Admitting my Prejudice

June 10, 2018 2:15 PM for June 9, 2018

Yesterday, while I was browsing the vegetables at the farmer’s market, I realized that I am prejudiced.

Prejudice is not a word I use lightly, and I do so now with even more caution considering our current political and social culture in the USA. Prejudice, however, is the only word I can give for my knee jerk, gut reaction, that I had yesterday.

For the past several years, we’ve gone to this particular farmer’s market and we found a vendor that has really good lettuce. It’s huge, it’s tender and it’s always freshly picked. I know this because over the years we have chatted with the gentleman who sells it.

This gentleman is probably in this mid – thirties and he is always there with his son. Both father and son are nice looking — blonde hair, blue eyes. Both are always clean and presentable with short hair cuts, and ironed button down shirts tucked into nice shorts or jeans.

The son, in particular, has always impressed me. At ten or eleven, he possesses politeness and poise well beyond his years. He’s respectful and his manners are impeccable. This vendor sometimes sells bushes and larger plants and I’ve heard the son offer to carry these items to the car. He comes off as being a really nice, well-brought up kid.

We came to like this vendor and we always go to him first. It’s been that way for a couple of years.

And then on the last day that we attended the farmer’s market last year, this nice man had his son and his daughter with him. It was the first time I’ve seen the daughter. She was clean and well-pressed, like her brother, although she had long hair and was wearing a long-ish skirt instead of pants or shorts like the son.

Perhaps I watch too much Handmaid’s Tale, but the skirt made me think of the repressive, fundamental Christian faiths where the women always wear mid-calf lengths skirts — Michelle Dugger style.

The type of religions that demand women always defer to the man’s opinions. Where women live with their fathers until they are married off and their purpose in life is to reproduce. Groups where birth control is frowned upon and abortion is forbidden. Groups that believe homosexuality is a grave sin and AIDS was God’s way of punishing the sinners. Groups that don’t believe in gay marriage and produce offspring that could one day refuse to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple getting married.

Whew. That’s a lot of baggage to put on a single garment choice of a little girl on one day.

I never gave it another thought until yesterday, when we saw the nice man selling his lettuce. His son was there again, too. A little taller than last year and still neatly dressed in a button down shirt and jeans. His daughter was there, too. In her long hair, blouse and her mid-calf denim skirt.

I’m ashamed to admit this, but my initial thought was to not buy lettuce from him anymore so I’m not supporting a faith that subjugate women.

I am not partial to any particular religion myself. I consider myself an agnostic or spiritual but not religious. I don’t put any more credence in one faith over another. I’ve known people from all kinds faiths – Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Jewish, Muslin, Hindu and Jehovah Witnesses. While I’ve occasionally been on the receiving end of prejudice being that I don’t practice an organized religion myself, I can honestly say that I’ve never cared about anyone else’s beliefs before this.

So why have the problem with the lettuce vendor and his faith?

I don’t know. I wish I understood why I reacted the way I did, but I honestly don’t. I was ashamed of myself at having that initial thought, though. I felt like I was the same kind of narrow-minded discrimenatory ass as the guy who won the Supreme Court Case last week  where he refused to make a wedding cake for the gay couple in Colorado.

I know that even if this family is a conservative, fundamental Christian family, it doesn’t mean they believe women are inferior, or homosexuality is evil. And even if they do, they are entitled to their beliefs, the same as I am entitled to disagree with them. This the very thing that being an American is all about and it’s a privilege I believe is worth fighting to preserve. It’s not enough to just spout the words. It’s the actions that make it real and that applies to beliefs on both sides of the issue.

As long as the lettuce vendor doesn’t care that he is selling lettuce to an agnostic, I will be fine with purchasing it. And shame of me for ever considering otherwise.

We purchased our lettuce from the vendor, yesterday, same as always. His son will still well-spoken and polite as was his daughter. I told the vendor we were happy to see him return to the farmer’s market because he always has the best produce.

And I meant it.

3:02 pm

 

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