Prejudice feelings permeate society

By Karl Terry: Freedom Newspapers

NBA basketball star Tim Hardaway’s anti-gay comments prior to the All-Star game point up bigotry is alive and well in our country and shows up in all colors, backgrounds and economic situations.

Hardaway is a black man in a country where black males have historically been the target of more bigotry than probably any other group. You would think with a successful career and a national stage the last thing Hardaway would want to spew from his mouth would be hatred for any group.

He’s apologized, and it is hoped he’s examined his true feelings and the apology is genuine. In the future he should maybe just stick to commenting about what happened on the court.

With Black History Month activities in full swing this week at Eastern New Mexico University, we need to be thankful the African American Affairs group at the university is sponsoring cultural events that will enlighten our community and remind us there’s still work to be done in breaking down prejudices.

I grew up in Portales, where the university is the only place a lot of us are exposed to different cultures, especially black culture. Portales as a whole would have failed a racial tolerance test while I was growing up and before. Some whites had a dislike of Hispanics and a complete shunning and abusiveness toward the black culture in this community.

That’s changed for the better, but I suspect, like Tim Hardaway, we could all stand a little self-examination.

While bigotry toward Hispanics has lessened since I was in school, we now have a completely different Hispanic culture in our county consisting of recent immigrants working at local dairies. Language and culture differences will test everyone’s tolerance. It can affect schools, hospitals, retail store selections and government.

We don’t have to immerse ourselves in the culture of others. We don’t have to be happy language differences in our schools are causing students and teachers problems. But we don’t need to develop a hatred for any human being. And you don’t have to like or approve of the gay lifestyle to treat a gay person with respect and kindness.

Maybe Tim Hardaway has learned that lesson.

Karl Terry is managing editor of the Portales News-Tribune. Contact him at 356-4481, ext. 33, or e-mail: