The Other vs. Stigma, aka Acceptance vs. Support

Man, what a day for etymology. I really liked this one - thanks, Linda and Paul.

If you have read more than two of my posts, you know that #equality is a huge topic for me. I was raised by my momma to know that all people are equal in value. We have a baseline of not-despicable and our worth is what we make it from there. Let me go off on a tangent before addressing the connotations of words.

It's likely that I feel strongly about #equality because I was taught to accept each person as a person, and then I went to kindergarten. Kindergartners can be horrible people. I was mocked for my clothes, for not being able to read, for speaking my mind. I quickly learned how to read, because I could control that. I couldn't choose my own clothes and I couldn't shut up. Still can't.

My bestie in Kindergarten came from a Baptist family, and my parents were Catholic. This meant that on any weekend I could go to church up to 5 times, depending how we chose to arrange our social schedules. When you're a little girl with a little girl best friend, you'll do anything to be together. I still remember the Baptist Sunday School teacher staring into my eyes as he explained that babies cannot accept Jesus as their personal Saviour, so even when they are baptised they are not really saved.

There's the thing: Accept.  Accept Jesus, accept what he offers you, accept what I said he offered you, because if you don't accept you will not be worthy of Heaven.  Because I said so. It's true babies can't accept, but I think that's an awful lot of burden to place on a six-year old who thinks she understands the world. I thought I could debate adults, but I had nothing to say to that one.

I committed a Social Media Faux Pas today and said, "Tolerance is taught, or not."  I learned that the word tolerance is on the naughty list. I can understand this, because it is generally used to mean you endured something or someone you don't really like very much. I didn't appreciate the choice of Accept or Tolerate, though. Accept sounds like a package deal, like I'm supposed embrace, literally and with hugs, all of the reasons and choices this person of nonstandard affiliation may endorse. Accept infers that there is something offered which I must receive or not. I have to like it that my cousin is a lesbian and I have to like her dates, too. All of them. Convert or Fight. Join or Die.

It's not like that, and I already know, but the knee-jerk hits me in the throat anyway.  Paul said:

"How about support?" YES, Paul.  Yes.

Your personal identity is yours; it's not my business. That's the point of the discussion. I don't need to exclude you categorically because you look like a something, but at the same time you don't need my approval, either. You aren't offering me anything to take from you other than friendship. Your lifestyle is not mine to take. You just live it.

I guess that's it:  accept feels like the sweet-sticky opposite but equally offensive counterpart to tolerate. It's still judg(e)mental.

All that being said, if you are a person who could use an ally for a minute - if it is actually helpful for me to tell you I support your existence - I will be glad to do so.  In the meantime, I think it's much better to tell you I don't have a stake in how you choose to live, or basically just say nothing.  It doesn't matter to me - YOU matter to me.

Further reading:

Urban Dictionary

...because I swear to you there is no such thing as too many dictionaries

Learn how this applies to your past, your present, and your future.


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