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Fighting Stereotypes within our own community - Non-Fluffy Pagan Parents
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Subject:Fighting Stereotypes within our own community
Time:02:03 pm
Current Mood:curiouscurious
I have recently been reading communities about pagan parenting and alternative parenting and find one commonality to be very disturbing.

As pagans, I would like to think that most of us are intelligent and have open minds. Am I being naive?

I have found that there are many people who accept stereotype as 'normal' or who dont even think twice about it. Is this because people dont look or is it because people are not trained to look for it? Is it laziness and apathy? Reading stories to children about Witches riding around on broomsticks, wearing pointed black hats and casting spells on evil-doers is promoting a stereotype image of a Witch that, personally, I do not want to encourage. If this were an image of a Native American wearing nothing but a deerskin tunic and a feather headdress, there would be outrage at the lack of cultural sensitivity and promotion of ethnic stereotype.

Based in the same concept, seems to be the opinion that we should expose our children to all religions, faiths and cultures...all except Christianity. Are we afraid, as pagans and witches, that our children will be 'turned'? Are we so intolerant that we would disallow our children to learn about Christianity because thats the 'bad' religion? Or is our own faith so slight that we cannot hold our own?

Maybe it is because I was never really 'in the broom closet' so I cant really relate to people's fear of being found out. I just wonder about the compromises we make and what they teach our kids. To me, it seems we are teaching them that it is something to be kept hidden, or to be ashamed of. It is beyond me how a family can claim to be pagan and still celebrate Christmas because they dont want their children to know they're pagan. Is it just me or does this not make sense??
Maybe I am completely wrong and have misinterpreted it, but it seems that we are not really teaching our kids anything when we hide, promote or encourage stereotypes, and live contrary to our beliefs. Its that whole "do what I say, not what I do" Makes me wonder if some people really believe, or is it just the cool thing to be...

or...maybe Im confused just cuz Im Canadian ;)

Sirene
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mzwyndi
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Time:2006-04-20 07:19 pm (UTC)
Indeed not. Prejudice and stereotypes are never dispelled. They are the crutches of small minds, terrified of change and difference. The attempt to dispel their protective cocoons is a dangerous game that produces a backlash.

I don't particularly want to know what my neighbors' and coworkers' faith is. I don't ask. And I don't think they really want to know mine. They just want to know that if someone tries to hurt them, I'd call the cops. If they need help with a flat tire, I'll get a lug wrench. That sort of stuff. Just folks, being just folks. I've never really understood why anyone would want to be anything else outside the private sharing of their faith. Good neighbors, good friends, good citizens, good people.

And when you're that, you have to ask yourself, "What stereotypes?"
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swisscelt
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Time:2006-04-20 10:07 pm (UTC)
Now with this, I agree fully. It's the basic philosophy that keeps me "out" here in the Hinterlands Outside Columbus. Which in itself says something about the stereotypes: One might find that one's own stereotypes start to fall away as well. The good folks I know who are Christians here are, with only one exception that comes to mind, "tolerant" of my religious beliefs. And by "tolerant", I mean that they really couldn't care less, as they've already accepted me as a person.

And hey, even the exception to the rule only proselytizes to me out of a genuine love for me as a person. So, really, it's all good.
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mzwyndi
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Time:2006-04-21 06:15 am (UTC)
*nodnodnod* Long ago, in the BBS days, I remember being called a 'republican fascist' for saying to a pagan forum that being a good neighbor is a better safety net than hiring a lawyer.

But, it's true. Social psychology has proved - over and over - that identification of similarities and regular face-to-face interactions will make a person more apt to help you in a crisis. Tribal societies rest upon the concept of reciprocation -- as do small towns, agricultural communities, and other group dynamics.
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Fighting Stereotypes within our own community - Non-Fluffy Pagan Parents
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