Just People …

I recently was exposed to some posters at work that made me ask myself some soul searching questions. The posters were LBGT promotional posters and I couldn’t identify what exactly upset me about them. I asked myself questions like “Are you anti-gay? Are you prejudiced?”

In order to understand my thought process, I have to give you a bit of history.

My mother was ahead of her time in that she raised her children to be very aware of prejudice and to know that it is wrong. She would tell us that the only thing that exists in the world are people. There is no such thing as “White People”, Black People”, etc… Just People.

Being a very literal child, I accepted her words and when I started playing hockey, I hit the girls just as hard as I hit the guys (because we were all just people). In order to treat the girls fairly, I couldn’t give them any special treatment. That didn’t end well.

I have always stayed true to my believe in equality, so I found it very hard to accept that prejudice had creeped into my life.

After three days of soul searching, I came to the realization that I am not prejudice (which was quite a relief).  I did make some additional discoveries along the way however that were quite interesting.

My objection to the posters was actually rooted in what my mother had taught me. My problem is with groups that use differences to group people into categories. The LBGT posters were highlighting a difference that would divide people as a whole.

“People as a whole benefit from differences but they should never be used to divide us.”

The group in question would no doubt argue that they were all inclusive, but the message on the poster was not clear on that point.

Things like food, dance and traditions span the entire of the human race (People) and when celebrated, add colour to our existence as long as these celebrations are all inclusive.

This thinking lead me to question other less obvious groups. For example:

Question: I’m Canadian and many of my relatives (by marriage) are American. These groups are not openly inclusive so does that mean these groups are bad?

I had to think on this one for quite a while, but in the end I concluded that they are indeed bad (or at a minimum, could use some improvement). Life is not Boolean (True/False) and there are degrees of Bad. Being the citizen of a country does not inherently make a person bad. Being a global citizen however does make a person better. If we celebrate being Canadian and don’t exclude people because they are not Canadian, then we are on the good side of bad.

Question: So what about sports fans? Does belonging to group that supports a specific team make a person bad? It does divide people and has been responsible for altercations and in some cases riots.

I came to the conclusion that at the most basic level these types of groups are indeed bad. That said, I’m really glad there are degrees of bad, because I’m going to continue to support my Ottawa Senators[grin]. I don’t think that supporting your sports team is bad unless you take it too seriously. If you feel you have to fight others that don’t share your views, then you’re on the bad side of bad.

There will be more thinking on this issue, but I feel much better about the moral ground that I’m standing on.

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