Hard to Face the World This Morning

“Federal laws prohibit discrimination based on a person’s national origin, race, color, religion, disability, sex, and familial status. Laws prohibiting national origin discrimination make it illegal to discriminate because of a person’s birthplace, ancestry, culture or language. This means people cannot be denied equal opportunity because they or their family are from another country, because they have a name or accent associated with a national origin group, because they participate in certain customs associated with a national origin group, or because they are married to or associate with people of a certain national origin. “

That’s just a general statement on the homepage of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice. It contains a variation on a phrase you hear so often in law school (nor race, nor color, nor creed, nor religion, nor nation of origin, nor sex. . . .) that it becomes background noise. No discrimination based on things you don’t have control over (except religion because that’s a thing as a nation we are neither supposed to establish nor prohibit). None.

What you are learning in law school is how to recognize when the state law applies or when the federal law does. When a person is acting in an official capacity or a personal one. When a decision includes consideration of how one of these forbidden categories affects the outcome and when it is discrimination based on that category ( <=== Not gonna lie, that’s tricky. Very tricky–thus we are still basically litigating all of these issues all the time)

But the premise never changes, to the point that you stop thinking about the premise. We don’t discriminate on religion. We don’t discriminate on race.

Then you find that we do.

But that it’s complicated and convoluted and it’s all about exceptions and intent and outcomes. And you want it to be simple, like it was in grade school; that all of us are created equal and endowed in that creation with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Then you grow up and hear people making arguments for “but not them.”

I’m glad the SPLC is there to call this out because I’m disappointed how few legislators and political leaders are.SPLC

This is not the nation I want to leave behind me–one of hate and distrust and pretense about who is good and who is not because of their religion or ancestry.

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