excuse me your ism is showing

3 Jun

I haven’t posted in a long time. I’ve been planning to make my comeback, but there’s something up that just won’t wait.

Several times in the last few months I have been in the presence of someone who was about to tell a blonde joke. The joke teller looked around checking for blondes before telling the joke and I was quite clear both times that I would be offended even if there were no blondes within 100 miles. (I have brown and teal (and gray) hair). I told one of the people that it would be the same as someone making a joke about them simply because they were tall, a genetic trait they have no control over.

But I knew there was more to that. This morning this whole thing was on my mind, why does it matter so much to me? Well there are several elements to a blonde joke, the joke is typically about how the blonde is dumb and there’s another part, the blonde is typically a female. Oh oh, I said it out loud.

I grew up in a utopian world where men and women were equal and as a girl growing up I knew I could do and be whatever I wanted. Gay friends were normal, friends of other racial and cultural background were included, and people with disabilities were part of the family as well. Maybe because of this, I still am shocked when I come across this type of degradation from people who would not otherwise say such things about people.

I have a friend who has a daughter. She just finished 5th grade the top in her school and with national honors. She also is a talented tumbler and cheerleader. She happens to have long blonde hair. Should she give up academics and just be a cheerleader because as a blonde that’s all she’s qualified to do? Your blonde joke suggests that.

Another friend has a granddaughter who has been accepted into the accelerated program in her school. This kid could spell restaurant in first grade, along with many other big words. She is sweet and playful, but she also has long blonde hair. I suppose she should just stick to being a sweet young thing, after all, your joke says that’s all she can comprehend.

I mean REALLY!!!!! Either of these girls could be a future Hillary Clinton (who has been Secretary of State and Governor of New York), Meg Whitman (who is CEO of Hewlett Packard), or Ginni Rometty (who is CEO of IBM). These three examples of highly successful and smart women also happen to be blonde. They could write a book that inspires millions to take a spiritual journey like Elizabeth Gilbert, or anchor the nightly news with poise and grace like Diane Sawyer.

I hope these brilliant little girls look to women like these and many more as an inspiration, instead of believing in some dumb blonde joke.

I hope that as a society we can learn that a person’s beauty and worth have little to do with what one sees on the outside. I hope that as a society we can realize that when we put someone down, because they look different, act different, talk different, think different, we’re putting everyone down.

Could we learn to ask ourselves why we feel the desire to degrade someone? Why does it make us feel better? Does it?

Our words create our world, maybe you say it’s just one little joke. But it’s not, it’s magnified every time you speak it, every time it is repeated, and by every ear who hears it.

Come on, be a part of a world that is safe and possible for everyone.

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