Building Bridges, Not Walls Part Two: An Educational Experience

Building Bridges, Not Walls Part Two: An Educational Experience #life #bridges #tolerance #acceptance

Racial and Religious Prejudice

One of the themes of my novel, The Healer’s Miraculous Discovery, deals with racial and religious prejudice and hatred. These were themes that dominated the 1960s when the story takes place. At the time, despite the problems, there was a feeling that things were getting better, and we were dealing with our problems.

Fast forward to today, and you have to wonder if we really have dealt with intolerance. We are increasingly seeing it shamelessly bubble to the surface without the outrage it should generate. I’ve seen it firsthand and described some experiences in The Healer, but for me, there’s one outrageous incident that demonstrates the sheer stupidity of it all.

An Educational Experience

I was in my first job, right out of graduate school, in a small hospital in Northeast Ohio. My boss, the COO, decided that one of the best ways to train this new rookie was to assign me to the Human Resources Department so I would get to know that area of the hospital’s operations.

After a few weeks, I was working on a project to recruit a new secretary for the administrative offices, and a resume came in that looked perfect. The person had been in a similar position with a major (Fortune 500) company in our area, and she was looking for a change.

I called the candidate, and when she came in, I was struck by her poise, and to be honest, she was young and gorgeous! We sat down in the office, and I proceeded to review her credentials. She seemed to be perfect for the job, when I then asked a seemingly innocent question, “Why are you leaving your old job and looking for a change?”

Her answer stunned me. “The G-damn Jews! The whole place was full of them. It was awful. I couldn’t stand them.”

I wasn’t just offended on a personal level (being Jewish), I could not believe the words I was hearing out of her mouth.

I remember wanting to leap over the desk to grab her by the throat as she kept up the tirade, but instead, I grabbed the edge of my desk and sat, trying to collect my thoughts.

Building Bridges, Not Walls Part Two: An Educational Experience #life #bridges #tolerance #acceptance

After about a minute of this, I thanked her for her time, told her we would get back to her about her application, and rose to infer that it was time for her to leave. She just kept going on until I walked out of the office.

To this day, I really don’t think she ever realized what she had done. I tore up her application.

Tolerance Is The Lesson

For me, it was just one incident, but it illustrates how truly pervasive intolerance, prejudice, and hatred are in our society. You never know when you will encounter it.

Sometimes it’s subtle, and sometimes it hits you in the face.


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The Healer’s Miraculous Discovery is highly recommended for libraries looking for crossovers between sci-fi and fictional representations of personal and social change. Its plausible possibilities create many insights and reflections that readers won’t see coming.”

Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review 

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