Ready for the next round Mary Henkel Judson
At the age of seven, I found out about discrimination based on religion. At 16, I found out what it was like to be discriminated against because of appearance. At 20, I found out what it was like to be discriminated against because of race. At 23, I felt what it was like to be discriminated against because of gender. At 55, and because I am self-employed, I have yet to learn about age discrimination.
John F. Kennedy was running for President in 1960, and he was a Catholic. I was a Catholic, and even at seven, I understood that Kennedy's religion was an issue that meant some people would not vote for him. I sensed that being Catholic might somehow be a bad thing - or at least not "normal."
When I was 16, "they" were looking for contestants for the Miss Refugio County pageant, but I was not one they were looking for. I looked like a polka-dot pencil (I was liberally sprinkled with freckles and could walk in a rainstorm and not get wet), and I had red hair. Tan, curvey blondes and brunettes, preferably with blue eyes, were the ideal contestants, and that left me out.
At 20, I spent a semester at what was then Texas A&I University in Kingsville where I repaired the damage of partying away my first year-and-a-half at what was then Southwest Texas State University (seniors: do not do this). At A&I, a representative of the Mexican- American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) came into my anthropology class and addressed himself to the Mexican-American students. I wondered if I should stick my index fingers in my ears and say to myself, "La-la-la-la-la-la," so I wouldn't hear what he had to say. Instead, I listened.
The MALDEF man said that the University of Houston Bates School of Law had not met its quota of minority students, and he was there to help Mexican-Americans who had not passed law school entrance exams get into law school. I didn't qualify on either count, but made a note to check out any lawyer I hired in the future who might be a graduate from that school in the late 70s. They might be Mexican-Americans who didn't make the grade, but were pushed through to meet a quota.
When I was a 23-year-old newlywed, Murray and I moved to my hometown to take over operation of the local newspaper that my parents had published since 1963. First crack out of the box, my family's insurance agent, who Murray and I contracted to carry our homeowner's insurance, sent us a letter addressed to "Murray Judson, et al." Whoa there, buddy boy. I am not "et al," and that agent heard about it in no uncertain terms.
In those days, everyone charged everything - and not on a credit card. You'd go into the local dress shop and sign (or not - they knew you) a charge ticket. At the end of the month, you received a statement. It was that way at the pharmacy, the hardware store and even the gas station (full service back then).
So, I go to the pharmacy and charge cigarettes, gum, birth controls pills - I don't remember. I blacked out.
"What's your husband's name?"
My husband? He's not in the building. He's not charging anything. For all they know, he could be a serial killer. I was in the building. I was doing the charging, and they knew damn well I wasn't a serial killer.
Why in the name of flying pigs do they need to know his name?
Because he was a man (that could be safely assumed in 1976 in Refugio, Texas).
I'm ready for the next round - age discrimination. I think I'll take my cue from an audio that was circulated via e-mail a few years ago.
A man gave an eyewitness account via cell phone of a fender-bender in which an elderly woman's vehicle was struck by a vehicle driven by a middle-age man. The elderly woman proceeded to get out of her car and furiously beat the man about the face and head with her with her purse. Bam! Ba-bam-bam-bam! Bam! Ba-bam-bam-bam! Wappity-wappity-wap-wap- BAM!
My kinda woman.