We are all guilty, deep down inside.

"That girl is so stupid, and ugly to top it off."
"That chick is such a bitch, and dresses like a whore."
"Argh, I hate that guy, he's so fat and disgusting."

We have all heard it before - a comment here or there about an aspect of another's appearance that is displeasing to North American society. We are not tolerant, as a people, of those who are fat or ugly. When someone who is fat, ugly, or both is ridiculed for any reason whatsoever, the accuser almost always takes the chance to seize the insult that is most obvious and easy to exploit. More specifically, anything that is physically different from the norm.

I used to be one of those cruel and insensitive people. I insulted others at every opportunity, not because of something they did, but because of something they were. They were what the other schoolkids deemed funny to look at and laugh at. So I joined in.

Then I became aware of this thing called racism. It occurred to me one day that my behaviour and that of a racist was not too different at all. Insulting someone is easy when there is something to insult. Colour and physical appearance go hand in hand as targets with sloppy red X's painted all over them. It's just so tempting, and some people have the self-control to bite their tongue, but some don't.

Insults are not bad things, when used correctly. If someone does something stupid, go right ahead and say so. Maybe they will correct themselves. They have this advantage.

It may have taken me seventeen years to realize this, but at least I can say that I do understand and have changed. How many others can claim the same?

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