The following article in a recent edition of the Guardian got me thinking. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/jun/21/new-york-same-sex-marriage?INTCMP=SRCH
I believe that I may have mentioned that I have few prejudices (and those that I have will remain rather personal); none are about a person’s race, color, sexual persuasion, or creed (although I have strong opinions about creeds). I like or dislike someone based upon my judgment of his or her character, personality, and actions.
I dislike prejudiced people and societal conditions based upon prejudice. I vividly recall Segregation in the US, which I witnessed during youthful visits to relatives in Virginia (one of the states where the Confederate flag still waves) has officially ended, even if it lingers in the minds of many. At time, signs on park benches and toilet doors, which warned that these were for “Whites only”, surprised and confused someone that was growing up, going to school, and attending church in Massachusetts. I had learned that the Founding Fathers had proclaimed that “all men are created equal”.
Later, I attended a school with children from Africa and the ghettos of New York. Fellow students rode buses south to participate in marches and returned with gruesome tales of beatings, dogs, and arrests. For some reason, not all people believe in equality “guaranteed” in this country.
My family ignored the labels my bigoted grandmother spouted in the comfort of our home. In junior high school, I knew that kids were Jewish or Catholic, but it meant little. A girl might be Jewish, but more important was her beauty, personality, and...interest or lack there of in me. I did not know, or care, what it meant to be Jewish, any more than I understood what it meant to be Catholic, Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian, or any other of the myriad of “faiths” kids parents forced them to believe in. I recall that one friend could no play, because he had to go to something called confession. I felt sorry for him, but only because he missed playing.
At the Christian (Episcopalian) boarding school that I attended, there were a few Jews and Catholics (I can’t imagine why; perhaps because it was cheap and better than public school). In my first year, there was a boy in the next room. His name was Irving Pitscher (I remember it well, because he always spelled it to prevent people from thinking that his name was Picture). His father was a tailor, so I asked Irving to help me have a pair of pants shortened. I was surprised when he asked me for money, because I was used to friends helping friends for nothing. Needless to say, he did not become a friend: I do not even recall if he remained in school and graduated with us. His behavior had no impact upon my feelings about his kind...only about him.
Too many Christians say one thing about those of which they approve, but interpret their “Holy” bible in another way for those that want to live differently. Blacks may have made some progress in being accepted throughout the United States; women might be receiving some recognition in some fields of society; but gays have a long, difficult row to hoe, before they will be widely accepted. If you don’t believe me, read about the charge being led by a certain evil, bigoted, homophobic American woman (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/jun/22/michele-bachmann-gay-republicans) Some politicians will grub for votes in the slimiest of waters. (If it’s any consolation, atheists will have a harder time gaining recognition in that country. Few, if anyone, will touch that political kryptonite).
Still, some things will never change...and I don’t mean prejudice. Civil rights legislation, equal treatment of women, and state laws permitting gay marriage will not end the age-old problem of mothers not liking their child’s choice of spouse.
Perhaps your memory is dim, but as I remember there were no blacks in Wellesley in until late in our time there. If they could afford it, as I remember, no one would sell it to them. The one black I remember was a gym teacher who was very well liked by all the kids that he taught. But I definitely remember he couldn't live in the town. I think finally in my senior year of high school there were a couple of black kids in the lower grades. Maybe you had some blacks in your JH class, but they would have been very few and very far between. That has bothered me in later years, once I got out of the cocoon.
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Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.