Those wayward few of us may not have shed all the prejudices left over from earlier, narrower-minded generations that pitted themselves against the unknown and "foreign" because these represented potential danger.
But even these throwbacks don't evidence the soul-searing hatred that seems to emanate primarily from C(c)onservative flavors.
An acquaintance, whose mother and father were old country Irish, recently displayed a photograph of his 1960s wedding. His lovely wife has a slightly "different" aspect - meaning she does not look classically Irish. Shortly after the ceremony he recalled that his mother asked the bride's mother, who looks very much like her, "What nationality are you people, anyway?"
I can visualize the expression on her face as she asked this excessively offensive question because I am now both a resident of a southern state and an avid consumer of political news. I see this expression often on:
- The elderly woman who has run a local greasy spoon here in Scottsville, Virginia since before segregation ended and she still resents having to serve "coloreds."
- Bloviating politicians who represent southern and "Heartland" districts, particularly rural areas. (The name given to those Midwestern States that are so entrenched in insular and parochial values always amuses me. It seems such an oxymoron.)
- Pillars of society in all the U.S. Gulf States who discuss the "problem" of immigrants in a manner reserved for discussions of roaches and maggots.
- Texas schoolboard officials who have taken on the responsibility to see that all U.S. public school textbooks hew the Christian line.
- Ministers who profess to be Christian but who want to kill Muslims and burn the Koran.
I suppose when you consider mankind is only a million years out of caves, the atavistic responses (that identify anyone different as dangerous) are bound to linger. Maybe in another million years it will be bred out of us.
Or maybe not.