Yesterday was a beautiful morning – sunny, not too cold with the hint of coming spring in the air. Yet, this beauty was marred by an act so ugly and abhorrent it caused one to momentarily overlook the natural surroundings and become aware of the basest part of human nature. An Israeli flag with a swastika painted on it was placed near one of the gates leading to my daughter’s school. So, one has to ask – what would prompt such a senseless act of hatred? When the children passed by and saw that heinous emblem, who answered them when they asked why? And how did they answer? How confusing for those young people to wonder what they had done to illicit such venom directed at them.

In fact, this type of despicable act has no place in what purports to be an advanced or enlightened society. Whether these acts are directed at one person, or a group of people because they happen to be jewish, muslim, black, gay, female or pink with purple polka dots does not condone the action under any set of circumstances. None of these criteria gives anyone the right to judge another person’s value, character or righteousness. I believe that a person is defined by their words, but even more so by their actions. Stealing is wrong, murder is wrong, senseless hatred is wrong. Yet, there are those who are guilty of these and other atrocities in every ethnic and lifestyle group, including all those I just mentioned (pink with purple polka dots excluded).

And so, it makes me wonder what the human race is going to be like when we finally grow up. We are by nature greedy and territorial. Our genetic make up insures survival of the fittest, and our need to mate is intended to insure survival of the species. So, if we are defending our mate, our clan or our home against an enemy we are programmed to fight and protect ourselves. And because of this programming, chances are there will always be battles to be fought on some level, in politics and in business on a domestic and global scale. But hatred based on the simple color of someone’s skin or lifestyle choice is not given to us by nature. It has to be learned, and is therefore given to us by those of the prior generation who haven’t grown up yet. Those who haven’t learned how to share their toys or play nice in the sandbox. Those who bully and steal lunch money because they can. Funny…isn’t it usually the bullies who end up in jail or in some menial labor job and the nerds they picked on who end up running the big corporations?

Just recently Billy Crystal came under fire for donning black make-up to portray Sammy Davis, Jr. in one of his skits at the Oscars. Even the daughter of Mr. Davis later came forward to say that her father would have given his blessing to his dear friend Billy’s skit. Yet, there are those who still say that it wasn’t ok and choose to take offense at what was intended to be good-natured humor. My question is then, if that isn’t ok, why is it ok for a film like “White Chicks” to be made, where a couple of black guys put on white face and dress like women? Shouldn’t all white females be outraged? The answer, of course, is no. In both instances, those who do take offense need to grow up. One of the basic cornerstones of an adult attitude is the ability to laugh at yourself and appreciate the humor in life. (I’m talking about humor here, not blatant racial slurs or bigotry.) Because the reality is, it doesn’t really matter who the joke is directed at – it’s just a joke, and we’re all just people. When you cut us, we all bleed red. That’s the bottom line, and until we all as a global society take that to heart, we will never get to graduate.