27. Be Accepting

17 May

“And if you honestly believe that over half of North Carolinians are so prejudiced that they would refuse to open their minds to patient people who take the time to understand them and then lovingly educate them about the lives of LGBT people, well then I’m afraid you may be the prejudiced one.” – Crumbs from the Communion Table

This is a pretty common belief shared by a good deal of people I respect. Harvey Milk understood the pragmatic approach of coming out of the closet to befriend people with bigoted beliefs–after all–how can you stay bigoted if you adopt a cute little gay friend who adheres to a check list of traits that are acceptable to you?

It’s also a pretty crummy way to live your life if you’re the one doing the judging.

Here’s the thing; accepting one lifestyle because you met someone from that lifestyle who shattered your prejudiced notions does not make you a good person.  We want to believe that Emma Stone is a good person at the end of The Help* because she went out of her way to understand the black maids in her life, but is she? Fast forward 20 years later and Emma Stone may be railing against homosexuals.  Why would she do such a thing? Because she never met a gay person.

Do you need to meet a representative of every single person you’re prejudiced against in order to change your mind? It’s a rough way to live life, and I’ve learned that there’s an easier way to strive to be a good person; just be accepting.

I’ll be honest, I was a heel, I used to think bisexuals didn’t exist until I met one, and I used to think girls were crazy until I met non-crazy ones, and then I stopped thinking things that needed to be disproven by other people because I obviously had no clue what I was thinking.

I don’t need to know any trans people to support trans rights nor do I need to befriend someone in a wheelchair to read about and empathize with ableism–I mean–I’d love to have those friends, but they’re not a requirement.

If people aren’t hurting other people then accept them.

So to Crumbs from the Communion Table: Sure, I will lovingly educate any North Carolinians about any questions they might have, but I can’t make them good people. The burden is on them.

*All of the maids are jerks in my version of the Help. Emma Stone throws her hands up and screams, “screw the blacks!”

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