OK, I did a silly post this morning and now I'm gonna do a more serious one.
I just got back from a luncheon where USA Network and Comcast were giving a Characters Unite Award to Carla Kelley for her work with the non-profit group The Human Rights Education Center of Utah and for a life of fighting for what's right.
As I sat there listening to the various speakers who are front-line fighters combating hate, intolerance and discrimination, I knew I needed to promote this as well. Not that I don't try to always do that in my daily life any way, but in a more overt way. Publicly. Here.
What kind of things am I talking about - things like sexism, racism, homophobia, intolerance for others' religion, sexual orientation, gender orientation, height, weight, skin color, ethnic heritage, favorite ice cream flavor. Many of you might be saying, 'Ice cream flavor? Why would I condemn anyone based on that?' I'm saying why would you condemn anyone for any of the others any more than that one.
As one of the speakers (Saundra V. Stokes, Executive Director Inclusion Center for Community and Justice) said, "If you know better, do better." Simple and to the point. Not that any of us is ever perfect and that we won't make mistakes, but it's little things that can change the world. Things like saying that's not okay when someone makes a joke or a comment or acts in a way that is not okay.
Prejudice is learned. Remember in the musical South Pacific when the American lieutenant has to face the fact that even though he loves the Asian girl, he knows he can't take her home to the family and sings the song about prejudice and how you 'have to be carefully taught'? That's what I'm talking. Let's reteach something better, something that says we're all human, we're all going through the same stuff, we all love, we all feel, we all need one another. As Carla Kelley said during her speech (I paraphrase), we don't have to like every one, but we need to respect everyone's right to be themselves. We are all unique individuals, so let's honor all that cool diversity rather than punish each other for it. Let's respect our similarities rather than disparage our differences.
Let's do better. Be nicer. Teach patience and respect for everyone. We're all human folks. We all go through what is referred to as the human condition. There are universal truths... they apply to us all. Let's try to remember that. Me included. I will endeavor to do better. Because I do know better. I hope you'll join me in this worthy choice. How we live our lives is a choice. Tolerance and kindness and understanding... these are my choice.
I forgot.... Also - get involved. Wherever you are. If you're in Salt Lake City, here's Carla Kelley's place: The Human Rights Education Center of Utah.
Go forth and do better :)