My mom always told me that kindness and acceptance go a long way. So it drives me crazy when we fight about religion, sexuality, or gender.
My mom came to the U.S. from Taiwan when she was seven. As an immigrant in the 70s, she faced racism daily. I cringe when I hear stories about kids on the playground calling her “chink,” squinting their eyes, and mocking her accent.
So it’s puzzling to me when she makes highly questionable statements about other groups.
We were talking about an ISIS terrorist attack. My mom shook her head and said, “Islam is a violent religion.” I confronted her, “It’s not okay to generalize an entire group based off of an extremist minority.”
The problem with my mom isn’t hate–it’s lack of awareness. She was raised in a different generation and with a different culture. Her very traditional Chinese household didn’t exactly stress political sensitivity.
Sometimes in public I still hiss at her, “Mom. You CAN’T SAY THAT. Not here, not ever.” But I see her trying. And to me, that makes a world of difference.