Doc and I always tried to instill in our kids that it matters not your color, whether you are gay or lesbian, rich or poor, what is your religious affiliation or if you have none, your education or even how you drive your car! Everyone is a human being to be respected.
Now more ever it seems like some people have taken one step forward and two backwards when it comes to racial discrimination, especially what we see has been happening south of the border. A lot of this was perpetrated by the former President referring to the COVID-19 virus as the “China” virus. Don’t tell me this hasn’t happened this side of the border too.
I am truly appalled at the insinuation that because the person on television is of a different color than you are that somehow this person is less qualified for the job! Not that the critic has any idea what their qualifications might be! Another saying that is still rings true today “ you cannot tell a book by its cover” also applies to the color of their skin.
Growing up on a farm with neighbors mostly Scandinavian and 14 miles from the nearest village I certainly never even saw anyone of a different color until I went to the city. There was a genuine cooperation amongst the whole community. And my Mother said many times, “Do not think you are better than anyone else but always think you are just as good.” There was bullying in the community but this was never involving those of a different race.
My late husband, Doc, was always keen to help others. I remember a young Indigenous gal who worked with Doc at SGI who had car problems. Do you think it mattered to Doc the color of her skin? NO WAY! Doc not only fixed her car problems more than once but he also did it for free.
I am still choosing to go forward, never backwards, when it comes to respecting people for their qualities and interactions, not prejudging them based on race, orientation, religion, education or income level.
The following is my niece Kate’s essay on the subject.
Have You Met the Human Race?
Have you actually mixed and mingled with others who look different from you on the surface? Have you ever gotten to know someone of a different race or ethnicity? If yes, then you already know why some of us harp about the ignorance of racism. As the brilliant poet Maya Angelou wrote: “for we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”
No matter what our skin tone or culture, the whole human race has the same goals and values. In all cultures, the majority of parents care for infants, and adult children care for elderly parents. We all know right from wrong. We are capable of abstract thinking and basic math. We all have self-awareness of our own personality and what makes us an individual.
We, the whole human race, are on the same ladder of basic and higher needs in life. We must always secure food and shelter first, before moving on to our safety and security needs. Only then can we seek our higher human goals of belonging, love, respect and self-esteem. Knowing what level another person has reached on that ladder of basic needs is one of the keys to preventing misunderstandings and prejudice.
In every race, the vast majority wants the very best for their families, friends, community and country of residence. They are moderate and want everyone to live well and let live. They don’t want to be stereotyped by a very small minority of extremists in their race. They don’t want to be discriminated against by ignorant and violent people. Who would?
Have you met the human race? Have you ever been a stranger in a foreign land who didn’t look like the locals or speak their language? If so, how were you treated? If you smiled and were patient and respectful, then that’s exactly what you got in return. Every human responds positively to the universal body language that says we are all equal and in this together.
If you ever get the chance to speak up or stand up against racism, please do.
Written by: Kate Wood (at age 68)