Oh yes, when those unfortunate events occurred I was in "Injun" territory - once in Oklahoma, once in Texas. I had a law-enforcement officer refer to me as "half-breed squaw" - which is a bad enough slur for anyone to endure - and I had a restaurant refuse to seat me amongst their "white" patrons. I'm just "ornery" enough that when it appears that I won't be incarcerated and later used for unreported abuse and assault, I tend to make just enough of an embarrassing fuss that the perpetrators usually won't make that mistake again. While the law enforcement officer got off with a slap on the wrist of his career, the hostess of the diner will probably rue the day she was publicly rude to her Southern neighbor for the rest of her natural life.
The general "gnastiness" of religious bigotry was something that I tried to shield my children from as soon as it became apparent that somewhere after President Carter left office, acts of religious intolerance were an accepted part and parcel of American life. A certain representative by the name of Bob Barr decided to make Paganism and its' eradication a personal windmill for his public tilting. His mistake was targeting my Wiccan friends up at Fort Hood and the Open Circle group. Not all actions taken against Rep. Barr were done publicly - they didn't and weren't supposed to be. Prayer does work, Mr. Barr - and not just for Christians. By the by....did that nasty rash on your ass ever clear itself?
The largest problem within any Pagan population is not the external attacks, humans tent to eat their own when things get tough and Pagans are just as human as anyone else claiming hominid derivation and evolution. This lesson was afforded me and my husband when, after a particularly bizarre spiritual experience, my husband announced to me that we were founding a teaching Grove. To sum up a very long and exhausting period of time, I now know that my first instinct to pack up the kids and leave him without a forwarding address may have been the right action, however, there is no doubt that the Universe would have schemed to teach me all the lessons accumulated by anyone whom offers pedagogy to the public as a whole at any time with any subject. I fully understand why the Druids practiced a unique form of elitism in their choice of student candidates, and this will remain a mystery to anyone else save for those that have attempted likewise. This is also why, I strongly believe, the door to the teacher's lounge was always locked. It was as much as to protect us from them as vice versa.
Thence we come to arrogance; sometimes intentional, sometimes a not-so-blatant way of shoving an unwanted social contact under the proverbial bus. I often wonder, if we completely tossed the political correctness of modernity out the window of "defunct-ness" and were bluntly honest with one another, would it not serve us better?
There is a place and time to be gentle with one another, then again there is a time when naked truth, although possibly painful, might serve a better and higher purpose. I often wish I could tattoo this personally held belief onto my forehead. For the sake of brevity, my husband joked, perhaps it would be best to permanently embellish "WYSIWYG" in the space above my eyebrows and below my graying hairline. The problem, I note, is reciprocity.
Is it not the same with all of the above?