Out on the road today, I saw a DEADHEAD sticker on a Cadillac
A little voice inside my head said, “Don’t look back. You can never look back”
Quote from Don Henley , from the song “The Boys of Summer”
Those are the words I heard in my head today as a looked at the car next to me in a parking lot and noticed the US Marines, and Semper Fi (Always Faithful) stickers on a Mini-Cooper. I just couldn’t think of your stereo-typical male macho Marine (think favorite phrase Hoo-Rah) driving a little bitty car.
But see that is where the problem lies. I made assumptions about the owner of the car based on the stereo-types that I have been “taught” to expect. We don’t expect to see Grateful Dead stickers on luxury cars so the line in the song works for the purpose that the writer wanted it to convey; that somehow something of the past has been lost if he sees the sticker of this particular band on a luxury car.
Many might say, so what ? So what, if I assume that a US Marine won’t typically purchase a compact car. The reason it is important is; I and all of us need to realize that I was making stereo-typical assumptions about a particular group of people.
When discussing Heter0sexism and Homophobia in a classroom discussion last week we watched a documentary called “For the Bible Tells Me So” which was very well done and explores the reactions, attitudes, and the learning process that each family that was profiled went through when they discovered their son or daughter was gay.
The word in the documentary that just stuck out for me however was the word “lifestyle.” I think the one mother stated about her daughter that “I love her I just don’t love the lifestyle”
Now I don’t have charts, numbers, or statistics but I can tell you that from the 2-3 dozen homosexual people I have as friends or family that none of them has any particular “lifestyle” in common with any of the rest of them. Many in fact most of them are very dedicated Christians, but others adhere to different faith traditions. They are single, dating, married, or in a committed relationship in just the same ways that the rest of my friends and family tend to be. They range in age probably from twenty years old to over seventy. I love them all, in the same way I love all of my family and friends.
So what does the bumper sticker have to do with homophobia. It is the assumption that I made based on the appearance of the car and what I thought the owner would look or act or be like, it is assumptions like that , that lead to assumptions that just because a person who happens to be attracted to the same gender live a particular “lifestyle.”
So if I happen to be traveling down the road and see a Mercedes with a Phish sticker on it, I will keep my mind open and my mouth shut !
So Semper Fi to the Marine with the Mini Cooper, let me thank you for your service and for always being faithful to your responsibilities.