Over the last few months I have often told the story of having a conversation with a young lady that I have a parental relationship with. This conversation includes an extensive review from her about all her friends at college, their likes, dislikes, personalities and strengths etc. After this discussion had continued for nearly an hour I began to realize that while I knew much about the people she has meaningful relationships with, I had no idea of their racial background, sexual orientation or religious affiliations.
The above story always felt like evidence that there is a generation emerging that has a much different worldview that represents progress. Frankly I was proud of her.
Recent discussions at PanthiaCon around privilege prompted me to examine this story from a more personal and very uncomfortable perspective. The story demonstrates my continued generational need to classify individuals and put them into boxes that define them in some way in my world view. Simply put, in celebrating her generations accomplishment I have been driven to examine the vestiges of racism, homophobia and religious bigotry my own worldview.
Needless to say this is a somewhat painful process. As someone who has committed much of his life to fighting social justice issues the insight that I also am part of the problem, that I hold vestiges of the very views and actions I so abhor is, to say the least, a painful but necessary self-reflection.
It is my intent to confront these behaviors, to not pass along this ugly urge to classify others, put them in boxes that have no purpose other than to perpetuate a social culture I oppose. I have spent much of my life exposing and confronting racism and other forms of prejudice. The time has come to confront it in my self, do the hard self-examination, change my behavior, and understand that most of us in my generation still hold disgusting remnants of the very beliefs we abhor.
So yes there was a racist, homophobe and bigot at PantheacCon, and it was me, I am so not proud.