Originally created 02/11/00

Hits 'pity parties' of minorities

Please help me understand why Jesse Jackson is not held accountable when he refers to New York City as "Hymietown" orwhen the leaders of the Nation of Islam use a public platform to spout hate and ugly epithets toward other segments of our society.

I have been referred to as a "honky," but I take the slur in stride while I consider the source.

There was a time in the not too distant past when demeaning terms such as "wop" and "Guinea" were commonly used against me and mine. We rose above the slurs. We survived. Various ethnic labels never deterred us from becoming successful and responsible citizens.

Demeaning words do not define who and what I am. A man's heart is measured by his mouth. Words express who and what the speaker is, not who or what the target is.

Make no mistake, I do not condone hateful words used against any citizen of our nation. There will always be racists among us. As long as we recognize the source, half the battle is won.

As I see it, "political correctness" is a double edged sword. It exposes the small-minded and his insecurity, while it also erodes the forum of free speech to which we are all entitled.

Free to be you and me is what America is all about -- free to accept or reject negative labels; free to rise above the rabble, and yes, free to be identified by a demeaning word if we so choose.

I am reminded of the childhood rhyme of old, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me."

Enough! We need to recognize our full potential and be all we can be.

Pity parties are getting old.

Bettie B. Hannon, Augusta


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