What my son taught me about labeling 'the other'By Amy Yoder McGloughlin
My son came home from a week at our denomination’s local camp, with a lot of questions, and a good dose of outrage.
He had just spent the week with some kids that were quite unlike him. They were conservative, both politically and theologically. They hated Obama, and sang songs about their desire to see him removed from office. If they didn’t like something, they said, “That’s so gay.”
This — in our home — is not how we talk, and it was shocking to him.
But, in his shock and horror about his peers’ views, my son said some things that worried me: “Mom, they are so conservative and Republican.” He said these words with such intolerance.
I had to stop the conversation. The words “Republican” and “conservative” were becoming categories in his mind, boxes where he could put people, according to their worldview.
I worried aloud with him: “So what do we do? Stop talking to people because they don’t think like us?”
In reality, though we’d never talked about it, many of our family members would fit those categories he’s come to despise.
This conversation has me questioning the ways I talk about “those people” in our home. What has he learned from me about “those people”?
While my son was at camp, the Chick-fil-A story was at its height. And I was sick to my stomach all week. The divisions in our society ran deep — we had now become divided between those who ate fast food chicken on Aug. 1, and those who did not.
The categorization of people is a human reality, going back to the beginning of time. In fact, even Jesus put people in boxes.
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