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Guess Who is Coming to Dinner

September 15, 2011
Christmas Placesettings on Dinner Table

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Growing up I learned about prejudice in school, but I really thought that was a history lesson.  At home we were taught that every one is equal and that actions or words that said otherwise were unacceptable.

My mother’s close friend who was African American visited frequently.  For several years we had soldiers from various exotic countries who were training at a nearby military base join us for Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas dinner.  We went to a church that talked about, explored, and visited a variety of other religions.

So I was really surprised when my mother started making comments about people who were over weight.  In a loud voice she said “Look at how fat that nurse is!  You would think that a nurse would know better.”  I was so embarrassed that I had no idea what to do.  Crawling under the chair didn’t ease the embarrassment.  I quietly told Mom to stop talking about people.

Dad now frequently points out people who are over weight.  He’ll make derogatory comments.  Many times I am sure that the person he is talking about has heard what he said.  Prejudices come in many forms, apparently this is one that my parents shared.

I have come to realize that a persons internal social monitor disappears as the disease progresses.  How sad.

I have struggled with this behavior and how to stop or change his reactions and make me feel better about the situation.  I have decided to respond to Dad’s comments at the same volume he used, telling him that what he said was not appropriate.

It is important to me that anyone in ear shot hears that I think his comments are inappropriate. Prejudice in any form is not acceptable to me or the father I once knew.

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