It’s easy to hate what we don’t understand.
Saturday morning I was on my local Portland news website reading about the happenings around PDX. One of the main headlines was about the name changing of 39th Ave to Cesar Chavez Blvd. I really have no direct opinion on the subject, as I do not know enough about Cesar Chavez. I do know he was born in the United States, which makes him just as American as I am. I know he was an activist for farming rights and that he is remembered as a respected leader of the Mexican American community. Other than that, I have a lot to learn.
Though I didn’t really have an opinion after reading the article it appeared many other Oregonians did. I was shocked by the amount of hate response there was to the article. Most people wrote that the Mexican community shouldn’t be celebrated because they’re all illegal immigrants that steal our jobs, they take our tax dollars via state assistance, and they are criminals that fill our prisons. One person even wrote, “Unfortunitly the name change will not be know to most out of city people, so visitors wil get lost”. I left the typos and misspellings to prove a point. Not only was I shocked, but also disgusted at what I was reading. I had to remind myself that the bubble of Portland I live in is only a small part of Oregon. There are many people out there who really do not care to learn about, get to know, or care to understand the Latino community of Oregon.
What these hateful people fail to realize is that the Latino community was here for hundreds of years before the Europeans settled on this land. They taught us how to farm, so if anybody took jobs from anybody it was the Europeans who took the jobs from the Latinos. Yep, Oregon was Spanish territory until 1819 people. There is a great article you can read about the history of Oregon at SalemHistory.net. Sadly, I highly doubt that anyone who posted those hateful words would ever take the time to educate themselves.
I guess it really is easy to find hate with something that one doesn’t understand. It’s easier to continue to be ignorant than it is to educate oneself. Last week I was reminded that I am not immune to rejecting the idea of something I don’t understand.
I was having a conversation with a co-worker. She casually mentioned that she likes Sarah Palin. I cringe anytime I hear someone say they like Sarah Palin, but then at the same time I kinda understand what they mean. Yes, Palin says a lot of things I really do not understand, like in her resignation speech when she said, “It may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: ‘Sit down and shut up,’ but that’s the worthless, easy path; that’s a quitter’s way out.” or “Nah, only dead fish go with the flow.”
That said I can see how people think she is charming. She does resemble a reality tv star that would be fun to watch on Survivor, but that is a far stretch from being second in line to the President of the United States. She’s conservative and says things conservatives agree with, but she knows very little about politics as proven in her many interviews since 2008 and as exposed in Mark Halperin’s new book Game Change.
So let’s stop hating or prejudging what we don’t understand. If you disagree with something or someone at least take a little time to educate yourself and have a valid difference of opinion. And if you chose not to educate yourself a little maybe you should listen to the advice mothers have passed down for generations. “If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”