The Real Test

This post is not about high-stakes testing.

It is not about testing in schools of any kind. Or even education.

This post is about human dignity—to put a fine point on it, about our very human propensity to indignity.

So what is the real test? The real test is about whether or not you will stand in solidarity with others not like you for the human dignity and freedoms you demand for yourself and people like you.

In my 55 years as a Southerner, in the Bible belt, I have witnessed daily that those who are loudest about moralizing are least likely to be willing to pass this test.

I demand mine, they shout, but you cannot have yours—thumping their bible all the while. Religious texts were thumped to deny women their full humanity, to reduce blacks in the U.S. to property. When will we unmask these refrains as the worst types of unethical behavior?

You see, religious fervor, moral certitude are the mothers of intolerance.

If any of us expect the basic human dignity of access to a public restroom, we must extend that to anyone, everyone, regardless of whether we understand or know the experiences of others unlike us.

Your religious freedom must not supersede the religious freedom of people holding a different faith—or no faith at all.

And that is the real test—Will you stand in solidarity with others not like you for the human dignity and freedoms you demand for yourself and people like you?—one too many fail on a regular basis.

Until we all are willing to take and pass this test, none of us are free, none of us have the human dignity everyone deserves at birth.

And all of us carry the shame of the daily failures of this test.

3 comments

  1. Wendy Weir

    Another brilliant post. I so appreciate your turns at equity and decency not only in education, but also across issues affecting many reaches, such as this. I continue to look forward to reading here.

  2. Pingback: The Real Test — the becoming radical | The Place

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