Not too long ago and not in a galaxy far away, I responded on some other blog about the 1980s. On this blog, I commented about my memories of this decade. I wrote something along the lines of:
“I remember the 1980s, everyone having to work three jobs because they all paid minimum wage, people wanting to censor music and all the intolerance I suffered for the heinous crime of having long hair.”
The blog in question was for the conservative type Americans and the particular post was against someone who wrote a book criticising the Reagan administration, so naturally, I got a few responses. The most memorable one was from a woman who wrote:
“Criticising hair styles is really intolerance. Poor victim, maybe you can get some money from the government for it.”
A man commented that if my only problem was people dissing me over my hair, then the 80s couldn’t have been that bad. Both of these missed the point. Let me begin by giving the definition of intolerance. It is: unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one’s own. In short, a great mass of people, especially those who attended my community college, were unwilling to accept me on account of the length of my hair. Therefore, they were intolerant! Plus, there was further intolerance because those same persons did not seem to accept my reasons for growing my hair long in the first place. For those who don’t already know, the reason why I grew my hair long was because I had spent four years in the US Marines. That meant I spent four years forced to wear very short hair while in the service of my country. People were either deaf by choice or simply just didn’t want to hear my reasons. That to me is the ultimate intolerance. When someone is willing to give reasons behind a certain behaviour and people don’t care to hear that someone.
That wasn’t the first intolerance I suffered and yes, I do go over this a bit in “He Was Weird.” In sixth grade, I wore a baseball jacket. (See picture below). I admit, I didn’t get a whole lot of grief over it but I was told by one classmate that the reason why nobody liked me was down to the fact that I wore babyish things. Again, we have more intolerance. After all, an eleven year old boy wearing a baseball jacket is a very good reason not to like him, NOT! Not accepting someone because of their clothes also follows the definition of intolerance.
Intolerance is bullying, plain and simple. Throughout the ages, people unwilling to accept others for their beliefs, actions and even clothing or hairstyles has resulted in many of the human catastrophes which have taken place throughout mankind’s history. It has taken intolerance towards me for something some might call trivial, to me it wasn’t, to make me more tolerant of others, especially in the field of hair and clothing.
To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1473101724&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird