Author of Adam and Steve, a novel about reexamining your prejudices

Posts tagged ‘intolerance’

Who Will Protect our Children?

Photo coourtesy of: Photo courtesy of: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-rsSoAve3LsA/U_8tdHdYHoI/AAAAAAAANoc/XGm5Ls-_-T8/s1600/Rotherham%2B2.tiff

Photo coourtesy of: Photo courtesy of: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-rsSoAve3LsA/ U_8tdHdYHoI/AAAAAAAANoc/XGm5Ls-_-T8/s1600/Rotherham%2B2.tiff

Man’s inhumanity surrounds us. Technology has recreated a world in which we are unable to escape the cacophony of heartless atrocities affecting our children – mutilations and killings because of the “sin” a child commits when she seeks knowledge, fathers killing their victim daughters to restore honor to themselves, parents brutally beating their children, a church condoning pedophilia, and the terrorism, death and mayhem to our children caused by the Islamic State. The stench of violent intolerance inundates us. In the midst of this reality, I thought one story of child brutality wouldn’t shock me. I thought I had heard it all. I was wrong.

It took a professor to publicize to the world the atrocity of Rotherham, Great Britain, where over ONE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED children were systematically brutalized over a span of 16-years.* They were raped, sexually exploited and trafficked while police and government officials did NOTHING, but blame and be contemptuous of the child victims. Given the scale of the brutality and the utter lack of governmental concern, one might wonder if these events were merely the outpouring of someone’s psychotic imagination. No such luck. Although the authorities knew, Rotherham’s children were the victim of vicious and sustained sexual abuse.

Multiple men raped girls countless times and traded them for arms and drugs. Threats of violence to family members kept the children quiet. Those who spoke found their words punishable by the very authorities sworn to protect them. Those authorities fined parents for wasting police time, unaccountably lost bags of evidence making arrests and convictions impossible, claimed 12-year old victims “consented” to the brutality, and took from the child victims the babies born of the assaults who were never seen again. Little if anything was done to help the victims or to bring the perpetrators to justice while the years and carnage mounted steadily.**

Though the events of Rotherham are unpardonable, they are becoming more commonplace. Rotherham is merely the latest reported atrocity against children, evidencing the double-edged sword hanging over their heads. In every corner of the world, our children are unable to rely on those closest to them for security and protection, because it is those closest to them who are either causing or permitting their harm, a harm that will steal their youth and scar their lives. As UNICEF recently confirmed, “most violence against children occurs at the hands of the people charged with their care or with whom they interact daily – caregivers, peers and intimate partners.” ***

We cannot shut out the cacophony or let it become mere background noise to our daily lives. We must raise our voices above the din and demand of our public officials the safety of our children. If we cannot keep our children safe, we, at least, owe them a concerted effort to preserve their innocence. If the most vulnerable among us cannot trust their parents, their church or their government to keep them safe, then whom can they trust and what becomes of their childhood?

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham, an investigation into child sexual abuse in the Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham in South Yorkshire, Jay, Alexis, August, 2014.

**  See, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/02/world/europe/reckoning-starts-in-britain-on-abuse-of-girls.html?_r=0, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11066646/Rotherham-politics-imported-from-Pakistan-fuelled-sex-abuse-cover-up-MP.html, and http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/rotherham-child-abuse-inquiry-over-1400-children-raped-trafficked-by-men-pakistani-heritage-1462666.

*** Hidden in Plain Sight- A Statistical Analysis of Violence against Children, Unicef, New York, 2014, http://files.unicef.org/publications/files/Hidden_in_plain_sight_statistical_analysis_EN_3_Sept_2014.pdf

Convert or Face Death!

A modern-day exodus is occurring for the Christians of the Northern Iraqi towns of Mosul and Bakhdida.  “Convert to Islam, leave the city or face death” is the threat reportedly given Christians by Islamic State militants, a faction of Sunni Muslims practicing an extremist and intolerant version of fundamentalist Islam.  Christians are fleeing for their lives, leaving their ancestral homes to seek asylum in Irbil, the capital of the Iraqi region of Kurdistan, and in countries throughout the world.  It is said that the Iraqi Christian population once having reached 1 million, may now be no greater than half that size.* After centuries of wreckage caused by hatred and intolerance born from religious fervor occurring in all corners of our globe, we still bear witness to that hatred and intolerance.  We are now no closer to a world safe for people of all religions and faiths than we were in the unenlightened Middle Ages.

What is happening to the Christian population of Iraq is but the more recent horrendous face of religious intolerance.  We need not go far into history to realize that the Crusades and Pogroms of the past are alive and well in the modern era and that religious freedom is still way beyond our grasp.  We have seen:

  • the Muslim slaughter of Hindus  in India and Pakistan;
  • the German slaughter of the Jews based, in part, on the anti-Semitic teachings of Martin Luther;
  • the massacre of Sikhs as a response to Indira Gandhi’s assassination;
  • the Muslim against Muslim human carnage resulting from the Shi’ite-Sunni conflicts;
  •  the Bosnian massacre of Bosnia Muslims in the ethnic cleansing campaign carried out by Bosnian Serbs;
  • the carnage in Sudan between Christian and Animist forces in the south and the Muslim forces in the north, followed by the genocide of black Sudanese Muslims of Darfur inflicted by the Arab Muslims of the north;
  • the Sabra and Shatila slaughter of mostly Palestinians and Lebanese Shiites by Lebanese Christians; and
  • the current Islamic State displacement of the Yazidis,

to name just a few.  We have become so immune to the oh so common onslaught of violent religious intolerance that we take in the news and  go about our business believing that violent religious intolerance is someone else’s problem.  Today it is the problem of Iraqi Christians and Yazidis.  As history has proved, no person and no religion are immune.

It is time we honored and respected God’s diverse and wondrous creation. It is time we recognize that God would never require the religious to be violently intolerant of the differences existing in God’s own creation. What will it take to eradicate religious intolerance? God only knows.

*See, http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-iraq-christians-20140721-story.html., http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/06/17/whats-happening-to-iraqs-christians-as-islamists-tear-across-the-country/, and http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/in-northern-iraq-gains-by-islamic-state-threaten-centuries-old-christian-town/2014/07/19/7088f3b6-0f53-11e4-8c9a-923ecc0c7d23_story.html.

Christians in Qaraqosh, Iraq

Photo courtesy of : http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-iraq-christians-20140721-story.html

A Mullah’s Dishonor, A Parent’s Shame

RAPE-master675 Photo courtesy of:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/20/world/asia/struggling-to-keep-afghan-girl-safe-after-a-mullah-is-accused-of-rape.html.

Four days ago, the New York Times reported that on May 1, 2014, in a mosque after Quran recitation classes mullah Mohammad Amin raped a ten-year old girl. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/20/world/asia/struggling-to-keep-afghan-girl-safe-after-a-mullah-is-accused-of-rape.html?_r=0. This was an abhorrent crime, the type of which we have heard about all to often – the religious violating the innocent.  However, this particular crime perpetrated by this particular rapist on this particular child took on horrific proportions, because it was committed in Afghanistan where many believe the child has dishonored her family simply by being raped. The young victim now fears for her life at the hands of her own male family members. An honor killing of this unimaginable sort is so steeped in the fabric of Afghani society and culture that even the young victim’s mother sees the cemetery as her daughter’s safe-haven.

And what of the mullah who confessed to having had sex with the 10-year old? He has none of the fears that now plague the child. In fact, other mullahs have come to his defense. They, together with militia members, the Taliban and government and religious officials have supported the rapist, with some going so far as to threaten those individuals attempting to keep the victim from harm.

But why does the mullah need a defense at all, if his actions are truly  punishable by killing the victim?  Why did he magnanimously offer to marry the 10-year old? Why would he claim that the child looked older than her 10 years, when she was clearly pre-pubescent, weighing 40 pounds? Why would he claim she consented when the rape was so violent that it broke the wall between her vagina and her rectum, causing the child to lose copious amounts of blood?  One answer comes to mind – both the rapist and the society in which he committed the rape know, in their hearts, that rape is wrong and that the rape of a child in a sacred place by someone who should be her protector is not merely criminal, but despicable and dishonorable.

So, what can we say about a society that would blame the powerless for the crimes of the powerful or the father that would rather kill his child than the person who violently harmed her.  One word comes to mind – cowardly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The back-firing of the “George Zimmerman” Defense

For the most part, those macho white males who love their guns and their right to carry and use them whenever and wherever they please enacted in over 30 states “Stand Your Ground” laws. These laws permit individuals to defend themselves with deadly force when they feel threatened, an extraordinarily subjective standard affected by, among other things, prejudice, intolerance and racial profiling. Even in New York City where minorities make up more than half the population and racial profiling abounds, carrying a gun is a white man’s sport. The NYPD stops African-Americans and Latinos 84% of the time, although they comprise only 54% of the population. Of those stops, the NYPD is more likely to discover a weapon on one of 49 whites as compared to one of 93 African-Americans. SeeStop and Frisk and the Urgent Need for Meaningful Reforms, issued by the Office of Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate for the City of New York, 2013.

