Author: Carolyn Gard
Before you judge people, walk a mile in their shoes.
The high school I went to was 70% Jewish, 10% Catholic, and 20% Protestant. While we were friendly with the Jewish kids, we never really became friends. In fact, we harbored some grudges against them. All the girls had cashmere sweaters, we could never run for student office because ‘they’ would always win, they got Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur off (a mixed blessing, apparently, since they had to sit in Temple all day). The few times I went to one of the Jewish kid’s houses was kind of disconcerting. Due to the Holocaust, most of them had a grandparent living with them, and these grandparents spoke Yiddish. I remember when one of my classmates was called out of class because her father had died, a result of being in a concentration camp.
Once, when some of us were complaining to our minister about the Jewish kids, he told us that we should be thankful to have had this experience. “As a WASP (White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant),” he said, “this is the only time you will be in the minority.
One year our band went on tour between Palm Sunday and Easter. It was also Passover, so the band director arranged for the Jewish kids to have a Seder. He also planned to take the one Catholic kid to early Mass on Palm Sunday. So, we twenty Protestants marched into his office and asked for a Palm Sunday service. We didn’t do it out of any great religious reason – we did it because we felt left out.
As a minority, we asked for something and got it. But for most minorities, their requests aren’t granted that easily. There are those who have asked for an end to racial profiling, but it still happens, even in liberal cities like Boulder. There are those who want to marry the ones they love, but are told they are an abomination to God. There are those women who want to control their bodies, but are told by men that they can’t get pregnant if they are raped. There are those who want asylum so their children will be safe, but whose children are taken from them and put in cages.
I had an eye-opening experience about being a minority. While I can’t say, “I’ve walked a mile in your shoes,” I can say, “I’ll walk with you.”
Lord, grant us the courage to walk with those who need our support. And grant us the wisdom to stop complaining.