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Lyfe Thinking Out Loud Tough Talk

Thoughts on Discrimination and Hate From a Southerner

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I have several definitive thoughts on discrimination and hate. As a born, bred, and proud Southerner, discrimination and hate are facts of life with which I am rather familiar, and after the Pulse Orlando Massacre, I need to address them.

Please respect that the following is my opinion and my personal story. I know that I grew up with certain means, a particularly liberal atmosphere, and that many others were not so fortunate. Please respect my feelings and the feelings of others in your discussion; any overly inflammatory comments WILL be deleted, though I will respond to them privately.

Thoughts on Discrimination and Hate From a Southerner in the wake of the shooting at Pulse Nightclub Orlando. http://suzlyfe.com/thoughts-discrimination-hate-southerner-pulse-orlando

Discrimination In Atlanta

Long time readers know that I was born and raised in Atlanta, and may perhaps know that my mother’s side of the family is OLD Atlanta (hello, General Hood aka the dude who surrendered ATL to Sherman in the Civil War). Yes, my family owned slaves back in the day. Yes, my mother grew up with Help. Yes, they were referred to as The Help. But yes, The Help were respected. 

Atlanta is a city that is rife with a past of racial conflict. Imagine me, as a historic preservation student, discovering that one of the big reasons for the start of the historic preservation movement in Atlanta was in response to the fact that Atlanta’s first African American mayor wanted to erase the painful reminders of a painful past. Then, the years of my childhood were the same as the influx of legal and illegal immigrants into the city.

That is a discussion for another day (and one that I actually wrote a paper on), but understand that even now, there is racial tension on all sides, not just directed towards African Americans or Hispanics. I definitely felt reverse discrimination as a white girl growing up and having all the markings of “that kind” of white girl.

But, had they ever taken the chance to ask me, they would have discovered that I was raised never to act like “that kind” of white girl. 

Let’s add another level of discrimination and tension: sexual discrimination.

Georgia is infamous for being a conservative Red State. We also happen to have one of the most vibrant LGBT communities in the country, and one of which I am exceedingly proud. I have walked in AIDS Walk Atlanta, participated in Gay Pride, and supported friends as they have come out to their families. 

Love is Love and love is without gender distinctions. 

Discrimination, Hate, Integrity, Respect

My parents did an amazing job of raising me (no, this is not a humble brag) because in the midst of the discrimination that could have been knocking on my door, I was raised to understand people are people are people. You greet them with respect, but after that it is up to them to retain and maintain that respect.

I am one of those people that must respect you in order to even deal with you–that is why integrity in the companies that I represent, the reviews that I publish, and the people that I surround myself with is so nonnegotiable to me. I actually find it hard to even be in the same room with people once they lose my respect. 

And you better believe that I will cut ties with you quicker that you can think if I discover something that leaves me without respect for you. Putting someone down in a negative way (like making fun of them), cheating on someone, cheating in business, and discriminating against someone are four of the quickest ways to ensure that I will no longer be dealing with you. 

Discrimination, Hate, and My Reaction to The Shootings at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando

The shootings this weekend at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando rocked me. I try not to be political on my blog, my facebook, etc, but I had to say something. 

At the time that I posted, the press had not confirmed the shooter’s motives, but to be honest, the motives do not much matter to me: That the target was a LGBT nightclub said enough: that the shooting was racially, religiously, or sexually discriminatory in nature. **I did add on the post that if it was an issue of mental health, that goes to show that mental disease must be taken more seriously as well. 

And that is intolerable to me. Discrimination is a sin to me in the same way that homosexuality is a sin to some. But I am not going to shoot someone over it. I am just going to go about my day and not deal with those who I find are discriminatory. 

You don’t have to agree with someone’s sexual orientation, religion, how they slice their bread, or the TV shows that they watch. And you certainly don’t have to shoot them for those choices. They are no threat to you by those choices. 

As my mom said in her reply to my facebook comment, she grew up in the 60s in Atlanta, a time when the Ku Klux Klan was a very, very real presence and hate was a real and almost visible state of mind and being. 

I wish I could offer a solution to all of this. I truly wish that I could. I don’t know what I intend to happen from this post, but I just couldn’t be silent. Perhaps I just want a discussion. A place to air grievances, a place to offer constructive suggestions, a place for positivity, and place for love and support. 

For everyone out there who is scared right now: know that you are loved, that you are valid, your love is valid, and that we are here to support you.

That’s all I have for today. I feel lighter having said my piece, but my heart is still heavy with what has happened. Be kind. Dance. Love each other. Put your energy towards something that can actually help the world.

Thoughts on discrimination and hate from a southerner #PulseOrlando #realtalk Click To Tweet

How can we help a world that seems set on rejection?

Thank you to Amanda for Thinking Out Loud.

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