Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Discrimination

Tonight I experienced discrimination firsthand and didn't recognize it for what it was.
I did recognize it only I thought it was sexism in action.

I was wrong.

I was talking to a man -- rather I was *trying* to talk to a man and give him some very helpful information. Not only did he not give me eye-to-eye contact, he wouldn't look at me when I spoke. Not only did he not look at me when I spoke, he didn't look my direction.

He was short, curt and uppity. He didn't want my help. He didn't want me talking to him. That was very clear.

When my family got home from this activity, I discussed it with my husband. I expressed my opinion that the guy was just being a sexist jerk.

My wise husband smiled and started speaking in a gentle tone. Frankie, he said, sexism was only a small part of it. He didn't want contact with you because you are overweight.

I was floored and about to ask why he thought that. Then it dawned on me. That's why the man couldn't even look at me, because I'm overweight.

I cannot understand how someone can hate someone else because of their body shape. Same with skin color. Same with religion. Same with sexual preference. I could write a million "same with" sentences here. I don't understand discrimination.

Really, I just don't get it.

I think the people that can't look you in the eye and are so closed off to any other ideas than their own are the saddest people that walk the face of the earth. I think they must lead the most miserable lives imaginable. I think they are projecting their own self-hatred and self-doubt onto others. I think they are so full of hate that it eats away at them so they lash out at others in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

I pity them.

My son saw all of this. He also was privy to our conversation after the fact. Another valuable lesson for him. Funny thing is, we don't need to tell him why discrimination in any form is wrong. He knows.

To drive home the lesson, though, I've come up with some vocabulary.

Tomorrow morning's lessons:

From dictionary.com:

discriminate: 2. To make distinctions on the basis of class or category without regard to individual merit ; show preference or prejudice

unreasonable: Not governed by reason.

preconceived: To form (an opinion, for example) before possessing full or adequate knowledge or experience.

conviction: A fixed or strong belief.

prejudice:
n.
1. a. An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts.
b. A preconceived preference or idea.
2. The act or state of holding unreasonable preconceived judgments or convictions.
3. Irrational suspicion or hatred of a particular group, race, or religion.
4. Detriment or injury caused to a person by the preconceived, unfavorable conviction of another or others.
tr. v.
1. To cause (someone) to judge prematurely and irrationally.
2. To affect injuriously or detrimentally by a judgment or an act.
hate:
1. a. To feel hostility or animosity toward.
b. To detest.
2. To feel dislike or distaste for

pity: Sympathy and sorrow aroused by the misfortune or suffering of another.

tolerance: The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others.

Tomorrow I will teach my son to start seriously questioning. Why do some people believe it is good to beat babies with plastic pipe? Why do people hate fat people? Why is there racial discrimination? Why do some religious people do what they do? I'm sure he will come up with a million questions.

Tomorrow I will stress my favorite line for the millionth time: LIVE AND LET LIVE with the caveat: as long as it does no one or thing harm. If it causes harm, fight it like crazy.

6 comments:

mull-berry said...

just curious ... how did your husband pick up on that?

Frankie said...

Ah, an important part of the story that I left out.

My husband is a people watcher. He's apparently been watching this guy at every event we've been to together for almost two years now. He noticed early on the behavior around female leaders, especially the heavier less perky and bubbly type. He's noticed dirty looks from afar. Last night when he was watching the man's actions toward me was when my husband put his finger on it. We had both assumed most of these men were just sexist, but he doesn't treat other "type" of women with the same degree of disregard.

And...today I visited with a friend who is in this organization and she confirmed our suspicions, at least from her point of view.

I guess that post probably sounded very reactionary and probably a bit paranoid, but it really wasn't.

I'm going to be at an event this weekend with this man again. You can bet I'm going to be watching from afar to re-confirm our beliefs. If I'm wrong, I'll gladly admit it. I don't think I am, though.

It's probably a little of both, though, sexism and fatism. (Is there such a word?)

Almost Lazarus said...

So is this guy some super specimen of manhood? I'm betting...not.

(Like I'd be a good judge of that)

BridgetJ said...

He's probably got a bad case of erectile dysfunction and a third nipple.

Frankie said...

This is another scouting event...so they're just all assholes, what can I say. Well, not really all, but a *few* choice princes do stand out.

I will not quit because they need a liberal woman prodding them and making them uncomfortable, damn it. And I'm not even a true liberal, I'm just a moderate -- but in their world, I'm damn scary.

Saturday is our pinewood derby and the women were asked to bake pizzas and sell them. I declined when he asked us girls. I think I'll probably hide out in the kitchen anyway and maybe spike my diet pepsi.

I'm really going to piss them all off because we're having a dad's race this year after the boys are done. I made a car. It's a lot harder than it looks and I won't be doing it next year, but I'm entering in the dad's race. Try and stop me.

And the funny thing, another female den leader built a car. And last night, my assistant den leader surprised me and let me know that she built a car, too.

Hot damn, three women racing in the dad's race. Do you think they'll figure out they should change the name to an "open class" race or "adult" race?

I hope one of "the girls" wins and we can march our fat a$$ up to the winner's circle. lol

(I'm PMSing and have had entirely too much male BS this week so I'm feeling rather snarky tonight.)

mull-berry said...

I made a car one year (we had an extra kit and I was just being funny) ... I left it rectangular, painted it a bright pink added button decals and called it a sewing box. Everybody laughed at it until it started winning a few heats. It ran in an "open class" category for any non-scout.

We recently visited a boy scout open house for new recruits ... about six troops were there from the six denominations ... since my husband refuses to be part of scouting, I have to do it. I judged each troop not only how my son like the boys there and what the troop did, but if they let the mom's camp too. The Assembly of God scout master said no way and looked at me if I was totally crazy as he ordered his wife to go to the truck to get me an info sheet.

In these days of molestation, especially known to be in all boy functions, don't you think they would be more flexible in letting parents be involved?

My other beef is sexist coaches ... one told my then 8-yr old that the uniform would be a skirt and he believed him and didn't want to play. Also, you throw like a girl, etc. Excuse me, but my kids have talent because I was out there with them when they were little not their dad! And ... their aunt went to Brown University on a softball scholorship. Ugh!