July 26, 2010 Dear Younger Sister, Marilyn, It was good to read your posting (below) on the discussions in Helena about sex education in the public schools. And, of course I have been following the conversations and or non-conversations about race as a response to the weekend experiences of Mrs. Shirley Sherrod. Do the discussion on Helena about sex education and the discussion nationally about race point out that we as human beings have some maturing to do on both issues?
I share with you and our Truth in Progress friends and supporters these thoughts on sex, race, and many of the issues that unnecessarily cause division rather than calm reflection and action.
1. Historically we have made mountains out of molehills on a variety of human concerns, only to discover later that some of our fears, angers, and uncertainty were "much ado about nothing." Why do we fear change, when on so many issues we have changed, and we are better for it.
2. Frederick Douglass said, "If there is no struggle, there is no progress." We must learn to value the positives that come from struggle, rather than allow struggles to divide us as human beings and to cause havoc within our own emotional and spiritual selves. There are so many survival issues, all of us are facing today, that our debates on a lot of topics, are so much less serious than we make them.
3. Grace and I have already discovered that our 5 year old granddaughter is learning about gender, sex and human differences in listening to and talking with her peers on the playground, and in the classroom when the teacher is not listening. We are not pleased with some of the ways she is learning to talk about her "learnings". We believe that if teachers, and parents and grandparents could be more open and honest about what is, and what might be, she would be able to get rid of some of the "street talk" and definitions that make some things negative that ought be positive.
4. We must stop running away when serious topics come up like sex and race. My conservative friends enjoy hearing from me this quote from Dick Gregory about Liberals. Gregory the comedian/civil rights activists once said; "Liberals are the ones who get up and leave the room when the fighting begins." I am not sure which Liberals he was talking about, but I quote him because some of my Conservative friends think I think Liberals are perfect and they are not. They are pleased when I am able to make fun of persons with whom I share many opinions.
5. Finally, I am an easterner who wants to believe that you in the west have your act together while we in the east, are often in a "mell of a hess". I expect Montanans who live amidst of a history of travail, tribulation and then triumph, not to "sweat the small stuff." You and I in Truth in Progress are attempting to point out the foolishness of our racial and sexual orientation fears. How can you and I help sex education in the schools of Helena to be a "slam dunk" rather than a shot that gets blocked?
I have never understood why I, and most of us, are ashamed to admit that our parents "did it" to produce us. Today's young people in Helena ought not grow up finding it difficult and nasty to understand that their parents engaged in the act that produced all of us; Sex.
Your Elder Brother, Gil