They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions… but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience. ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 11, spoken by the character Atticus
Today, I begin on a more serious note. There are several things that Terri @ Rags Against The Machine and I share in common, but one sad fact recently popped up…both of our daughters had experienced bullying due to the paleness of their skin.
It is ironic to me that my sweet baby J had to face rejection for the first time during a middle school lesson from To Kill A Mockingbird….adolescents can be so blind. They began to bully and show prejudice at the same time they were reading about it. But, at that time, a group of boys started to call her “Boo Radley” (the albino recluse from the book) and once they knew it upset her…they poured it on. The only saving grace was that there was no Face Book at the time…the weapon of choice for most teen bullies today…which would have made an already unbearable situation much worse.
In Texas, women and girls are esteemed if they are bleach- blonde with tan skin and many of her MS friends already tanned to achieve this look and acceptance. Sweet J was horrified at her treatment and began a regime to constantly be in the sun or go to tanning salons. The boys’ words intensified in high school and her obsession to look and be a certain way grew. Both of us look back on her high school years with sadness and wish we had stood up and handled this situation differently. There’s that “hindsight” again…ouch! But all she really wanted was acceptance from a particular group which with held it just to be mean.
I am happy to report that she has overcome with maturity and faith the scars of her past. But, she constantly worries about skin cancer from the days that she would fry her skin to receive approval… which never really came. She is a gorgeous woman with beautiful porcelain skin tones and her compassionate heart, developed primarily from the treatment she received, allows her to reach out in love to people of all skin tones and to be forgiving of those who were so cruel.
Recently, some of the fashion bloggers have experienced a rash of negative comments on their looks and their blogs…. really, the same type of behavior as a 14-year-old, immature bully. I would just say to the naysayers: Words are powerful…they can cut deep wounds and leave scars which last a lifetime. Many of the sweet ladies who pen these blogs are just as vulnerable as my daughter was in MS. Remember: Love & Acceptance are the salve which heal all wounds and breakdown walls. Please think before you comment and do not take your words lightly.
Please join Terri for her story @ Rags Against the Machine…..