That and the fact that I was female.
I worked harder, developing a sharp tongue that could fire back a devastating insult guaranteed to shut up even the most annoying harasser.
In hindsight, I guess I should thank them all. Formulating those insults helped me to realize how much I loved words and their combinations.
These were the days of the women’s movement. Television newscasts aired footage of protests and marches. Oh, how I wished I was old enough to wear a bra so I could burn it!
“What do you know, you’re a girl?”
When I was old enough to study Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s work, his messages struck a chord. Obviously, my inconveniences were nothing compared to what he and his people had endured. Dr. King’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial still gives me chills.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
When Barack Obama was elected president almost four years ago, I thought maybe the United States had finally become enlightened and could see past someone’s skin color to respect the person within.
I was wrong.
I did not understand it as a child, and I still don’t get it. Who cares what color someone is? What gender? What sexual preference? What religion? We are all richer for knowing many kinds of people, from all different backgrounds and perspectives. How lucky are we to have that experience?
We are all souls on our journeys, trying to navigate life the best we know how. It’s not us versus them. Him versus me. It is “we.”
Dr. King’s message reminds us of this. Today, I honor his memory and his message.
I hope you will, too.
Beverly Diehl over at Writing in Flow has organized a blogfest to promote a discussion on discrimination in our times and encourage some honest conversation about it. Please click on the link and see what other bloggers are saying. Thanks.