Under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, a jury acquitted George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, of murdering Trayvon Martin, an African-American youth. In doing so, the jury defined the parameters of the threat necessary to kill with impunity.  Although Zimmerman stalked Martin, Martin apparently caused his own death when he stood his ground and, although unarmed,  confronted an armed Zimmerman. A fight ensued with Martin overpowering the beefier and more out of shape Zimmerman. Zimmerman, more frightened of Martin than Martin was of Zimmerman, was then free to fatally shoot the teenager. See, http://wapo.st/18mnWVo.

The defense protested that race was not an issue. Yet, it was. Like so many Americans, including law enforcement professionals and wannabes, George Zimmerman racially profiled his target. A tall and strapping African-American youth walked before him after dark in a residential neighborhood, with hood covering his head. In Zimmerman’s world, he needed nothing more in order to fear the teenager.  Nonetheless, more could have been present. Because Zimmerman carried a gun, he might have had a heightened sense of paranoia – definitely not something George Zimmerman or Trayvon Martin needed on that dark, Florida street. See, Notre Dame Study referred to in: Study: Carrying a gun can make you more paranoid, http://smrt.io/GJWRYk.

We have heard a myriad of calls for calm directed at our African-American community, a community with the right to be angry. Because of racial profiling, one of their and our own was killed. Yet we have heard nothing directed at our non-African American community cautioning that the “Stand Your Ground” laws do not grant free rein to harass, hurt and kill those different from themselves.

Thanks to that Florida jury, we are all fair game to the possible unintended consequences of the Zimmerman verdict. To the victim of profiling, remember Trayvon Martin. The danger to your life from a man following you is very real. If you stand your ground and kill the stalker with your concealed weapon, Zimmerman’s jury may have handed you a tried and true defense.  To the woman who has always felt that chill of fear walking a dark street with a man too close behind, you might now have the right to stand your ground and take his life, making him the next victim of the “George Zimmerman” defense.  The white man’s hard-fought for right to carry and use firearms may very well have just backfired.

TrayvonMartinHooded

Image of Trayvon Martin courtesy of: http://trayvonmartinfoundation.org/about/

Governor Christy – the majority is NOT always right

Governor of New Jersey at a town hall in Hills...

Image courtesy of: http://bit.ly/11aCWSW

Governor Christy, the moderate Republican governor of New Jersey, has made his position on marriage equality abundantly clear. He is against it. Nonetheless, he is willing to accept same-sex marriage if a majority of the people of New Jersey, by referendum, tell him to. The granting of basic civil and human rights to a minority should never be left to the will of the majority.  These rights, including the right to marry someone of one’s choosing, are not the majority’s to “give”. It is the epitome of arrogance for the Governor to think otherwise, even if he is willing to go along with the majority on the issue.

Governor Christy has now compounded his error. On Wednesday’s Ask the Governor radio show on NJ 101.5 FM, the Governor condemned the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision voiding a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act. He said the decision was not only “bad”, but “just another example of judicial supremacy rather than … the government [being] run by the people we actually vote for,” and “incredibly insulting to those … members of Congress who voted for the Defense of Marriage Act.”

Governor Christy’s words are astounding in light of this country’s history. Majorities have abridged and, in some instances, obliterated minority rights. Surely, he needs no reminder:

  • of the Jim Crow laws, enacted by the majority, that relegated African-Americans to second-class citizens and assured that the White majority would never suffer African-American proximity in restaurants, movies, hotels, schools and bathrooms to mention only a few legislated locations;
  • of the miscegenation laws, enacted by the majority, that banned inter-racial marriage in many states so that the blood of the White majority would not be diluted;
  • of the sexist laws that gave control over females’ bodies to the male legislative majority who enacted those laws;
  • of the homophobic laws, like the Defense of Marriage Act,  enacted by the majority, that withheld rights and benefits because the sexual orientation of the affected individuals was different from that of the majority, and that

the Supreme Court of the United States protected the rights of the minority in all of these cases.

