To the Editors:
Recently some people in Wilton found white supremacist flyers in their driveways. The first selectwoman says that racist ideas have no place in Wilton or our country. Would that she were correct. Racism is alive and well in America, just as it always has been. This is simply because it is alive and well in all of us — as the good man said, no one is without sin.
Bullying is a case in point: what is it but an expression of hate? In our schools we rail against it, making all the appropriate noises to express our disapproval and hiring experts to help our children deal with it. And what of cliques, those little groups that form around certain individuals to the exclusion of all others? Aren’t these an expression of social bullying? And gossip, what is that but a form of killing thy neighbor — spiritual bullying.
Services like Facebook allow us — adults as well as children — to set up private groups. These seem innocent enough — friends able to share ideas, thoughts, information. But their reach is vast and impersonal and “information” posted thereto has the imprimatur of the printed word. While they can be used for benign purposes, they are also used to spread rumors and gossip, to attack others without their knowledge, to bear false and secret witness against our neighbors.
Racism, prejudice, bullying, cliques, exclusionary groups, gossip, false witness, these are all the same thing. Like a crime, sometimes the victim dies, other times it’s only a surface wound, but it’s always a crime. And it’s always a sin.
If we want to rid our society of these counterproductive behaviors, as we say we do, we’d best start close to home, probably with the person in the mirror — or the selfie.
Wilton, Feb. 23
To the Editors: