Monday, May 13, 2019

I went to Dunstan Middle School in Lakewood, Colorado. Two miles down the road was Carmody Middle School. They were our rivals. We referred to them as "Comedy" Middle School. We jeered and mocked them, and they did the same to us ("Dumbstan" Middle School). I attended Green Mountain High School. Our neighboring rival schools were Wheat Ridge and Golden and Bear Creek. Sometimes fights would occur when young men from the rival schools encountered each other.

As I drove around my old neighborhood today, I found myself wondering: where did these antagonistic rivalries come from? Who invented them? We kids seemed to just absorb them via osmosis. You heard others disparage Carmody or Wheat Ridge and you naturally fell in line and did likewise, never really pondering the ridiculousness of it all--that someone was the enemy because their parents bought a house two miles down the road. 

That pattern infused the lives of many of my peers. Broncos vs. Raiders. Chevy vs. Ford. Coors vs. Budweiser. Whites vs. Blacks vs. Hispanics. Christianity vs. Islam. America vs. everyone else. Disparaging jokes about women, about gay people, about people with disabilities. We were indoctrinated into always seeking a "them" that we could look down upon, feel antagonistic toward, make fun of. How and why is this fostered? What is the societal benefit? What is the need within the human heart that this feeds? These were my ponderings today as I drove through my old neighborhood, past Dunstan Middle School.