Posts Tagged ‘Avoided’

I was six years old in 1960 when my father took me aside to talk to me about prejudice.

My father said to never judge a person by the color of their skin.

Instead of concerning myself with the color of a person’s skin my father said to look to see if the person’s word means anything and if they give a honest days work for a honest days pay. 

He said if a person meets these two things be willing to work beside them.

In 1960 we were living in Nolan county in a town called Sweetwater in west central Texas.

My father was part Cherokee and part English / Irish and his family lived on the outskirts of town in a rattlesnake infested arroyo.

My fathers father was mostly Cherokee and the whole family could have signed up with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and been certified as having enough native blood to qualify to live on an Indian reservation and to receive payments from the US government.

Instead of signing up and going to live on the reservation or of trying to integrate with the white population my grandfather chose to avoid both situations by living on the edge of town in a place no one else wanted to live.

Open prejudice against Native Americans and blacks was an immediate reality in Texas in those days.

For example, my father and I were at a gas station filling up the family car when a young black boy came up to put air in his bicycle tires. The attendant at the station came running over to the boy shouting “Get out of here boy, the air is only for white customers not you!”

In 1970 I was a sophomore in a public high school in Fresno, California and we were still trying to desegregate the local public schools from having all white and all black schools.

The issue of gay rights or of prejudice against gays was not a much of public issue during the time that I was in public school.

This may be because the riots at the Stonewall Inn in June, 1969, or the developing gay pride movement was not reported in the Fresno newspapers very well, if at all.

The wisdom I learned in avoiding prejudice against blacks is the same wisdom I use to avoid prejudice against gays and others. 

I have adapted my father’s advice to read  “Never judge a gay person for their sexual preference. Look to see if their word means anything and if they give a honest days work for a honest days pay.  If they meet these things, be willing to work beside them.”

With prejudice avoided we would have more children with air in their bike tires instead of tears on their faces. 

Learn about the connection between gay rights and our overall economic prosperity at