A Soapbox Moment

(steps up onto soapbox)

Racism still exists in this country. If you grew up in the South you’ve likely seen this firsthand in a way many white people from the Northeast just haven’t, and it’s uncomfortable to admit a similar sort of discrimination due to perceived differences exists separate from race. My parents taught me the heartfelt if simplistic notion that all people deserve equal respect because all people are the same. It took until college for me to realize that many others of my generation grew up with similarly whitewashed notions of equality and that by layering political correctness onto this flawed idea, we effectively looked down our noses at many who were different. Comfortable in our own perceived correctness, we looked down with self righteous condescension without any acknowledgement of the way we were perpetuating the same unfounded stereotypes while feeling smug in our own superiority.

(steps off soapbox)

We are all people, yes, but we are the products of our upbringing, our choices, our family, our relationships, what we read and learn, and how we respond to things. How I was taught to think, believe, speak, and behave can be changed through force of will and years of practice, but who am I to tell you that my way is the right one? Who am I to judge you based on how you experience the world? If your language is rougher, your expressions unclear, or your vehemence inexplicable, this doesn’t make your experience of the world any less valid or “correct” than mine. I have so very much more to learn, but I’m quite content to acknowledge the limitations to my understanding of the world, and keep doing one thing I do exceptionally well; keep on reading.

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