran to the pool, I heard my cousins and the kids behind them saying, "I'm an American."
Bigotry drowned in a swimming pool that day.
During my sophomore year in high school, we left Illinois for Dallas, Texas, so that my step-dad, a WWII vet, could look for work. I felt like I had entered another world when I saw signs in public buildings identifying "White Only" and "Colored" drinking fountains and restrooms. I had attended integrated schools since Kindergarten. My best friends were "Negro" twin sisters. We didn't know we were supposed to separate according to skin color.
When my mother told me that I had to go to a segregated Dallas high school to register, I refused. "I'm not going to school here." When we returned home to Illinois, I had to make up a month's school work because I wouldn't participate in segregation.
In 1957, I was working for a major insurance company in California. My pay was half that of the men who held the same position, and to make matters worse, the men had secretaries. It didn't occur to me to round up a bunch of angry women and burn our bras. I did go to the general manager to seek redress. I politely expressed my grievance, and asked why I was being treated differently. My boss, a nice guy who was simply enforcing company policy, gave me an incredulous look, and said, "Jan, you're a woman. I can't pay you the same as the men." I pressed enough to get a small raise. Times they weren't a-changin'.
While visiting Dallas in 1972, I experienced bigotry back-lash in a clothing store near the campus of SMU. As I approached the sales counter, I noticed a Christian pamphlet next to the cash register. I smiled at the woman behind the counter, and asked, "Are you a Christian?" Her smile vanished as she picked up a pair of scissors to emphasize every angry word by jabbing them into the space between us: "I'm a Jew, not a Christian, and I don't want anything to do with Christian bigots who've blamed me all of my life for killing Christ!"
Since her accent wasn't Texan, I assumed that most of the bigotry she had suffered occurred in the North, maybe some at that swimming pool in Illinois. But, it wasn't the time to talk about my experiences with bigotry and discrimination.
It was time to ask forgiveness: "Ma'am, I want to apologize for every so-called Christian who has hurt you. A real Christian doesn't hate Jews. Our Savior was born to a Jewish mother. Jews gave us the Bible. The first Christians were Jews. Please forgive me if I've offended you."
Tears came to her eyes as she laid down the scissors. "Please forgive me. I'd like to have any Christian literature you'd like to give me."
That brings us to "Tax Day" last week when we joined hundreds of our fellow Americans at a "tea party" deep in the heart of Texas. It was a union of White, Hispanic, Black, and Asian patriots standing up for America and against the destructive policies of Washington "progressives."
We're fed-up with seeing ourselves, speakers on college campuses, and a young woman in a beauty contest vilified for our beliefs by hypocrites pretending to care about free speech. Maybe Garofalo and Perez just play bigoted jackasses on television, or maybe they're type-cast. If they think that people are "discriminating" against them because of their sex or sexual orientation, they couldn't be more self-deluded.
Jan LaRue is an attorney and frequent contributor to American Thinker.