I always wonder where bigotry and intolerance begins.
We are so quick to point out what is happening elsewhere in the world and/or pick on others such that we fail to see how our behaviours and actions everyday create the potential for hatred and bigotry in our world. It is too easy to poke fun at or laugh at someone else’s situation than to stop for a moment and see the implications of our language or behaviours. I recently read a Facebook comment about the use of the word “hippie” and how a young boy suggested he did not want to be seen as a hippie because he didn’t want to be seen to be lazy. His mother happily posted this and her “friends” laughed at the suggestion and continued to foster their stereotypical dislike of this class of person. It was seen to be funny and like every other jab in our society the funny acceptance of this behaviour only serves to reinforce an “Us-and-Them” approach to our world: yes, intolerance and narrow minded bigotry. One individual did ask if anyone cared to understand the meaning of the term taken from Wikipedia “Personality traits and values that hippies tend to be associated with are “altruism and mysticism, honesty, joy and nonviolence”, but I sensed that this was lost on most in the conversation.
Many in our North American society profess to have a form of spiritual or faith world that they work with and within and they use this as a public (and not so public) crutch to explain their behaviours and their worlds. What is missing in many of these conversations is a depth of understanding and a breadth of appreciation of their supposed religious/spiritual attachments and its impact on their greater world. Do we not live who we are and thus what we reflect to the world? We talk about teaching our children but this teaching too often comes in the form of a list placed on the fridge: do this and don’t do that. Why not just skip the list and live the life we too often profess only in words.
I don’t think it is funny that a little boy would suggest that he didn’t want to be like a hippie because he didn’t want to be seen to be lazy. I think it is sad that he would have such a view at his young age and I think it is sad that a parent would think that the whole conversation was worthy of placing on Facebook in the hope that friends would join in on the apparent fun of it. Come on girl – don’t ya get it! It’s not funny; it’s sad that your child would think that way and it is even sadder that you would think to make this a public conversation.