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I am continually amused, and bemused by the concerns that are given as the reasons we need to be fearful of change.

I get them, you get them ... we all do, from our families, friends, Facebook "friends, workplace colleagues and from the media.

Fear of difference, fear of change.

So it occurs to me to ask what it is, precisely, that people are afraid of and there are a whole bunch of questions.

Let's sidle carefully past the orange thing, because that really is scary!

Why are you afraid of gay people?

There appears to be a genuine fear that somehow teh gay will negatively impact the lives of those not gay. This I fail to understand, so help me out. Do they perform tasks less well? Are gay people some kind of National Security threat? Would two people getting married negatively impact on my own marriage?

I don't see it at all. I am a guy, married to a woman and hounded by five kids and three cats. Sure, it gets ugly at times but my burden would not be increase because Jack and Dave next door are married, nor would my joy at my family life be diminished.

It wouldn't even affect the sales of wedding outfits. I mean ... no dress for Jack and Dave, but Layla and Dee bought one each ... it's revenue neutral. In every way I can think of this is one area where no one, not government, church or nosy neighbors should be poking their sticky beaks.

If it is simply the case that you are revolted by the idea of gay people having sex, then I suggest that is your problem, not theirs. You don't spend your life thinking about the sex your straight neighbors might be enjoying, do you?

Changing demographics:

If teh gay are stirring people up, the changing demographics are really freaking them out.

I believe that the White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant population of New York City (WASP) is actually a tiny minority. Traditionally this small group has controlled the power in that city, but that is changing. Indeed it may have already changed even if the WASPs have much of the wealth. Yet it is also true that many Americans, and not just New Yorkers, consider NYC to be truly one of the worlds great cities.

So is it possible that the growing minority groups in, for example, Texas may change that state for the better? NYC became a great city because it is one of the worlds greatest melting pots. It didn't sink to the lowest common denominator, it rose to incorporate the best of the people who shaped that place.

We are a nation of immigrants. I myself am one of them and no one, not even my youngest daughter, appears to be all that scared of me. It might be because I am white!

So my question to the white people is a simple one. Why are you scared of becoming a minority? You would still be the same person with all of your strengths. White is a skin color, not a species. Or might it be that you know that white people are advantaged, and that non-whites are discriminated against?

Could it be that you are scared that the new majority might treat you the way they have been treated? If that is the case, do you feel no shame?

The Criminal Justice Test:

This "test" doesn't actually exist, so I am inventing it that you may better judge your own attitudes to race, and racial integration.

Suppose you were charged with a criminal felony, and are due to be tried. You are white and generally assured of a decently fair trial under the system we currently employ. Yes, I know this is a generalisation.

On the morning of the trial the jury is empaneled ... and everyone of them is black! How do you feel now?

If you feel the slightest discomfort then I suggest that you do a little soul-searching. For generations, black men have faced the reverse of this situation. They have argued until they were blue in the face that this was unrepresentative and prejudicial. Those arguments have been rejected almost out of hand in many, many courtrooms ... even when we actually know that prejudice and racism is real.

It is unconscionable to feel regrets at your black jury if you have never raised your voice against all-white juries, and understood that the egregious civil rights violations were happening, and continue to happen.

The War on Women:

Why is this even happening? Why are politicians concerning themselves with more regulation that is gender specific and, at the same time, refusing to support measures aimed at extending equality?

I get that you don't much care for abortions. Allow me to let you into a little secret ... Neither do I! No one in their right minds wishes to see the number of terminations of pregnancy do anything but fall. Quite honestly, the more you are involved with your fellow citizens, the faster you would like to see the abortion numbers decline. As a man I cannot fathom the sense of loss and grief a woman must go through before making this tough decision ... and after ... What I do know is that they need our understanding and support. What they do not need is our elected leaders judging and dis-approving.

The way to reduce abortions is not to ban them. Prohibition is almost never the answer to anything very much. As in every other sphere of life, this is market driven. If women need abortions, they will get abortions and no amount of ridiculous laws will do anything other than kill more women, or harm more children. There is no "trickle down" to social policy any more than there is to economics.

