Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Prejudice and Backlash - I Thought We Were More Grown Up

Are we reverting back to the 1950's? Or maybe even earlier than that, into the turn of last century or even the time of the American Civil War? I'm flabbergasted, because I thought as a nation we had moved beyond senseless hatred and the inability to look beyond racial stereotypes. I guess I was seriously mistaken and I'm stunned.

I liked this ad and thought the couple looked like a great
family unit in it. I fail to see why there should be such
controversy about it, but I know people around the world
would be upset with an interracial marriage. 

Old Navy is a clothing store for casual clothing at low prices (i.e., they're not good quality and won't last for a long time, but they're affordable, especially when kids grow out of clothes faster than budgets allow). They recently ran an advertising campaign featuring the couple and child in the photo above. The implication, of course, is that it was an interracial family, and it comes across as a loving family unit. The backlash the company received on social media because of this photo was ridiculous.

Here's a protest occurring in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1970. Have we
 really not moved past this point? It seems that protests today are
saying the same or quite similar things and protesting for the
same rights. Have we wasted the past 40+ years on nothing? 

When I was in high school I fully admit that people were a lot more uptight about interracial unions. But that was in the late 1960's and early 1970's and I thought we have grown beyond that outdated attitude. When I was in high school, one of my school acquaintances fell in love with a black man and a few years later, while I was in college, she married him. Her family disowned her and, to the best of my knowledge, they never reconciled. Her marriage was happy and she never regretted her choice of partner.

Domestic violence is still prevalent with one in four women
being abused by their spouse in any given year. In some areas
of the world, it is almost an expected part of marriage. To me
that is shocking and something that should never be tolerated, but
I have had co-workers in abusive relationships and I know how
hard it can be to leave them. 

On the other hand, another school friend, Ann, was the perfect Jewish daughter. She was obedient, soft-spoken, very well dressed (her parents had a higher income than most of the rest of us experienced) and did I mention obedient? Yeah. She married the man her parents chose for her - a good Jewish man who married her and took her to Israel. Once there, she was beaten and traumatized, eventually ran away from him and returned home. She divorced the abuser and married a second time into a better situation. But her parents were unforgiving. She had left the man of their choice and they could no longer hold their heads up in Temple. They turned their backs on her for leaving the husband they had chosen.

When are we going to learn that love is the key. We sing about love
all the time, but don't really seem to subscribe to that in our
lives. Posters like this and books showing choices are a good beginning, but that's
all they are - just a beginning. We still, after more than half a century,
have a long way to go. 

My parents, thank goodness, thought both sets of other parents were treating their children poorly for the choices they had made. I'm not sure what my mother would have done if I had expressed the desire to marry a black man, but she knew I was dating one for a while. I had him home for dinner and the folks were great. It just seems to me that getting angry about the people we love is beyond reason. If two people fall in love, marry, and forge a family together, and the marriage is strong and healthy, who really cares if the marriage is interracial, gay, lesbian, or otherwise? What's important are the words strong, healthy for both partners, and loving. Here's to a loving Tuesday for all.

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