Sometimes people say something and there's a hidden message in their statement, sometimes the person saying it doesn't realize what they are really saying. For example, one day back in high school, we were in a world religions class. My school was a Catholic school, not all the kids were Catholic but most of my friends, neighbours, relatives, enemies, strangers etc were Catholic, so you get the picture. One of my classmates remarked about how many different Protestant religions there were and wondered out loud which one was the best. At this point, without thinking about what I was saying, I answered that Anglicans were because they were the closest to being Catholic. One of my Anglican classmates said, "whoa, whoa, whoa, what are you saying, you can't say we are better because we are almost like you guys, we are our own religion, we're not second rate Catholics! You are not some standard that we have to measure up to"! I realized he was right, I apologized and we laughed about that for months after. I felt embarrassed by my ignorance but at the same time I was glad it happened, it was a good lesson involving stereotypes, judgement and prejudice. It was also a reason to question some of what I absorbed growing up, what I had spewed out that day was not out of the blue, I had heard that thought many times from older people around me.
I am not going to pretend here that I am mister perfect, walking around correcting injustice everywhere. I am a regular schmuck trying to have an open mind about a lot of things, I work at seeing people as people and try to ignore, culture, religion, political views, race etc, as things to divide us but I have my weak moments.
This week, maybe I am wrong but I think I saw an "oops did you realize what you meant"? It happened when I was watching The Voice, a singing contest type show. It's the only tv channel I get lately so I sat down to watch it. The four judges this year work well together and are pretty funny. It happened when one man was singing, the judges can't see who is singing and must only pick based on vocal performance. A white, cowboy type guy came out and began to sing. However surprisingly he sang more of an African American soul/gospel style. Only one judge picked him, my shock came from the reaction of the judge Kelly Clarkson. When she turned around she went into complete shock at seeing this white guy. She said I can't believe you are white, I actually understand that part and it was a little funny. It's what she began saying next that shocked me, she kept implying that if she only knew, she would have picked him. I was thinking "WOW, that is so wrong"! In other words, when she thought a black man was singing well, she had no interest in choosing him for her team. However when she realized that it was actually a white man that had been singing, she kept repeating over and over how much she regretted not choosing him. Maybe I am off here, no one else seems to have picked up on that. I don't think Kelly Clarkson is a racist but I think (like I did with the Anglican remark) that a lot of people hold prejudice views without even knowing it. I'm not saying this to judge or point fingers, it's just something that people, including me, can work on. I should say here that even though she talks none stop like an auctioneer and can be slightly annoying, Clarkson is funny and is probably a really nice person in real life. I just felt I had a glimpse of some of the problems people in minority groups face, problems I didn't even realize were out there and from people who should have been more aware.