Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pulling weeds...

So, in recent years I've begun to reconnect with people from my schools. That's a big plural on schools, too.
I now live in a different state than the one in which I went to high school. As a consequence, I've been connecting through the Schoolfriends website and more recently through the Book of Face. But in very rare instances, I've managed to meet up face to face. And it's led me to form a question.
Let's say there's someone you know, and you get on with them very well, and you have a whole bunch of similar interests...heck, let's say they're actually a friend. What do you do when you find out that that person holds a view that is immensely repugnant to you?
I recently had that experience. I met up with a bloke who was, for a time, my best buddy. We lost contact when I changed high schools, but I remember him having low-level racist tendencies. We were only about 13 when I first heard him spouting it, and I didn't quite know how to handle. it.
Recently, we met up again, here in my home town. As boys do when they're together, we were admiring the...scenery. I indicated a particular girl behind the counter of the takeaway shop we were buying from, saying she was rather nice. He then looked at me in surprise that I could find someone of a non-anglo race attractive. He even had a disgusting epithet which he wasn't afraid to use.
I had a different friend in high school who I kept in contact with for a while. He was big into heavy metal, and grew his hair long and swore actively, right into his mid-20's (and probably now). My wife (girlfriend at the time), a country girl, was utterly perplexed when she first met him, and they didn't warm to each other. A couple of years down the track, my school friend assured me that he "hated" my wife because she "didn't give him a chance".
In the case of the first bloke, I'm perplexed. He wants to keep in contact, and in many ways we get along well. It's just that one attitudinal weed, which makes me wonder...if you could pull that weed out, what else would you find in the roots?
As far as the other guy, the metal-head...that was the last time I saw him.
What do you guys do? Do you accept the whole package, or do you throw out the baby with the bathwater?


Rozlyn Sparks said...

That's a tough spot to be in. On the one hand it's never helpful to burn bridges. On the other sometimes there are just roads you never need to cross again.

You could always take the honest approach and let the one friend essentially "weed himself." Tell him you happen to like people of other races and if he can't keep the comments to a minimum then your interactions will be severely limited. It puts the ball back in their court.

Willsin Rowe said...

He's currently living in another country, which makes it easy. It looks, though, as if he's moving back home...shall ahve to see how it goes.

Thanks, my lovely lady.