The way to reduce abortion is to increase choice. You do that through the general raising of living standards for all, better education (including sex ed.), and freely available contraception. If you want to increase the unwanted pregnancies in teens, then you might try reducing sex education to "abstinence only", and go from there.

If our society has done all the correct things, and some women still find themselves making this extremely difficult decision, then it is none of your business other than to ensure that the process is as painless and supportive as we can make it.

Rich People:

This one cracks me up!

You think that one day you might be rich too? Well so you might, but I would suggest that maybe oh, I dunno, about 99% of people who think like that never will be. Almost everyone is born into a socio-economic strata, and dies in it. The reason is simple. Our economy can afford a few very wealthy people and yes, it is possible that you could become one of them. However, what it cannot afford is for everyone to be so advantaged. The economy would collapse and 99% would end up relatively less wealthy, just like they are now. It's arithmetic ... surely you paid attention in 5th Grade?

So we ask the wealthy to contribute just a little more in these straightened times. You would think that the sky fell in! Do you really think that those folk will not still be wealthy even after they help out another three or four percent? Honestly? You think that will bankrupt them?

Surely a more pertinent question would be to ask them why they are not prepared to help. It's not like they would even miss the money, they don't actually spend most of it. They put it in Trust Funds to help raise the next generation of entitled kids. It's utterly selfish, and you are concerned about their well-being. Just how concerned do you suppose they are about yours?

Another little test ..... To earn a gross income of $500 000 (not even close to the wealthiest), you have to gross over forty THOUSAND dollars a MONTH! Think about your own income for a moment, and what you might do with $40k per month. Would you feel unable to contribute just a few percent of that to your neighbor who can't feed the kids?

This is not Robin Hood ... or Communism. It is basic, human decency.

These really are the things that worry people. I see it and hear it everyday. They couch it in all kinds of coded phrases, but the reality is that they are scared of change, and hide from that change by trying to impose yet more restrictions on us all. Then they complain about government intrusion.

I have one last question for those folk:

In my life I embrace change, and revere difference. As a consequence I am happy. I have little in the way of material wealth, but I find that the older I get, the less I need. Sure there are things I'd like to do, and a little more disposable income would help. A little more, that is all, and that's not an unreasonable ambition.

My question is to all those who spend their time resenting and hating the change we seek.

What do you feel like inside, as you go about your daily lives? How do you deal with the bitterness?

Originally posted to Every Part of You Belongs to You on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 05:25 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  There are a bunch of other questions (40+ / 0-)

    but if we had at least the answers to these few, we might make some progress.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 05:24:51 PM PDT

  •  I think that it (6+ / 0-)
    the White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant population
    already is a minority nationwide, not just in Nuevo York.

    And whites either are or are about to become less than the majority in the country overall.

    "There are no Americans at the airport!" -- Baghdad Bob
    "I’ve got a very effective campaign." -- Mitt Romney

    by Mnemosyne on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 06:48:12 PM PDT

    •  And there is little they can do (5+ / 0-)

      to stop it.

      So, what are they so worried about?

      Might it be that minorities are not well treated, and they damn well know it?

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      by twigg on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 07:04:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think it's the (6+ / 0-)

        scary idea of The Other, The Colored People, the whatever who are not the same as, different, other than.

        Remember, those are mostly the people who think that only the US of A matters in the world and that the rest of the planet is our doormat. I find that mindset tends to go with people who have never traveled to other countries.

        Not even "overseas," as Ryan would put it, to Canada.

        "There are no Americans at the airport!" -- Baghdad Bob
        "I’ve got a very effective campaign." -- Mitt Romney

        by Mnemosyne on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 09:43:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Or worse: traveled (8+ / 0-)

          even a tiny bit outside their comfort zone.

          I am reminded of someone who said, when we were both high school students, that she'd never been anywhere (I think I remember she'd been to Virginia once) and never wanted to go anywhere b/c this place (south-central PA) is the greatest place to live.

          Mumbledy years later, she has perhaps changed her mind -- or had it changed for her by circumstance -- but her comment does seem like a parochial white sort of attitude.  "Where I Am is The Best Place On Earth To Be."

