.Fourth grade history books lie.
At least mine did to me. No, not the teachers. The books. The chapters. The sentences. The words. They all lied. My fourth grade books told me that the Civil War was all about black vs white (nothing else) and that at the end of that war, several assassinations later, and one huge dream, we were starting a new fad called: Anti-Discrimination. The books tell us that people began to learn how to treat one another--how to live in a better world...a better country, where each man and woman could live equally. The books lied.
I should have known as a chubby little fourth grader who was teased for my less-than-petite size at the age of eight that judgement and being treated differently was completely here to stay. I should have known that when one kid was made fun of for the way he dressed, another for the way she combed her hair, and another for being adopted that judgement and discrimination was still being handed down from generation to generation. I should have known that the books were full of shit and that America's hands were still dirtied of discriminatory and derogatory words, slurs, phrases, jokes, and insults--that those who aren't white still suffer--that those that didn't fit "the mold" were still being judged--I should have known and the books should have said so.
There should have been a full chapter on the still very real existence of discrimination in our country--both seen and unseen. (Ie. Think about privileges you might have that others may not have--hidden privileges- EXAMPLE: Me, as a white female, has the "hidden" privilege of not feeling threatened or targeted a terrorist on a plane. Others don't have those privileges--we call them hidden discriminations. See how many you can come up with.)
Of course over time I have discovered much of this discrimination through experience and classes. I've seen friends and acquaintances who have dated members of another culture or skin color be looked down upon or reprimanded for their "actions." I've seen people judged to be "terrorists" because of their matched culture description to those printed in the media following 9-11. And I've seen the LGBT community spit on and frowned upon through disgusting slurs and rants.
With the help of a college course, during my senior year, I continued to discover more biases (like the hidden privileges as aforementioned). I probably should have had a class similar to that one--in elementary school.
Bias. Judgement. Failure to have an open mind. Discrimination. It is all around us.
HOWEVER, this weekend, at 1am on June 25th, 2011, New York state made a jump--took a leap and showed that even if bias and discrimination are going to continue on other levels, that this state is not going to be a tag-team partner in the ring when it comes to marriage equality rights--that this state will not continue to partake in discrimination when it comes to civil rights--when it comes to something bigger than life sometimes--when it comes to a wonderful thing like love.
If you are a little lost, and I hope you aren't, New York state passed the law for legal marriage rights for the LGBT community.
(Cake is at LuLu in Manhattan on 8th between 15th and 16th)
It has been a long battle, and people all over the country have been fighting for this right in their states and other states, for a long time. As New York states takes their side, it's hopefully time for other states to follow suit--to take notice, engage in less discrimination and put a ring on the finger of same-sex marriage.
If only each person could see all the pride, just alone in the wonderful city of NYC, after this historic and triumphant moment in America, they would see that investing stock in love--for all, would yield the richest states--the richest country in the world.