Governor Christy should be applauded for providing moderation at a time when moderation is critically important to the viability of our two-party system of government. However, the Governor is running for reelection and harbors Presidential aspirations, both of which may account for Wednesday’s blatant appeal to the Conservative faction of his party. His position on marriage equality, his re-election campaign and his political aspirations aside, the Governor’s denouncement of the Supreme Court’s role in insuring minority rights is foolish in light of the majority’s history of malevolence. Whether by referendum or by legislative enactment, the majority cannot be the ultimate arbiter of minority rights. Sadly, that reality should be apparent to all Americans, including Governor Christy.

See, http://www.advocate.com/politics/marriage-equality/2013/06/27/chris-christie-denounces-doma-ruling, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/new-jersey-gov-chris-christie-rips-supreme-court-doma-decision-article-1.1384015 and http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/06/christie_gay_marriage.html

Paula Deen and the N word.

Paula Deen

Image courtesy of: http://tmz.me/11d4GWR

Paula Deen’s, “Yes, of course,” to the question, “Have you ever used the N word yourself?” exhibits the crudeness and cockiness of Paula Deen’s racism.  Because of her words, the Food Network, Wal-Mart, Smithfield Foods, and Caesars Entertainment have dumped Ms. Deen, as her many followers extol her virtues and forgive her improprieties, and her many detractors abhor her remarks.

Her apologists do not blame Ms. Deen. Rather, they blame history. Apparently, Ms. Deen’s racism is understandable in light of her Southern upbringing. We are to believe the hackneyed stereotypes that Southerners are too ignorant, stupid or racist to appreciate or care about the use of the N word and other slurs, racist and anti-Semitic jokes and a life time of inappropriate and hateful language.

Southerners, as a whole, are not stupid, ignorant nor racist. Many cringe at Ms. Deen’s words and attitude. They understand the brutal legacy of dehumanizing a race of people for financial gain. They know that slavery and treason to uphold slavery was not the South’s finest hour, and they take no pride in that chapter of American history.

Ms. Deen tearfully denies her racism. However, her offered explanations do not provide the exoneration she seeks.

  • It does not matter that Ms. Deen may love like a “son by another father”, Hollis Johnson, a man “black as that board”. Her words remain racist and intolerant.
  • It does not matter that Ms. Deen’s great-grandfather committed suicide at the end of the Civil War when he lost his son and slaves and had to work his plantation himself. History cannot alter today’s intolerance.
  • It does not matter that Ms. Deen transfers the blame for her situation to unidentified people who envy what she has accomplished. Her infantile attempt to shirk responsibility does not absolve her of culpability.
  • It does not matter that Ms. Deen is part of that enormous group of people who have said something for which they are sorry. Her sins are not justified by the sins of others.

The fashioning of Ms. Deen as an American cliché does not help her cause. She is of an age and worldly enough to know the hurt of racial slurs and intolerant language heightened by a callous attitude. She knows or should know better. Ms. Deen will now face the consequences of her folksy self-judgment – “I is what I is, and I’m not changing.”

See, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PL02LMD8Gw, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKWCJUxXJ6E, http://www.uproxx.com/tv/2013/06/video-of-paula-deen-making-insensitive-racial-comments-surfaces/ and http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/06/paula-deen-racial.php.

A lesson of tolerance from the Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts of the United States of America

Girl Scouts of the United States of America (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over a decade of statistics evidencing sexual violence against females in America tell a sobering story that, if we are truthful, comes as no surprise.

  • In 1995, of the 126,000 children who were victims of sexual abuse, 75% were girls.
  • In 1997, girls 16-19 were four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.
  • In 1998, one of every six or 17.7 million American women were the victim of an attempted or completed rape.
  • In 2003, nine of every 10 rape victims were female.
  • In 2006, 232,960 women or 600 women everyday were raped or sexually assaulted. *

Females are overwhelmingly the victims of sexual violence perpetrated by heterosexual men.  Nonetheless, to their credit, women, for the most part, do not condemn the entire heterosexual male population for the epidemic of violence against them in this country. If they did, society as we know it would cease to exist. Few women would endanger themselves or their daughters by living under the same roof with a man whose heterosexual orientation was the root cause of female sexual abuse.

To condemn an entire group for the acts of a few is a hallmark of intolerance and prejudice. The Girl Scouts of the United States of America, an organization devoted to the well-being of America’s girls and young women, has refused to so broadly blame heterosexual men. Accordingly, membership in the organization as adult volunteers is open to both women and men 18 years and over. The organization uses screenings and reference checks conducted by independent, third-party agencies to protect girls and young women from potential volunteers and staff who might cause them harm. See, http://www.girlscouts.org/for_adults/volunteering/volunteer_faq.asp.   This approach seems to have worked.  We have not heard stories of sexual abuse within the Girl Scouts or of its supporters demanding the prohibition of heterosexual males from serving as volunteers.

