I grew up hearing certain terms from some relatives and friends.
A certain mindset was revealed to me.
This mindset is very typical, almost default, in today's collective mind.
It is a perspective which labels and categorizes other human beings.
Remember, none of us had the choice of which family, tribe or ethnic group we were to be born into.
Taking pride in your particular ethnicity or tribe is to take pride in something you had no hand in.
Like taking pride for the air you breathe, or even the miracle that you can breathe.
Some terms I heard growing up had me hating those who looked different from me.
These words are some which I still struggle with today, not because I hold onto them, but the mindset these words provoked is still all around me.
In media; movies, news, music, advertising.
On the street; angry words, violence, graffiti, poverty, racism.
In my mind; memories from childhood, images from media, what I heard just the other day from someone on my path.
I remember when in my early twenties, at the community college, making a purposeful effort to make friends who looked very different from me.
I knew I had a warped view of them, and I had to somehow get this straightened out.
At the time, I had no other idea as to how to go about doing this, other than just being nice and hopefully making some friends.
Thank God my heart's desire was answered!
I learned, and continue to learn, that we are sometimes products of our environment, of generations of injustice, of mental illness, of century's worth of programmed prejudices.
What I also learned, and continue to grow into God willing, is that love fixes all of these issues.
But not my love.