Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Art of Accepted Discrimination, part 2

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

In his inimitable way, Bilbo Baggins started his speech this way to his invited guests from the Shire, on the occasion of his Eleventy-first Birthday.

And so deftly, so subtly, Bilbo acknowledged his guests most properly, with a misdirecting discrimination, elegant in its disguise; confusing to those who knew him least well, pointedly indignant to those who knew he disliked them, and utterly gently to those of whom he was fond.

Both Bagginses, Bilbo and Frodo, were of amazing stock among Middle Earth Hobbits. Naturally genteel, kind, diplomatic at first glance are most Hobbits, but ruthless and short, if the occasion called for it, and all points in between.

That is our generally accepted, personal view of "discrimination" in a nutshell... that view which is held deep and private, inside all of our hearts. We judge others by how they treat us, by how we react to them, and then by how they react to us afterward. This pathway is good, even honored; while to dislike or dismiss an entire group of people out-of-hand, simply based upon one or more similar trait(s), is deemed bad, hateful, ignorant.

There is great wisdom in each way of looking at "discrimination". For individually, we may feel most comfortable in the company of whom we accept and feel accepted by. "Like Minds...", or "Birds of a Feather, Flock Together". But on the other hand, we, both individually and generally, are repulsed by outsiders to our group-think; their ideas or actions are considered bad, to be intolerable. The spoon-stealing Sackville-Baggins come to mind. So do "Illegal Immigrants" and "Muslim Extremists". Maybe even "Liberal democrats".
But also, there is a huge looming mistake. And this is what needs to be resolved for America.

I submit to you that it is only the borders, the parameters of discrimination that we feel uncomfortable being around... the areas in which we, I, don't know how to feel.
Because, I know a family of illegals from Mexico. And I like them. They are splendid folk, conservative in their nature and decent in all ways. They invited me to their Cinco de Mayo bar-b-que party last month.

And if forced to choose, I'd take this terrific family of 4 over many so-called 'native Americans' or white Americans as friends (one 'D. Watson' springs to mind immediately), if you must know. And there, I met single men, and couples alike, all of Mexican birth and nationality, who were as nice and as accepting of me as a family member or close friend could be.
**Where is the clear line of demarkation, pointing out where I should be discriminating and where I should'nt? Is it only a matter of personal choice, who are the 'A**holes', and who are friends?

so how do i deal with this, this conflict of conscious and of personal acceptance and of pride-in-friendship?

Lord help me, i think i'm bordering on Socialism and Groupthink, trying to decide this.

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