It was a safe and fun place for the kids and – remember I understand Spanish, too – not once did anyone say “Hey, look at the dork chick reading a book,” much less “let’s beat her up.”One of the things I think the educated class is blind about is how much they do the things they have developed theories to reject. I attended a conference once at which the question of veterans in the classroom came up. Mostly the academics there who were prone to think of war as something so outside the world they could imagine for themselves that anyone who had been must be changed beyond what they could imagine a human being to be. Two of them especially, both of them feminist academics, traded in bald stereotypes about how anyone who had been to war was a ticking time bomb of PTSD and hate. It was exactly the kind of refusal to empathize with and offensive stereotyping of the 'other' that they've doubtless published articles about when the 'other' is women or people of color. These are people who think of themselves as at the forefront of human morality, the leading edge that is pushing everyone else to moral advancement.
In fact, it wasn’t till we could afford as a treat, to go to Waterworld, a playground for children in our own “class” in terms of parental education that we found people were rude and made horrible remarks. (Not unexpected in feral children raised mostly in daycares, but a shock, nonetheless.)
They were entirely blind to the fact that they were doing it. They were also shocked to realize that someone who had been to Iraq was in the room, and entirely put off by my suggestion that younger academics who really wanted to understand war could find a recruiting office down the street. You'd think I had suggested they join a cult or host an orgy... well, actually, both of those suggestions would probably have been more palatable to them.