This isn’t meant to be a political statement or a soap box of any kind. It is just a story that happened in my life. I have been told that prejudice is taught. That hate is not something we are born with. I guess I am just a little stupid.
Back in the day when partying was the main focus of my life, yes it lasted quite a few years! Some of the people I worked with were planning an outing. We were discussing the possibility of going downtown Denver to the Paramount, it was a bar. One of my co-workers said “Jan and I aren’t going.” Flat statement no hate no explanation. Several of us tried to coax her into agreeing with the plan. Several of the group asked “Why not!?!” If it was something to do with transport or even money we were sure we could work it out. Her next statement make me rather uncomfortable. “The kkk is meeting down there this weekend.” again no hate no spouting of racial slurs. It had been all over the news that the “rally” would be going on in Denver.
“Well, if we don’t bother them they wont bother us!” Some of my wiser friends dropped out of the conversation at this point. It didn’t seem fair that just because some group was planting themselves on the capital steps, that we should miss a party! My priorities were just a little askew.
“Well, of course they won’t bother you. You are white!” It never dawned on me that my friend and her cousin were anything other than my friends and coworkers. Even when we went to mexico and the rest of the group had only a drivers license as I.D. It was along time ago. Jan and Lisa (yes, I changed the names to protect the innocent – ME I don’t want them mad at me!) had to have an up to date passport and a valid drivers license. Because they had dark brown hair and a tan that I had spent all week trying to get – I never made it. They were Hispanic.
So I guess if hate and prejudice is taught so is fear. I just couldn’t believe that they were afraid to go somewhere because hatred had been pounded into some people.
We never made it down town that weekend. The rally was held and several protesters were arrested. Seems small compared to the fear it spread.
Maybe that was the point. Fear. But it took more than a thousand to scare two twenty somethings into staying away. I hope they are proud of themselves. One on one doesn’t seem to be in their vocabulary.
One other time when it wasn’t color or race or even sex (male/female – just so you know!). There had been a parade downtown Denver. I don’t remember quite which one but some of the participants were wearing kilts. Let’s call him Dan, fear even from this distance of using his real name. WOW! Anyway, Dan and some cowboy buddies, wearing their cowboy boots and hats were being taunted by some of the kilts. Just simple stuff like “If you were a real man you would wear a kilt!” and of course answering banter from the cowboys ensued. When the group of cowboys decided that discretion being the better part of valor, turned to leave. One of the kilt guys took the knife out of his stocking (NO I don’t know the name of the garter thing) and stabbed Dan in the back, going between the ribs and puncturing his heart.
If it hadn’t been for the paramedics that had also been at the parade Dan would have died with in minutes. He was in the hospital for a long time.
Not hate of race or gender or even ideologies, well maybe that last one. Hate reared it’s ugly head and almost cost a life.
I guess what I hope you take away from this story is that the opposite of hate is fear. the opposite of love isn’t hate it is indifference.