Parenting Blog

What Fear Looks Like

You’ll have to forgive the lack of scenery and character development in this short anecdote, but years ago I was walking the hallways of a shopping mall with a man who had previously exhibited racist tendencies and was, in that moment, in the midst of making a racist remake of some kind when I verbally snapped and aggressively asked this blunt hypothetical question:

You have two choices, would you rather your daughter fall in love with a white man who beats her or a black man who treats her like royalty.

No answer.

Which, of course, was very much an answer.

I’m not afraid of black people because I’ve been among them, same for women, gays, lesbians, Muslims, Chinese, Greeks, Spanish, French, Mexican, Columbian and damn near every other type of human being. I’m able to live a life without fearing entire populations of citizens because I can accept that there are asshole members of each group just as there are assholes who look like me, that is to say, white men. Lordy, there’s been an awful lot of assholely in my demographic throughout the annals of time. Still is.

It’s only the assholes who scare me, and that fear knows no color, creed, gender or sexual orientation. I’m afraid of anyone who is so damn afraid of someone else or a group of someones else (or is that someone elses? doesn’t matter) that they will try to do them harm, and then make rationalizations instead of apologies about it.

I’m still afraid, decades later, of the white father who would pick the abusive white man in my scenario above, and I fear there are still too many assholes who’d make that same kind of choice.

Flickr photo by Fady Habib, used under Creative Commons license.

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