Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Discrimination & Prejudice

I want to share with you all a video that a Lyme patient created first before I go onto my non-lyme portion of the blog post.   It's a 4 or 5 minute video that describes some of the things we go through.

I write this hesitantly because I know my family reads my blog, but this has been on my heart for a few weeks and I feel that I must write it.  To my family.  I think the way I think because you raised me to be a caring compassionate woman.  You taught me to get to know people before dismissing them based on assumptions and status.  You taught me how to love like God loves, without condition.  

Discrimination is a huge word. Prejudice is another huge word.  These words have been talked about ad-nausea over the last few months in North Carolina. Discrimination is when "we" give a certain treatment to someone based on their membership or perceived membership in a certain group or category.  I have been affected by discrimination, me personally.  Discrimination hurts.

You might think to yourself that there is no way that I've been treated poorly based on my membership of a  certain group, but it is true.  In fact, you thinking what you just thought ... is prejudice.  How could this white girl have been pre-judged? In more ways than you think ---- 

One of my best friends in elementary school was a girl. We had different color skin.  I didn't notice because Edna was my friend, my best friend.  I changed schools in elementary for two years and people convinced her that I attended that private Christian school because I was prejudice against her.  It most certainly wasn't the case because I didn't even realize we were different.  I went to a different school becuase my family thought it would be a better learning environment for our family.  These people at the new school were prejudice against me for coming from a public school.  However, I did make a few life long friends.  Some I haven't seen since I moved away and oh I how I miss them.  Oh how I missed her, my best friend.   I didn't talk to her for years (decades actually).  I recently reconnected with her on facebook and found out that not only did her family tell her that I didn't like people of her race, but that we had moved far away because of it.  I was heart broken that she would have been told such a thing.  She was heartbroken that they had lied to her.  She said I was the best friend she had ever had and would never forget that I was her very first best friend in life. 

Discrimination.  Prejudice.

Right before 7th grade began, we moved to a new county.  I was discriminated against for being the new girl in school.   I was discriminated against for having parents that worked in the school system.  I was discriminated against for wearing glasses, being too skinny, for being in the band, for being different and for being smart. The students in my school prejudged me before they got to know me. Their prejudice hurt.  I cried daily.  I wanted nothing more than to be accepted for who I was and to have friends.  I wanted nothing more than to go back "home" to be with the friends that I had grown to love. 

Discrimination.  Prejudice.

In college and in my adulthood, I have been discriminated against in the medical community.  They've called me a number of things and have lumped me in with a group of people that are crazy.  Twelve years after my first symptom, I was finally diagnosed correctly.  There is still a prejudice in the medical community about Lyme Disease.  People are either FOR it or AGAINST it.  I am FOR the treatment of Lyme and AGAINST the IDSA guidelines.  I am a competent woman that gets looked at like she's incompetent when regular physicians find out I'm seeking the help of an integrative doctor for Lyme Disease.  

Discrimination.  Prejudice.

I have friends of all types.  I have always been like this.  In high school, I had friends of a wide range.  I had shy quiet very smart friends and I had very outgoing friends who in hind sight were probably drug addicts.  I had friends that were raised in homes of loving single Mothers, had friends that were raised in a not so loving home of two parents, had friends that were raised by their grandparents, had friends that were raised in a traditional home.

Discrimination.  Prejudice.

In hindsight, I know I had friends that were gay in High School.  In regular sight, I knew I had friends that were gay in college. This portion of my blog may not come out correctly and I may confuse or anger some , but it is what it is. 
I do not believe in abortion.  I believe it is wrong.  I believe that life begins at conception and killing that life is a sin.   However, I also believe that I should not judge that in which I don't understand. I shouldn't judge or tell someone else what they should or should not do based on my own very personal opinions and biases. I do understand that there are certain circumstances in which a woman thinks there are no other choices including rape victims and a pregnancy in which it may endanger the life of the mother or the child.  However when I look at the life of my friend's 4 year old daughter in which the pregnancy could have ended the life of my friend and the life of that daughter --- I know she made the right decision because she and her husband believe what I believe -- the sanctity of life -- even after her doctors told her that an abortion was the best way to save her life.  Even with all of this, I feel that women should be given a choice.  I have the choice to feel the way I do and I feel that other women have the same right to choose another option even if that option is wrong to me.

It wasn't until I got to college that I realized (yes I was very naive) that sometimes life worked a little differently than in my family.  For the first time in my life, I was introduced to men that loved other men.  I was introduced to women that loved other women.  I'll be honest.  It confused the mess out of me, but as I went back to my teachings and my upbringings I remembered one of my favorite children's songs ----

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

We are ALL God's children.
We are ALL loved by God.
 Last time I checked. ALL meant ALL.
 It is not my place to judge that in which I don't understand.
It is not my place to discriminate.

Last time I check, God  made us all. He knew what we were going to be before we did.  He knew about my Lyme Disease, well before I did. He knew that I would be an advocate for Lyme before I did. He knew that I would find it in my heart to pour out these words to all of you before I did!  God created us ALL.  Every single one of us. 

There, I've said my peace on discrimination, prejudice, abortion, homosexuality, etc. It was an honest account of how I have been feeling over the last few weeks.   Please pray for my friends, my friends that have been deeply hurt this morning based on how our state voted yesterday whether it was for or against the amendment or just the primary election in general.  Friends, families and children are hurting this morning over discrimination and prejudice.   

Thank you for reading the words from my heart. 



darlabrown1 said...

Very well said Jennifer. I love your open mind. Yes, many are hurt today and I only thought of the ones that "lost" on the amendment being approved. But I didn't think about the others that are upset because someone in the general election won whom I may be happy about but they are not. Kudos to your parents for bringing up an open minded and accepting person. I like you even more now!

darlabrown1 said...

I always think of myself as being very open minded but you took it a step further and I really am impressed with your thought process. It is truly open minded rather than just open minded to liberal views. Your parents should be very proud of you. Thanks for sharing Jennifer!

Jennifer said...

Thanks so much Darla.

ehardy22 said...

Yes it was hard to be pull away from your best friend never knowing if you will see them again. The words hurt but the love i have for you & your family can't be taken away. Love away your best friend Edna