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Like Father, like Son

By Rob Diaz-Marino

As the father passes along his feeling of hatred toward other nationalities,
The young son smiles and laughs.
In time, he is able to add on
A couple of criticisms of his own,
No matter how simple and ill-thought they may be.

As the son grows older,
He continues to laugh about his father's generalizations,
But gradually, perhaps, this laughter becomes more out of embarrassment
Than out of true hatred toward these people.
He begins to acknowledge
That there is something terribly wrong with his father's reasoning.

The father continues his cursing,
Enjoying the mutual enemy that he has created
For him and his son.
It gives them
A certain camaraderie,
As do all people feel when united against a foe.
But these people who are discriminated against
Are not the antagonists.

All they want to do is live
Without being criticized or judged
By their skin color,
Or any other petty, yet visible difference
That make bigots hate and fear them,
Or form a negative opinion of them before the racist
Even knows who they are.

And one day, when the son is grown up,
And the father, searching for a scapegoat
Attacks, physically or verbally, one of these innocent people,
Either the son is there
To stay his hand
Or to lend him one.

We can only pray the boy has chosen sensibly,
And escaped the potentially dangerous cycle:
"Like Father, like Son".

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© 2000 Rob Diaz-Marino. All rights reserved.