As most of you know, many of my books’ profits go directly to support battered women’s shelters. I feature heroines who are Hispanic, black, native American, lesbian, and have Asperger’s. I have beloved friends and family members who are in all of these groups. I feel incredibly strongly that EVERY individual is deserving of respect and equal treatment.
This election cycle has been incredibly divisive and I have heard a number of incredibly racist / sexist / etc. comments from people who were caught up in the fervor. I held my tongue because I know politics can inflame people. It was very upsetting for me to remain quiet. The election is now over. It’s fair to say that someone who at this point snarls slurs that denigrate as a group Hispanics, blacks, lesbians, those with disabilities, and so on is now doing so out of a fundamental lack within their own soul.
Going forward, it’s important to SPEAK UP when one witnesses that fundamental lack of healthy citizenship. Staying quiet is how rapists keep raping. It’s how racists remain in positions of power and authority. Most especially, any person whose job it is to support members of the public should be treating every person FAIRLY and with an equal level of compassion. If someone is incapable of doing that, they need support, education, heck – therapy, or maybe in the end a new career. But I no longer think we should sit back and allow them to fester damage on those who need help. The only way we will be a society that supports all is for us to speak out when we see the people who cause the damage.
Part of what stuns me is that often the people who are most vitriolic in their putting down of Hispanics or blacks (or whoever) come from immigrant families themselves. They are Italian or Irish. How can they not remember that their own grandparents were treated the exact same way?? Do they not remember the history of Sacco and Vanzetti? The history of “No Irish Need Apply” signs? Having only barely escaped themselves from that horrific prejudice, are they so eager to turn around and stamp down on a different group?
Unless one is a native American, we are ALL immigrants to the US. We’re all here together now. We all should be working together to make our community the best it can be. That means respecting and appreciating each other, treating each other as *individuals*, and finding what each of us brings to the table EVEN IF we are gay or have disabilities or have a different skin color or accent.