Truly...I do. Well...sort of.
The animals of this planet have this thing. I don't care if we are talking about ants, birds or humans...we have to believe that we are in some way better than a portion of our own species. It is one of those things that drives us to achieve. It can also be one of those things that most of us struggle to conceal.
I hope I have raised my children well. So far, I haven't seen any indications to the contrary, but you never know.
I remember when my youngest was...oh...14 or so and we were driving somewhere. There was a car in front of us slowing traffic down. This was one of those beaters that because of a faulty muffler, you could hear coming for blocks. It had a few kids hanging out the window and you couldn't even tell what color the vehicle was originally for the dirt and grime.
I recall that we were in a bit of a hurry to get wherever we were going, and my son exclaimed that he wished those rednecks would get the heck out of people's way...and a few other invectives.
I thought, "I should say something". And I did. At the next opportunity, I pulled off the road into a parking lot and turned off the engine...with the intention of having a little chat with my son...insuring that we would be late for our appointment. This made what I was about to try to teach him all the more dramatic and important.
I told him firstly that I never wanted to hear that kind of bigotry again...ever. I also made him understand that the car and its driver that he had been so quick to judge as "rednecks" and "trash", were human beings. And that he could not possibly know enough about them personally to judge them so harshly. I also pointed out that their vehicle was indeed moving down the road...albeit slowly...and getting the family where it needed to go. The car was most likely and very simply all they could afford. Why, beside the fact that it was making all of us behind it a nano-second late, should the car and its driver be so hated? Because this family does not enjoy some privileges that you do, this shouldn't make them subjects of ridicule. Of course I followed this little lecture up with a few other points about people judging others quickly and hurtfully...and I believe he took it to heart. I hope so. It wasn't a necessarily pleasant lecture...but most of this type aren't. They can be, at the time, a bit shaming and hurtful themselves. But a necessary chore for parents, I think.
Now I know you are thinking,"He thinks he is so perfect and everything he does is right". Well, not everything. But in this instance if you would not lecture your child against something he learned like this away from home...then I AM right and you are wrong. It's just that simple.
Along with this little incident, I have always tried to hammer home to my children that no human is incapable of teaching them something valuable. I have learned that lesson the hard way myself...with my face, you might say. I have been on the receiving end of kindness and wisdom from people that "my" class of people wouldn't even associate with. Among the fondest memories I have in my life are those moments when the prejudices that I have harbored through being taught them in the jewish media...simply melt away in the real world. And when I am constantly reminded that ALL PEOPLE ARE THE SAME.
I say this and you nod in agreement. But do you "know" it? When you see little heads in a crowd on your teevee news of Muslim dissidents burning flags...do you understand that inside each of those little heads on your screen is a life...a life full of headaches and griefs and happy times just like members of your own family. Granted, our class trappings and our various thin veils of culture cause us to do some insignificant things differently. A Muslim woman endures the discomfort of the burka that the Christian woman does not. The Asian businessman must keep "face" in his mind in all of his day-to-day dealings. The amerikan must endure the hegemony of his government as he works two jobs to make ends meet.
But aside from these trappings...and indeed they are that(they do trap us all)...do you understand that all people are related? Really. I understand that this seems to be simple...but it is not.
I have come across only one culture in my many years that I would consider to be genuinely and fundamentally different. This culture is judaism. I regard this culture to be the "enemy". For if there is one enemy of humanity it is the human that believes that he is better than all others...and more importantly ACTS on that assumption. This is taught in jewish homes through instruction and deed. Just as I taught my son not to assume hierarchy, it is taught to the jewish to do just the opposite.
Of course religion...the scourge of mankind...is the foundation of all of this. It is a double-edged sword, to be sure. But there is only one religion of which I am aware, that teaches superiority. There is only one religion that condones inhumanity toward others because of this incorrect assumption. This ethos...this cult...must be seen for what it is. Before it damns us all.
Up there I said in screaming letters that all people are the same. And so they are...at the beginning. But just as that woman and her children in the car ahead of us were all once pink cuddly sponges that experience some of the worst that life has to offer, so were the jewish once such learning creatures that will be taught an entirely different philosophy. That woman has been taught that her folk are not the last rung on the ladder...that even if she isn't wealthy or well educated, she will always be better than a Negro or a Mexican. But will she act on this? Few do...but when they are encouraged by their rulers to do so...it draws attention away from those that act on such prejudice throughout their lives...the ruling judaic.
So am I taking a "moral high-ground"? And if so, should I? I think that yes would be the answer to both. If you are not teaching your children...through both lecture and deed...that they are no better than others, then you cannot be the "good" holier-than-thou. I am not referring to the one of material or class artifice. But the true moral high-ground. The only one that benefits all when it is taught.