          Ran into that attitude again, many years later, when some high school kids from small-town Flyoverville were in NYC for a competition & happened to be staying at the same hotel where the SFWA was having its annual awards banquet/conference.

          One writer asked a girl how she liked NYC.  (They had just gotten off the bus from the airport and were checking into the hotel.)

          She said she hated it.  And all she'd seen of NYC was the ride from the airport to Midtown!

          So, you're right, Mnemosyne, but I think some of them are even too parochial to accept travel within the U.S.

          Heaven forfend they go to Montreal!  Or -- gasp -- Paris!

          To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

          by Youffraita on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 11:27:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sitting on the Left Bank (5+ / 0-)

            in the Jardin de Luxembourg, with a bottle of wine, some cheese and bread you just bought at a local store is one of the finest pleasures this life can offer :)

            I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
            but I fear we will remain Democrats.

            by twigg on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 11:33:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Agreed. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              twigg, Dirtandiron, Mnemosyne, annan

              Although beyond the museums & the cafes, I think my favorite bit of Paris was visiting the catacombs.  Delightfully creepy.

              The Dordogne is extraordinary, btw.  Pate de fois gras and Lascaux Cavern.  Fields of sunflowers.  Canoeing down the Vezere river:  It's where Parisians go on holiday, although I imagine there are lots more English-speakers visiting now than when I was there.

              To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

              by Youffraita on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 11:42:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  My parents live in the Dordogne (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Youffraita, Dirtandiron, Mnemosyne

                It is indeed a very popular area.

                I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
                but I fear we will remain Democrats.

                by twigg on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 11:47:31 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Oh, lucky you! (4+ / 0-)

                  I hope you get to go visit them often -- that trip was one of the best I've ever had.

                  We were going to spend two weeks in Paris...but I'd already been to Paris once & wanted to see a bit more of the country, so we did a four-day tour of part of the Dordogne.

                  Wow -- lucky you.  (And lucky parents: I never wanted to leave there.)

                  To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

                  by Youffraita on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 11:56:14 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  I've known people in their fifties who never left (6+ / 0-)

            the county they were born in, and they all claimed there was nothing to see in the rest of the world.

            I guess parochialism is its own reward, in that it prevents one from having to deal with anything different. I just can't fathom it.

          •  NYC (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            twigg, Mnemosyne, peregrine kate
            One writer asked a girl how she liked NYC.  (They had just gotten off the bus from the airport and were checking into the hotel.)

            She said she hated it.  And all she'd seen of NYC was the ride from the airport to Midtown!

            I live in New Jersey. Most people get off of a plane at Newark Airport, they drive for about 20 minutes to go to New York City, and they are so certain the whole state is like that 25 or so minute ride.

            Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

            by Dirtandiron on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 06:03:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  yes (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dirtandiron, twigg, OldDragon, Mnemosyne

        I would agree the people most afraid of being the minority are afraid of being treated like less than a person. They fear their own behavior and attitude being turned upon them. More than anything else it seems an indictment of their own bad attitudes. It never occurs to them that the people who have been oppressed just might not want to continue in that unenlightened manner.

        you get what you give

        by chicagobleu on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 05:23:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps. But it's human nature to be uncomfor- (0+ / 0-)

        table when surrounded by those not like us, especially if there's a language difference.

        I do hope you (general) will report to us how WONDERFUL you find it when no one around you speaks English (or, worse, does, but pretends not to). If you walk into a shop/bodega and get ignored because you're the wrong color or speak the wrong language, go ahead and REJOICE! in the DIVERSITY...but be honest enough to admit that it's irritating enough when in Wally World or some such and you just can't get the clerk to understand what you're asking. Multiply that a zillionfold and we're talking serious irritation. It bugs me no end when native speakers of English stare at me with tarponlike expressions when I dare to use polysyllabic words.

        As for ill treatment of minorities, again, I'm not denying it...but do YOU want to live next door to a house with 9 people in it, 4 of them babies? If some family from another culture wants to be accepted, they should think long and hard about a) leaning English, b) obeying our laws, and c) foregoing unsanitary or obnoxious practices. I'm a programmer and must have a good night's sleep, or I can't do my job. So I don't want neighbors (of any culture or color) who whoop it up all night, leave garbage all over the lawn, etc.

