Monday, December 15, 2008

Ignorance is Bigotry?

I'm not sure who I will eventually freak out on, but I am becoming more and more sickened by the jokes, emails and comments about our President-Elect. I received an email today from a friend that had photos of all the former Presidents' vehicles, mostly limousines, with the names of the Presidents who rode in them underneath, ending with a picture of some asinine-looking orange low rider and "Guess who?" typed under it. Amusing...

Aaron received a text message the night of the election from an unknown number that said, "What do Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama have in common? Nothing... yet." When did death threats become funny?

Recently I became involved in a conversation about how the White House will be redecorated for the new President. To keep a longer story short, mentions of beaded doorways and dinners of fried chicken and collard greens were made. I just kept quiet, silently taking stock of the complete and utter ignorance of some of the people whose company I apparently employ.

What shocks me is my/our tolerance of this type of speech. I'm am clearly not opposed to free speech, but our individual lack of awareness of the people who surround us and what their personal views may or may not be disturbs me. Why do people assume I would find a racial joke about our next President funny? I am proud to say I voted for Barack Obama, but I am beginning to feel ashamed that I tolerate the ignorant-speak all around me. I was worried that my vehicle would be vandalized if I put any sort of Obama-Biden paraphernalia on it before the election. Actually, in Ruidoso I'd be afraid of what might happen to my car even though he won!

What I am not afraid of is the competence of the rest of us - the rest of the world - who celebrated the election of a new President who undoubtedly has more couth, grace and diplomacy in his little finger than our current President has in his entire body. President Bush had shoes hurled at him in Iraq. I am sad to admit that one of the few countries that may happen to Barack Obama is our own, a country that was supposedly founded upon tolerance and freedom.

Be aware and educated if you are going to share your bigoted opinions. And next time you want to push racist jokes about a President who has already begun to alter the negative impressions most of the world has of the United States, be ready to debate.