Monday, January 15, 2007

Thoughts on Martin Luther King Day...

....or Human Rights Day as it's known in Utah. I have been wondering if our country has begun to embrace a new type of acceptable prejudice? Prejudice against Hispanics. My daughter recently had a baby for the weekend... an electronic plastic baby, courtesy of her ninth grade teen living class. The exercise was designed to teach kids that they don't want to do do something foolish, like become teen parents. My daughter didn't feel like she learned much from the lesson because, as she said, "Duh Mom, I already knew it would be stupid to get pregnant at my age". She did end up learning something that made her unhappy about some of her classmates. About racism. You see, she chose the Hispanic plastic baby, and actually got numerous snide comments from her classmates about it. Not knowing she'd picked that baby, kids "felt bad" for her because she "got stuck" with the Hispanic baby. She has also told me that kids at her school frequently make racist comments towards Mexicans, and that they are also racist, to a lesser degree, against Asians. It is something that definitely upsets and disappoints her about her classmates.

I have to admit to hearing that racism runs rampant at her school surprising. We live in a good part of town, in fact many neighborhoods that feed her school are pretty affluent. When I think of affluent people I think of educated people. I think educated people *should* know better than to be racist. I thought we'd learned from history, from people like Martin Luther King. Or have we simply learned not to be prejudiced against blacks? With the all the controversy in recent years about illegal immigrants from Mexico have we somehow begun to sanction a new "acceptable" prejudice? Against Hispanics? I hope not, but I have begun to wonder.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This topic saddens me too, Linda. I wish we could just "all get along" as dramatic as that sounds but why can't we???????? I hate to say it "out loud" but I wonder if it's human nature to always look down at someone.
The prejudice against the gay population is one that drives me crazy too.
I love a good joke but several years ago I began telling people who wanted to tell me one: "as long as it's not racial or homophobic." Amazing how it cuts down on the jokes. Such a sad commentary on our lives.