        •  You are talking about (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          bad neighbors, and that has nothing to do with race or color.

          I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
          but I fear we will remain Democrats.

          by twigg on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 09:27:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Are you honestly denying the cultural angle? (0+ / 0-)

            I've had to deal with people who found nothing wrong in shouting to each other across the apartment complex at any hour of the night. Wherever they were from, it was obviously OK to do so. I'd like to hear from folks who live next door to a santero how chicken guts all over the lawn is a good thing.

  •  The religious ones are afraid of going to hell and (6+ / 0-)

    the rest of them are afraid of giving up privilege.

    (shrug) That's my take anyway…

    Nice diary. You bring up a lot of good things to consider. I especially love the gross income of 500,000 question.

    Poverty = politics.

    by Renee on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 07:59:26 PM PDT

    •  Thanks Renee (8+ / 0-)

      I often think that folk mention the larger incomes without ever really thinking about what it really means, and comparing it to their own.

      500k rolls off the tongue ... but what does that really mean?

      To start with, it fully funds a house with a mortgage of 1.5 MILLION dollars.

      Or about 10 to 15 of the homes I live in .... That salary could buy our street.

      They can pay more and just live in half the street ... and still be wealthy.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      by twigg on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 08:46:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  To hell in a handbasket (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      207wickedgood, twigg, OldDragon
      The religious ones are afraid of going to hell
      and afraid that the folks disagreeing with them might not.

      I am much more afraid of the richest in this country finally controlling the rest of the wealth on the nation and a monopoly on the reins of power.  That is change I am afraid of.  But it's nearly upon us already.  

      As for whites becoming a minority?  As Twigg says, it doesn't change who or what YOU are, and I don't expect people of color will join together to oppress their paler neighbors.  So long as we have a unifying American culture, enlivened by the richness of our ancestral heritages, we will be fine.  We always have been a nation of immigrants after all, and all through our history there are those who reviled and feared newcomers.  Are you Irish?  You were the Hispanics of the day.  Italian?  You weren't considered 'white' till the 1920's.  What has changed?

      Twigg, I especially liked the criminal justice question.  My first thought was, 'What if Blacks are as racist as Whites?'  I don't truly know, but I do think Blacks have more justification if they are.

      Everybody needs to read Dr Suess' book 'The Sneetches'.  where every sneetch eventually gets changed to the Other so often that nobody can tell who was what, and the difference no longer matters.  I am personally an Extreme Melting-Pot-ist, who naively thinks racial blending would yield hybrid vigor, to the benefit of all.  And if you had people of all races in your own family, the Other wouldn't be Other at all.  Just sayin'.

      Now, let me tell you about my Chinese-Japanese-Italian-Polish-Lithuanian-English-French-and-maybe-some-Russian grandchildren.  They are all of those, but first of all, American.  Way too long to fit on a bumper sticker.

      Real plastic here; none of that new synthetic stuff made from chicken feathers. By the morning of 9/12/2001 the people of NYC had won the War on Terror.

      by triplepoint on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 05:57:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  i was afraid to read this diary- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but it was ok after all!

    it turns out you and i have a very different definition of pillow talk.

    "...i also also want a legally binding apology." -George Rockwell

    by thankgodforairamerica on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 06:08:06 AM PDT

  •  I am afraid of change too,........ (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OldDragon, elmo

    Re-elect Barry H. Obama. Then stick with a Democrat in 2016 and 2020.....

    There is no they, We will sink or swim together.... We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness

    by GDbot on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 12:31:34 PM PDT

  •  If they are afraid of change (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    then they shouldn't even be thinking about voting for the ticket that is openly promising to radically change Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.

  •  the answer to your ending questions: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    how do people go about their daily lives hating & resenting the changes liberals & progressives seek? -- answer: they are happy in their misery.  hate is empowering & satisfying, the same way loving & giving is to us.

    how do they deal with the bitterness? -- answer: it's "normal" for them to be bitter.  to be anything else is a sign of weakness.  the strong survive, the weak do not.

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