Discrimination and Harassment
46 years ago I got out of the Navy and grew a beard. I didn't know that I was “protesting” anything. I just want to grow a beard. I went from being a Navy Petty Officer to being a draft dodging“Hippie” that companies wouldn't hire because of a beard. Was it legal to turn me away because I wasn't clean shaven, I doubt it but it happened.
When I drove my car I could expect to get stopped for no obvious reason and treated as though I'd done something wrong. Did it bother me? Of course it did! Did I get mouthy? No, I knew it would go badly.
Discrimination and harassment is not new just the targeted people change. I was a 20s white Veteran with a beard that all of a sudden was an acceptable target. I learned to adjust to the BS and over time beards became acceptable so I was no longer a target but I didn't forget.
I can never tell a Black person that “I know how you feel” because I never will. I can only say “Don't let it own you”. D&H come from ignorance and fear. Conquer it with tenacity, education and strength. I still wear a beard!
Dick Anderson Nam Vet
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