When “prejudice” calls, what do you do? A long-time neighbor called the other day, spouting off a list of complaints about Fallbrook and California – high water bill, high taxes, nothing of interest in town, illegal immigrants, etc. She insisted that Fallbrook is unsafe; not a nice town. Her dissatisfaction was so strong that I suggested she move out of the area so as not to waste her life here. She mentioned some states that would be “better” than California.
In response to one, I commented “I heard that several white supremacist groups live there.” Her comment back “I think that I would like that. Yes, I think that I really would like that.” What a slap in the face! My neighbor is white, a U.S. military vet. I’m a fourth generation Japanese-American, born and raised in California. My father, born in Hawaii, served in the U.S. Army as did many family members and friends. Japanese-Americans who lived through the alienation and prejudice after Pearl Harbor.
I said “Really? I’ve had to deal with prejudice since I was a kid and it’s not fun.” No apology from the neighbor. Nothing. The next time she calls, I hope that I respond with grace; not anger. If I don’t than I am no better than she and have learned nothing from the generation before me.