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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Words, you see, do hurt

Many of us write; all of us read. And we know words do have power because they can shape the way we perceive something or someone, they can change our moods in moments and they can cause damage that is almost impossible to repair.

This is why in Judaism, we are supposed to guard our tongues, we are supposed to not talk about other people or listen to gossip, or believe it when we hear it - because evil tongues can do plenty of hurt.

Yesterday, I was on the bus with this young family - Mommy, Daddy, two older kids and one baby. The kids were excited, the little boy was wet from a fountain (and rather proud of it), but they behaved well - they weren't quiet, but they weren't *loud*, and they stayed where they were told without arguments or whining. When a seat became available, Daddy sat down and cuddled his son, even though he was wet. And at one very charming point, the two older kids sang for the baby, who smiled and kicked and gurgled at that. It was just wonderful. Far too often on public transport, kids are NOT like that, and parents are just as loud telling them to behave. And this applies to all racial groups equally. As it happens, this family was African-American.

They were making everyone around them smile.

About two stops from their own, an old lady came on the bus, leaning heavily on her cane. The father not only stood up, but he carefully handed her into his seat, demonstrating very nicely what a gentleman does to his son. Two stops later, they gathered stroller and baby and kids and got off. And the old lady turns to me and says, in a voice full of vitriol, "Your taxes pay for them! All that welfare goes to them."

I was shocked into speechlessness. There was no sign this family was on any sort of assistance and no reason to assume they were other than their skin color. Her hatefilled speech would have been bad under any circumstances but that it was about people who'd treated her with kindness made it even worse. I knew nothing I would say could change her mind and I didn't want to get into a fight on the bus (and then a friend of mine got on and proceded to drag me to an Instant Theater thing at the local library), so I just said nothing. But her words almost poisoned a lovely experience.

This brings me to the events last night, with that experience fresh in my mind. I first heard of zvi_likes_tv's protest from someone who disagreed with it. Which means I spent a lot of time arguing with that person. Because the word "miscegenation" hit me hard - it's such a thankfully old-fashioned term, but it carries such an freight of discrimination and death, and I still can't understand how anyone could not react that way. And when I read what Zvi actually said and protested about, it was even worse - she wanted to change a label. She didn't say a word about the content. And to see bestiality conflated with it...oh, my goodness.

I don't understand how people at this point in our history could think such things are acceptable, or that protesting such things are censorship.

liviapenn has compiled a list of posts about this here.

Current Mood: angry
(no subject) - (Anonymous)

Oddly enough, I *didn't* think about that. I was thinking in purely American terms.

But, yes, Jews have been called animals, too - we're just considered very *clever* ones. And we know that while things are good here and now, they can change in an eyeblink unless we keep constant vigilance.

Included in that, for both decency and self-interest, is watching out for others. That slope is slippery.

(no subject) - (Anonymous)   Expand  

Yet another reason that I am proud to call you my friend.

Thank you.

Tigerbright linked me here, and I am glad to read your words. I share your horror at that old lady and her thoughtless hatred.

I wish she were unique.

Well, I was eating lunch.

What gets me about that woman too is her automatic assumption that you would agree with her.

I have the same skin color and my headscarf proclaimed me the same religious group.

And I wish I'd had the courage to say something.

I must confess, my reaction to the old lady is: "My taxes pay for you,actually. Where do you think Medicare and Social Security come from? Not to mention the Senior discount you just used to get on this bus.

"I don't know if those noce people are on any sort of public assistance or not, but I would wager that even if they are, you are right now costing me a lot more -- like my patience.

"And in your case, I'd like a refund."

But I'm an evil person.

But I'm an evil person.

Or just much more outspoken than I am.

And certainly braver.

witchqueen is right, the *term* is offensive, not the kink. Ghu knows I have writen or thought of enough interracial smut. Real interracial smut, not just mixing of different human groups.

::sigh:: I've been in fandom too long I think. I don't believe there are any real *racial* differences on this planet. Ethnic, yeah, sure. But there is only one race on this planet of tool using, semi-sentient beings, the human race. The differences are just a result of where your ancestors settled and what was needed to survive.

Exactly. Zvi had no problems with content - or rather, had no intention of determining content.

I really, really wish skin color was meaningless.

What frustrates me is that no one is attempting to censor them. That has been made clear by everyone from the beginning. Nobody is attempting to make them change the theme of interracial etc.

At this point, it's a public shaming. A deserved public shaming.

I'm still finding it telling that the top post in daily_deviant, just prior to the refusal to change is of the oh noes, not the white women variety.

I hadn't even thought of the Nazis, and their eugenics movements, of which miscegenation is a powerful part. It's hard to treat people as subhuman when they are a member of your own family.

I'm just frustrated here. jennyo has a theory that if she ever becomes a very conservative, Ann Coulter type, she's going to blame Harry Potter fandom. I'm not sure I disagree.

And I think it would be fascinating for somebody to do a series ficathon, adressing the muggle/wizard divide, and the very legitimate reasons that someone on either side might have for encouraging people to only date/marry/etc within a group. You have a world of grays.

Instead, we get Ableforth and a goat. Grr.

It's hard to treat people as subhuman when they are a member of your own family.

Or it's easier to forget people are members of your own family when you treat them as subhuman.

Be a fun ficathon.

One day, back when I was about twelve, my family went shopping downtown. I remember I had told my father I was going to shop in the ladies' department, and he had left me to it (not really wanting to hang around the bras and etc.). A few minutes later I was browsing and some old lady came up to me and said, "I saw that terrible old drunken Indian bothering you and I almost interrupted but I saw you got rid of him. Did he hurt you?"

It took me about ten minutes to realize she had been talking about my dad, who was not drunk. Because I was paler than he was (my mother's family is from Eastern Europe, while Dad was part Iroquois and part probably some fur trader), it never even occurred to her that it was my dad.

Shakes head at unthinking, ignorant people.

What did you do?

Several boyfriends back, I was dating a poly Brit whose wife was black. They had (at the time) two gorgeous kids. J, the kids and I were waiting outside of Bloomingdales for his wife, and the kids were climbing all over us. This blue-haired old bat came and yelled at the kids for bothering us. J just looked at her and said, "Madam, those are my kids." She moved away but kept staring at us -- clearly trying to figure out who had the bad blood. About two minutes later, his wife came out of the store, and he -- who was not big on PDA -- french-kissed her right there in them middle of the block on Lexington Avenue. It was almost as uch fun as the time I was on the bus with my best friend from college (who happened to be black) and these little old Jewish ladies were going on about "the schvartzeh this" and "the schvartzeh that." They nearly dropped dead when she asked them in perfect Yiddish to shut up. Ya gotta love scenes like that.

My own personal scene came at the gynecologist's. He made a remark while I was in the stirrups that was offensive, and when I told him it was offensive, he responded that only a lesbian would think so. I got up, got dressed, and complained to the office manager. He asked why I was offended given that I wasn't a lesbian. My response: "Oh, says who?" Now, when asked I normally respond that I am bi; if folks can't deal with that, then they are not folks I want to hang out with.

Oh, and as for your lady -- I would have just reminded her that, by spreading such hate, she was not observing the tenet of guarding her tongue.