I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about what it means to be “in the minority.” I’m white, so, you know, obviously I’m in the majority on the race issue. I’m a woman, which isn’t a minority in this country. But, sure, there are oppression issues there. I’ve been incredibly lucky not to have been the brunt of them, though. At least, not to my knowledge. Career-wise, I was actually the most highly paid writer and editor in the company for which I worked. The men didn’t do so well in that area of the company–they were pretty lazy. The company before that? All women. In high school, I worked retail, in fabric stores and at Hallmark, and one time at a retail grocery store, but my Dad worked in the office, and I know I got a comparable wage.
OK, so I’ve personally never dealt with sexism, at least not in the workplace. (Ha! Well, not sexism related to pay…we won’t go into the coworker who flashed me.) So, what other prejudices might I deal with?
Well, religion, it turns out, can be a big one. Never has been for me before. I grew up in a community that’s got a large LDS population (I’d guess around 20%), and though most of my friends in high school were not Mormon, most of my friends (in town) now are. I’m surrounded by people who believe the same things I do. And my friends who don’t at all share my beliefs? They don’t really seem to care. We respect one another for the loving, intelligent people we all are. Why should anything else matter?
Interestingly, apparently it does. I’ve found that there are, indeed, some in this world who loftily claim to “accept all, regardless of their views,” who just can’t seem to do it.
To be clear, I’ve never made any such claim. I’ll be honest with you and tell you that it’s my goal to try. I’ll tell you that I believe it’s not my place to judge. And that I know I should love everyone. But some people really do make it so danged hard!
That said, I do still try. I’m not proud of my weaknesses. But I do also believe that no matter how much I love someone, there’s still such a thing as right and wrong. I know that the trend continues toward “anything goes,” and that my definition of right and wrong isn’t the same as everyone else’s. But I stand by it, and I’ll continue to defend it…at least, until the conversation becomes completely ugly and unproductive. It’s happened on more than one occasion, recently.
I’m alright, frankly, with the idea that some people just won’t like me. I just want them to stop avoiding the fact that when it’s because of my religious beliefs, it’s bigotry, just the same.