Time to Change
If you've read my blogs before, you know that I write about things that are close to my heart, but also things that strike me as funny. This blog is one of the former. Now I know I've written about racism before and sexism before, but I think until these things no longer exist it will never be enough to simply blog about them.
So, this week I went shopping with my daughter who was looking for some craft items for her place of work. I used to be a fairly crafty person, mainly cross stitch, but my eyesight has diminished so that I don't really see well to work on small projects. As my daughter looked for embroidery thread colors I started to peruse the iron-on patterns used to make pillowcases or tablecloths or dish towels.
I have long been a fan of hand-embroidered dish towels. I own a set my aunt received for her wedding in the 40s. I love the nostalgia and charm, but the patterns I saw for sale really disturbed me and did not make me feel charmed or nostalgic. Among the cute patterns of kittens and baby ducks were some of the most racist images I have seen.
For instance, one set entitled Island Babies featured a caricature of African American babies with exaggerated lips and bald heads. Another was called Little Indians and showed a representation of Native American children in costumes I haven't seen since my childhood.
Then there were patterns with stereotypical images of African American maids or cooks the likes of which I have not seen since I lived in Kentucky. Another set was not so racist in image, but the title was the Orient, which of course has been replaced by the term Asian. The sexism wasn't lost either, in an example of a 50s style “little woman” happily going about her household chores.
Some of you might think, these are just patterns for embroidery, what's the big deal? I don't want to offend anyone who may actually own these images, but in my humble opinion it's time for such things to go away. It was time 30 years ago. It was time long before they were ever drawn.
I posted an item on Facebook the other day relating a comment about how some Christians hold dislike, distrust or even hatred toward some Middle Eastern people. I knew that one of two particular friends, possibly both, would comment within the hour. I was not disappointed. I did not respond to the long comment because I have learned from experience not to take the bait.
In essence this person stated that I was mistaken and my action was actually biased. I figured, okay, maybe it was generalizing, but certainly had a degree of truth. I know because as a pastor I frequently try to educate but these types of comments crop up more than I would like to hear.
I just can't help but wonder, not even from a Christian perspective, but just as human beings, when enough will be enough. As a child of the 70s I can't help but wonder what happened to the peace and love generation who wanted to buy the world a Coke and sing in harmony but are now the ones afraid of Muslims and the possiblity that our president may be a secret terrorist.
I think the time to change is any time we are so afraid of those who look differently than we do that we forget we are all the same. They say charity begins at home, so I say change begins inside of you.