Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Have you noticed this?

Maybe it's just me. I'm noticing that people who hold biggoted attitudes somehow feel more free to discuss them in public or in mixed company. Three times in the last 6 or 7 days, I've been around co-workers that have openly expressed racist or homophobic opinions. These are people I worked with for years. People that know full well that I'm very liberal and almost certainly don't share their narrow view point. This morning I had three individuals congregate outside of my cubicle (I was not yet part of the discussion). The subject of Brokeback Mountain came up and the person who most wears her religion on her sleeve (of course) starts spouting off about 'how could anybody go see that movie, it's a sin, Jesus says, the bible says, blah, blah ,blah'. Which then progressed to the gay marriage issue and then to 'they choose to be that way, so they don't deserve any right. So finally I got up from my chair and I asked them to move somewhere else, cause I didn't want to hear their blathering, that it was offensive. They looked confused. Then I get dragged into the conversation. "How can I think it's okay, jesus says, jesus says". And after much discussion, nobody walked away with their minds changed.

Then yesterday, I'm getting some hot water for tea in the break room. A co-worker comes in, asks me if I watched the Superbowl. I say yes and lament that Lynn Swann (someone with no political experience) will probably be our next governor. He says "yeah, that sucks that Pennsylvania will have a "n-word" governor". Only he actually says the n-word. And then goes on to opine that he will probably institute more minority opportunity programs and there shouldn't be such a thing and that women and minorities now have the same chances as everyone else and they shouldn't get special treatment. At this point, he must have noticed the fact that my eyes were huge and I had a look of horror on my face and obviously wasn't in the same boat. So he shrugged and walked off.

There were two other incidences last week that were along the same line. What is going on? I mean I know that people out there are racists and biggots and mysogynists and homophobes, but it just seems that they don't feel like they have to hide these views anymore. That everyone thinks like this. Does anyone notice any behavior like this? Maybe it's just a series of coincedences. But I'm afraid that something is shifting in this country. What little foothold tolerance had, is quickly washing away.


Anonymous Judith said...

If you get a chance to watch a 're-run' of Coretta Scott King's service that happened today, please take time to watch it. I have not felt as uplifted & proud to be an American in a very long time...peace, non-violence, love, dignity, truth, honor, integrity....it blows people like what you have described out of the water & makes way for a community that will work together rather than against one another.

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Liz said...

Sorry you have to experience so much bigotry in your day to day life. I'd like to think that it was just an unfortunate series of events for you.

10:15 AM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

I hope it was just a series of unfortunate events. I did catch part of Coretta's funeral and I would like to see the whole thing. The little I did see had our pathetic president sitting in the background squirming. I would have loved to have seen Maya Angelou.

10:41 AM  
Blogger EFB said...

During Hurricane Katrina a co-worker said to me that all the looting made him and his wife "wonder about black people." I nearly fell off my chair. Now with Brokeback Mountain I feel like I'm back in high school with all the guys at work championing the fact that they wouldn't see the movie as some sort of indication of how macho they are. I'm like grow up.

2:13 PM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

Yeah, it does feel like high school sometimes. It's jarring because I walk around thinking pretty much most people I work with think like I do and when I'm shown that they really, really don't think anywhere near the way I do, it's shocking. And I have a hard time just accepting it. People say "Well, they just have a different opinion". I'm sorry, not everything has an equally valid opposite. Some things are just wrong and should be treated as such.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I think it's a trend that is here to stay. You hear it everywhere. It's as if someone said, "Ok, you're free to be a bigot now!" "Go ahead and be misogynistic, its ok!" I suspect it will get very ugly before people wake up and realize they don't want to live this way.


3:20 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Hi - I followed you over here from Liz's site!

I think you are right - since many in leadership positions are promoting the "us vs. them" mentality, it seems that the general public is more flagrantly expressing their bigotry these days.

In one way, it's good. We can easily identify who these people are! Just think if you are ever in a position to promote any of those people whom you work with - you'll have some serious things to consider and good information about what kind of people they are.

However, it is frustrating, because in my own idealistic way, I thought that the we were supposed to moving towards greater acceptance of others. It's sad to see that the hatred is right there below the surface just waiting for any opportunity to come up for air!

One good story is this - I help out a local animal shelter. It's in a town that is known for being very homogeneous (white, eastern europian backgrounds) and mostly blue collar. I was surprised to hear several women talking about BB Mt. in a very positive way. One lady said, "It was the most romantic movie, ever!". I was really encouraged.

Of course, the guys that I work with wouldn't dream of seeing the movie. Or maybe they just have to say that when they are around each other. Who knows!

12:13 AM  

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