What would you say if I were to accuse you of discrimination? Or even bigotry? What would you say if I were to tell you there is no one that is free from these biases? That every one of us forms strong lifelong opinions of people on the basis of stereotype? It’s true. Jesus knew that. He was said to have said of a woman that was accused of adultery: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” I’m fairly certain this put her in no peril whatever.
It’s hilarious. So many among us these days pride themselves on their acceptance and openness and belief in equality. Look how far we have come they will tell you. Gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, lifestyle. The identity of the chosen peoples were once under the control of a few alpha males. Today LGBT rainbows are painted everywhere. People of all types and preferences are coming out of the closet in droves. Diversity is being celebrated.
I pick up the morning paper. I try to see where all this progress is. We still shun one another over the color of our skin. Bully one another over our social status in school. Firebomb one another’s churches. Endure genocide in Croatia, Rwanda. Ridicule one another’s sexual preferences, language, music, dress. It’s difficult for me to believe there is a Kumbaya world of inclusion out there in the streets. Ask the refugees in Syria. It’s still all about power isn’t it?
And another question: What about the people still in the closet? Who are they you say? Oh my. I doubt we want to talk about them in the same article with rainbows and the like. These are the folks that have been judged to be on the other side of the line. Dangerous folks. Different from us. Souls in need of therapy. In need of repair. Addicts. Compulsives. Obese. Poor. Dirty. Depressed Obsessed. People that you can’t trust. Lazy, unmotivated. People whose brains are wired wrong. Traumatic. Elderly useless. Inferior broken bipolar people. The closet is still full. Keep them there and lock the door so we will all be safe.
It stands to reason. Bias is printed on every cell in our bodies. History tells us that for thousands of years we all have been threatened by those who are different from us in some way we can identify. Invaders. Revolutionaries. Prophets. Sorcerers and charlatans. Popes and kings and dictators. Even scientists and socialists and capitalists. No fair or fowl. Just fact. All have used their power to harm us, kill us.
So why am I bothering to point all this out? It’s personal. I’m still in the closet. And were I to come out I’d be the elephant in the room. You know. The big naked problem nobody wants to discuss? I’m not sure that’s any better. It’s not so nice out there. It’s safer here in the dark. At least I have a tribe.
Perhaps the real elephant in the room is that we have not even begun to eliminate bigotry and hatred of others unlike us. And we never will until we fully admit and renounce our nature. Until we can find a way to circumscribe our passions and learn to trust, we will never find harmony. Peace is just an illusion until we can erase the fear of others in our hearts.
But is that smart?
What if they don’t trust me?
What do I do if someone has a gun?
You need a bigger one silly.