On the other hand, by refusing to accept gay scouts or permit gay volunteers, the Boy Scouts of America has condemned the entire gay population for sexual violence against boys. In a change of policy, the organization now allows gay youth as scouts, but continues its prohibition against gay volunteers. Some view this change as a step in the right direction. Others view it with fear and trembling. In actuality, the new policy is morally inconsistent and perpetuates the BSA’s blanket condemnation of gay men. The BSA and many of its supporters use their homophobia as a shield against a simple and, perhaps, inconvenient truth. Sexual orientation is not what makes either a heterosexual or a homosexual man a predator. The BSA’s new policy is only an expression of the organization’s continuing prejudice and intolerance, both of which the BSA has no right to teach our children.

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* Http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims, and http://.now.org/issuew/violence/stats.html.  See, National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey, 1998; U.S. Department of Justice, 2003 National Crime Victimization Survey, 2003; U.S. Department of Health $ Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, 1995 Child Maltreatment Survey, 1995.

Homophobia and discrimination have no place in scouting

In 1948, Alfred Kinsey sent shock waves through the heterosexual world when he proclaimed that one in every ten men is gay. See, http://www.gallup.com/poll/6961/what-percentage-population-gay.aspx. The percentage may be off, but the concept is not. Heterosexual and homosexual adults and children walk together through life, inexorably intertwined in school, work and social activities. We mix and mingle and yet, for the most part, we are unaware of sexual orientation. For the homophobic, rather than scare, this reality should console.

No doubt, there are evil homosexuals and heterosexuals who populate our lives and the lives of our children. As parents (both homosexual and heterosexual), we must be vigilant to keep our children safe from them. However, the “them” are not evil because of their sexual orientation. Unfortunately, the Boy Scouts of America’s latest proposal to change its discriminatory rules on gay participation suggests the opposite. The proposal would allow openly gay youth to participate in scouting and would prohibit openly gay adults from participating as scout leaders. At best, the proposal evidences BSA’s lack of confidence in its own programs. At worst, the proposal is blatantly homophobic, discriminatory and inconsistent in its moral teaching.

The new policy is based on the bizarre notion that when gay boys enter adulthood they suddenly become predators and abusers merely because of their sexual orientation. What is even more bizarre if possible is that the Boy Scouts of America, whose mission is to instill “lifetime values”, develop “ethical character” and teach “citizenship, service and leadership”, is making the proposal. Http://www.scouting.org/. The organization apparently believes that gay scouts will mature into predators and abusers notwithstanding years of immersion in the BSA’s character-building programs.

Since no credible evidence exists to support the theory that gay adults are predators as a result of their sexual orientation, the policy is blatantly homophobic and discriminatory. The BSA’s own experience provides some proof of the inaccuracy of this theory. As Kinsey told us, from the founding of the BSA on February 8, 1910, some percentage of youth participants (now over 2.7 million) and adult volunteers (now over 1 million) were and are gay whether or not the BSA permitted their participation. Consequently, for over a century the BSA’s gay adult volunteers at the very least have met the organization’s requirements and functioned in accordance with its stated policies.

By requiring tolerance with respect to only a portion of the gay population, BSA takes a morally incoherent position that cannot withstand logic. Such an indefensible position, however, is not new to the BSA. Until the late 1940’s, rather than prohibiting racial segregation in scouting, the BSA required segregation for those African American boys living in states having segregated schools. As a result, in those jurisdictions the BSA mandated “colored only” troops having facilities and programs inferior to those of their white counterparts and whose African American boys were often not allowed to wear scout uniforms.  Http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Boy_Scouts_of_America and http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/african-americans-boy-scout-movement.

Intolerance and discrimination are not “ethical” or a “lifetime value” in America. It is time for the BSA leadership to get in step with the reality of their organization. Homosexual and heterosexual men have been teaching and training homosexual and heterosexual boys since the day the BSA was founded, and will continue to do so whether or not its leadership finally does what is right.

See, http://wapo.st/14z1rdn and http://www.kansascity.com/2013/04/22/4196737/boy-scouts-latest-misstep.html

Photo courtesy of: http://www.glaad.org/blog/president-obama-announces-opposition-boy-scouts-ban-gay-scouts-and-scout-leaders

Dr. Carson – you know better.

“Marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA [North American Man/Boy Love Association], be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn’t matter what they are, they don’t get to change the definition [of marriage]”, so said Baltimore’s renowned neurosurgeon, Benjamin Carson on Fox News. Dr. Carson apologized for his “not the best choice of words,” by explaining what he meant. He said, “no group of individuals, whoever they are, whatever their belief systems, gets to change traditional definitions.” The doctor was wrong on two counts.

First, far too many people unfairly and indefensibly equate homosexuality with pedophilia or bestiality, and then use that equation as a scare tactic to limit the rights of homosexuals. Homosexuality, like heterosexuality, has nothing to do with sexual predatory behavior. Sexual predators, whether towards children or animals, can be either homosexual or heterosexual. As we are all too well aware, a sexual predator may even have taken a vow of celibacy. There is simply no statistic that evidences sexual predatory behavior as being more prevalent in homosexuals. In fact, the statistics prove otherwise. In 1995 when homophobia was far more rampant than it is today, local child protection service agencies identified 126,000 children who were victims of either substantiated or indicated sexual abuse, of whom, 75% were girls. http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims.

Second, although many states have defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, their definition isn’t sacrosanct. Contrary to Dr. Carson’s belief, the Supreme Court is one group of individuals who can and did change the traditional definition of marriage. Not long ago a significant number of states in these United States defined marriage as the union between a man and a woman of the same race. In Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court found unconstitutional all  laws barring interracial marriage. In the time it took to write its opinion, the Court changed the traditional definition of marriage forever.

The Supreme Court based its expanded definition of marriage on the legal principle that “marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival.” The Court used the word “man” to identify the beneficiary of the right of marriage. If the Court meant to limit the right to males only, then gays are surely within the benefitted group. Of course, the Court meant no such thing. Rather, the Court assured that the civil right to marry benefitted all mankind. The Court could have confirmed Dr. Carson’s traditional definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman, albeit without regard to race, but chose not to.

Dr. Carson is too smart and too old not to understand that our traditional definition of marriage was born of injustice. Over time, we change definitions to include the rights of the disenfranchised, whether, for example, they be women or African-Americans.  Our willingness to expand those benefitting from our civil rights is what makes America great and unique among the countries of the world.

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Dr. Benjamin Solomon Carson. Photo courtesy of: http://www.biography.com/people/ben-carson-475422

“Illegals” and “Illegal aliens” – Words of Shame

English: Statue of Liberty Gaeilge: Dealbh na ...

Statue of Liberty – Estatua de la Libertad  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Other than Native Americans, we are a country of immigrants who left their homelands, their possessions, their families and friends, their culture and all they considered familiar in the hope of finding the American Dream. We continue  to have a rich and diverse society because of our immigrants who come to us today for much the same reason.

Although we take pride in our country’s uniqueness created by the diverse cultures living together within our borders, we treat our Latino immigrants with disdain and contempt. We won’t acknowledge the sacrifice they’ve made to brave a new world. Rather, when Latino immigrants arrive in the United States, they’re met with a growing antagonism, prejudice, distrust and, in some parts of our country, rage at their presence which follows them and their families for generations – well after they’ve become citizens who have had their own children born and raised in the United States.

An Associated Press-Univision Poll found that our Latino immigrants and Latino or Hispanic Americans are the most discriminated minority in the United States. See, http://bo.st/13c8TJZ.

Immigration is no longer popular, and Latino immigration is openly unaccepted. There is no better proof than that we label our Latino immigrants “illegals” or “illegal aliens”, two terms that criminalize them whether or not they’ve done anything criminal.  We call them “wetbacks” as if the people making a perilous trip to find a better life are ignoble rather than heroic.

When our government’s immigration policy fosters distrust, we assure that our prejudices are passed to our children, geometrically increasing our intolerance. We cannot expect otherwise when, for example, Arizona legalizes racial profiling in its “show me your papers” law, by allowing the police to question citizenship while enforcing other laws. www.nbcnews.com/id/49077650/ns/us_news/.

This is not the America I want to leave to my grandchildren, whose great grandparents were immigrants themselves. Fortunately, they came to the United States when we were still proud of “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Recognizing that Emma Lazarus had poetically and simply stated an American core value, we inscribed her words on a plaque inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.  It’s time we rediscover the true meaning of that noble statue and apply it to all our “huddled masses” equally.

See, http://bo.st/13c8TJZ   and http://www.latinoopinion.com/category/prejudice-and-discrimination/.

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