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September 21, 2019

8/30/2019 11:24:00 AM
"Othering"

Dear Editor:
Do you "other?" I do - not proud of it. Friends and family catch me at it - proud of them - not proud of me.
Do you categorize and judge people - place expectations on them based on certain qualifiers - where they come from? Their physical attributes?
I am not entering into the prejudices based on skin color, religion and sexuality. Some of those classifications and judgements based on them seem harmless, like Ole and Lena jokes and comments about the Irish drinking. People make cracks about their own ethnicity.
What is accepted as a joke can devolve into a socio-economic cutting edge, as once it did for the Irish, Scandinavians, Italians and Germans. It was no joke when some of our great grandparents were faced with signs stating, "No _____________allowed;" or, "No ______________need apply."
There may be shadowy insinuations which linger in our subconscious and affect what we do and say. Do we really believe that people with red hair are less emotionally stable, or all folks over fifty less capable?
Are "overweight" people, those who speak with a drawl, or those who are poor "just plain lazy?"
What about those guys with shaved heads, women with tattoos, and people with studs in their noses? Would you want your son or daughter to marry one of them?
Do you find yourself saying, or at least thinking, "Why can't they just.....?" Or, "What he needs to do is..............."?
As we move into the heavy duty "othering season" called an election year, it may be well to question our own thoughts and words when it comes to others.
I'm working on it.
Lola R. Gregg
Avoca





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