Recently, I had a distasteful conversation with a Lewiston businessman. This man did a great job at a great price with the task I brought him. Our conversation led him to elaborate on problems this country faces. It was a diatribe against various ethnic and religious groups which I will not repeat. Various slurs were used, including the “n” word.
This person believes that even legal immigration is bad for the L-A area; that the poor are unwilling to work; the wealth of the country is held by one religious group; and he had nothing positive to say about Barack Obama.
Attempts I made to dismiss racism as a topic or to dispute his “facts” were ignored.
I left depressed and disheartened. Such views and his vehemence do not lead to greater understanding among people who disagree. Blaming certain groups, or a monolithic, indefinable concept of “the government,” solves nothing and reveals ignorance and a willful disregard for the truth.
I heard hatred and fear in his voice. Perhaps he is unable to adjust in a rapidly changing world. Since he was willing to have this conversation with someone he doesn't even know, he must have assumed I would feel the same way.
Is that type of thinking more widespread than I believe?
Rich, poor, middle-class, white, black — none of us fits easily into one category to be judged by others. Everyone has a story.
Is it too much to give each other the benefit of a doubt?
Dori L. Burnham, Monmouth