Why Not to Judge Racist, Bigoted, and Sexist People: Lana

Why Not to Judge Racist, Bigoted, and Sexist People: Lana

HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Lana’s blog Wide Open Ground. It was originally published on January 22, 2013.

Yes, a lot of people are racists, bigoted, and sexist. We live in a world where people love to push the other person down. People love to make themselves superior  and shove the world in a nice box. But life doesn’t work that way.  And that box is wrong. As we’ve seen from the test of time, women aren’t more dumb than men, and girls aren’t worse at math than boys. Stereotypes are not only wrong, but they are also holding us back from moving forward.

But. Yet.

I grew up in that box.

I hated being the inferior sex, but I still believed I was. I was taught that I had to wear more clothing, speak more soft, and watch boys at our homeschool camps get to rock climb. My homeschool leaders would have denied they were teaching me that I was inferior, but they were.

And I honestly believed being gay was a choice. A simple choice. I had never met a gay person. I had no idea.

I grew up isolated. I simply didn’t know what I didn’t know. I love homeschooling. Always will. But this doesn’t change the fact that because I was homeschooled, I was taught my parents’ view of the world and never had the opportunity to have a teacher with a different perspective. I simply could not imagine another world out there. The homeschool, evangelical culture was my life. One world, one lens, that’s all I had.

My friends in Asia can’t understand a way of life where people work hard and live above the poverty level. Some cannot imagine earning the kind of money that would even afford a car. I’ve tried to teach them tricks, and its failed. In the same way they can’t imagine, I couldn’t imagine another way of life outside fundamentalism growing up. My world was black and white. How could I imagine what colors were? The Bible said homosexuals can’t inherit the kingdom of God; this meant they went to hell. Logical? Not quite. But I simply couldn’t imagine.

Some of us didn’t grow up fortunate enough to be taught what it really meant to love our neighbors as ourselves. My family was not mean or malicious. We weren’t out to get anyone. We were simply clueless. We didn’t know what we didn’t know. My parents were honestly as clueless as me.

That’s changed now.

When you meet a clueless person, try to have patience. Yes, talk to them. But have patience.

I changed. But the part that made me most reluctant to change was that people called me bigoted and sexist at my university. That hurt me. And I grew to think of these people as just hateful people. They never convinced me. Only leaving the country convinced me.

Always remember, people are a work in process. Let’s go alongside and help each other rather than judge each other.

13 thoughts on “Why Not to Judge Racist, Bigoted, and Sexist People: Lana

  1. Tambra Galid May 24, 2013 / 3:27 pm

    It’s a nice thought, but there are so many out there that are willfully ignorant and proud of it. Sorry, I don’t have to tolerate bigotry, intolerance, or hatred. I just don’t.

    Like

    • Tomos Hale May 29, 2013 / 1:45 pm

      I agree. I think people take the shades of grey thing way too far. I can’t say I agree with all of my mother’s opinions. She does sometimes say sexist things about men and has been known to attempt to teach it to her grandchildren (thankfully when I was present). But ultimately, if she wasn’t my mother then I would still be happy to be around her and that’s the bottom line. If, however, somebody has no redeeming qualities then my life is too short to be around them. At college the person I called my friend was sexist to women and he occasionally made fun of my heritage. And he was more or less the best person I could find there. Now I’m out of college, I’ve decided that now I’m in the ”real world”, as it were, I can do a lot better and I’ve met much better people since leaving.

      Like

  2. Kelsa Brinker May 24, 2013 / 7:09 pm

    Again, THANK YOU! Having grown up identically, I can say this article is truthful. Patience is necessary when dealing with homosexuality or bigots or anyone.

    Like

  3. MyOwnPerson May 24, 2013 / 8:01 pm

    Sometimes I wonder what I could’ve said to my old self that might have broken through the shell I was in. I haven’t thought of it. Fundamentalism and similar Christian sub-cultures are so hermetically-sealed I think the only person who can get you out is yourself.

    I’m curious though, what would any of you raised in fundamentalism say to your old self that might’ve broken through?

    Like

    • lanamhobbs May 24, 2013 / 8:37 pm

      Nothing would change it overnight, i think. it wouldn’t have for me i mean. this is how my mind was changed.
      a friend shared stories on facebook about homosexuals, trans* people, and other people who didn’t fit the man/woman dichotomy. At first i was angry someone raised like me (she was homeschooled and conservative, too!) would sympathize with evil. but in the interest of fairness – not wanting to judge people without taking the time (that’s just what i WAS doing though) i decided to read the stories. allow the people their voice. even though i intended to always be against homosexuality and queerness in general, i read them in the interest of intellectual honesty as much as anything.
      but the stories, the people! real people being hated and discriminated against, struggling to be what everyone says they should (not just choosing evil, like you hear they do), and i eventually changed. very slowly, after reading several stories, my heart that was frozen towards LGBTQ because of teachings thawed out.
      It caused a bit of a faith crisis, actually. but i can’t deny people, real people, and their pain and stories, just because of what i was taught the bible means…
      so i guess, to my old self, i would have sent me stories sooner. it would still have been a slow change though.

      Liked by 1 person

    • forgedimagination May 24, 2013 / 9:49 pm

      There’s probably nothing I could say. I just know that, for me, I know what the first gentle push away was: a gay coworker who treated me with kindness even though we both worked with a Christian bigot. He could have lumped me in with her, but he didn’t. That relationship was my first step.

      Like

    • Abigail May 24, 2013 / 11:02 pm

      I don’t think anything “said” would have broken through to me – what broke through to me was my experiences. Having experiences that didn’t line up with what I believed. Like…the best, nicest person I’ve ever met is a gay man. That doesn’t line up with the thinking that “gays are bad and going to hell but Christians who aren’t as nice are going to heaven.”

      Like

    • MyOwnPerson May 25, 2013 / 11:48 am

      Thank for the responses! Yes, I think meeting and being exposed to different types of people is very important.

      Like

    • jonnyscaramanga May 27, 2013 / 2:18 pm

      Thanks for asking this, MyOwnPerson. It’s the question I’m wrestling with most now.

      Like

  4. Jay May 25, 2013 / 10:21 am

    This is an excellent thought, and I agree that it’s important for people to be educated. That being said, it isn’t a minority’s job to educate anyone. I don’t exist to be a walking Q&A session. I see too many people get offended when I say that I don’t want to talk about something that effects me daily. They get even more irate when I tell them to google.

    Like

    • Lana May 27, 2013 / 5:07 pm

      It may not be their job to educate them, but to everyone else I’d say, have a heart. Growing up in a fundamental home can suck. It’s brainwashing. My friends who grew up progressive were taught the truth, I had to learn it the hard way. People need to remember. They could have been me if they had been isolated.

      Like

  5. kecks May 26, 2013 / 7:47 am

    and that’s a very important function of public school: meet people every day who do *not* fit into your own view of the world. really important for keeping a public sphere alive where a democratic process gets a real chance to happen.

    Like

  6. rosealiasmask January 23, 2016 / 7:07 pm

    I cringe thinking of what I was like when I first entered the real world. Deep down, I never really understood how love between people could be such a bad thing. I didn’t personally care what anyone did in their bedrooms. I never felt that disgust or hatred some people seem to feel. But when I first encountered LGBTQ people, I was still rigidly stuck in the “The Bible says this is wrong, and if I disagree I with the Bible I must not be a Christian” mindset. So I would not budge on my “I don’t hate YOU, but it’s a sin.” I wish I could go back and apologize to all the people I was so self-righteous towards… I wish I’d followed my own conscience instead of unquestioningly sticking to what I was taught.

    Like

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