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A Touch of Ignorance

When people outside of Texas hear the word “Texas” they tend to assume everyone gallops on their horse atop dirt roads, every resident is indeed a cowboy, and longhorns graze flat meadows.  At least that is what this yankee thought.  When I moved to Houston from New York, I recall quite clearly a coworker of mine telling me “Someone like you shouldn’t move to Texas!  You better get yourself a gun”.  

Houston happens to be a very large melting pot of races, ethnicities, cultures, religions. While being a very liberal city (for the most part) it has never given me an issue for being Gay.  Houstonians are among the most friendly of people and while my partner and I are not huge on public displays of affection, if we happen to grace one another’s arms in a loving way, no one ever did a double-take at it.

After a short 5 month wait, my partner and I were chosen by a young woman to adopt her child.  She is due in July and we are beyond excited while remaining cautiously optimistic.  To celebrate, we decided to do a little “nursery inspiration” shopping at Baby Restoration Hardware.

When we walked in, we were approached by a young woman in her mid-twenties.  Very attractive, very “urban” and “hip” looking.  She swiftly walked directly up to us and said:

“Hi, I think you guys are in the wrong store.  Your looking for the regular Restoration Hardware, which is right next door.”

While trying to keep my chin from dropping on the floor, I responded “No, actually this is exactly the store that we wanted to be in”.

One would think it would have struck her to stop questioning.  Nonetheless, this driven sales woman proceeded with “Really?  We never get two guys shopping in here”.

Seriously?

Firstly, let me state that to strangers, my partner and I could have been brothers shopping for our sister who is pregnant.  Or two buddies on lunch from work, picking up a baby gift for a coworker.

Secondly, how could someone so young be so ignorant to think that 2 men could not shop in a baby store together?  Like I said, she looked like someone who grew up in the city and who would most certainly be “in tune” to different types of people.

Finally, it is none of anyones business where we shop or what we are doing in that store or any store for that matter. After all, I didn’t question why she worked there.  Why should we be questioned why we were shopping there?

It got me thinking…When my partner and I are pushing a stroller into a store with our baby in it, what will than be said?  Dont get me wrong-I do not think anyone would dare be as homophobic as to come up to us and make a comment.  However, ignorant people may assume anything other than what the situation is.  Ignorant people cause such offence by lack of tact and presumption that they get to say what ‘reality’ is within their own narrow terms.

Everyone is ignorant in their own way.  Including me about some things. No one is immune to hit and every society deals with it.   Unfortunately people think this way in regards to race, religion, even the way people dress and talk. It permeates absolutely everything.

Looking back on the situation, I cant blame the woman at Baby Restoration Hardware.  Ignorance is lacking knowledge, education and awareness. Being ignorant is for some people not their fault really because they haven’t had the exposure necessary to be presented with the facts on a topic to form an educated and informed decision. Which starts at home.

So the lesson I learned here is to do whatever we can do, as parents, to educate our child on ignorance.  To show them that their are different people in the world, different scenarios and constant differing opinions about a multitude of subjects.  And to respect, embrace and love that about others.

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