Blog, Inspiration

Learn To Love…

August 20, 2019
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As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
– Nelson Mandela

Anti-racism activist Jane Elliott’s response to the question, “Why do we hate?”

“We hate because we’re taught to hate. We hate because we’re ignorant. We’re the product of ignorant people who have been taught an ignorant thing. Which is there are four or five different races. There are not four or five different races. There is only one race on the face of the earth. And we’re all member of that race. The human race.

But we have separated people into races so that some of us can see ourselves as superior to others. We thought it would work, I guess. It hasn’t worked.It has been bad for everyone. It’s time to get over this business.

There is no gene for racism. There is no gene for bigotry. You’re not born a bigot. You have to learn to be a bigot. Anything you learn, you can unlearn. It’s time to unlearn our bigotry. It’s time to get over this thing. And we best get over it pretty soon…”

I grew up with a father who hated everyone who didn’t mirror who he was. I remember from an early age knowing his values were not my own. He taught bigotry, but I refused to learn his lessons. I saw everyone as equal and hung, “Give Peace a Chance” posters in my bedroom. I sang the song “What The World Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love,” over and over again. I challenged authority, always questioned unkindness, never followed the status quo, or my father’s footsteps.

My father’s favorite TV show in the 1970‘s was the sitcom Archie Bunker, about a gruff man from Queens with misogynistic views who got laughs based on his bigotry. When his wife protested about his behavior Archie told her to “stifle yourself” and “dummy up.”

We can refuse to be taught to hate, and instead learn to love. We can refuse to dummy up and stifle ourselves by speaking up and replacing ignorance with knowledge. We can leave our bitterness and hatred behind by treating each other the way we want to be treated. “It’s time to unlearn our bigotry. It’s time to get over this thing. And we best get over it pretty soon…”

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