“Civil Rights isn’t always civil,” as said in the movie “Hidden Figures.” Americans have come far in how we treat one another, but it’s never been easy. I remember stories I heard from older people when I was a child. Everyone was introduced by a label, their skin color, or their country of ancestry, and don’t get me started on blonde jokes.

Some labels were meant to mess with your cranky neighbor or brother-in-law. But many were meant to hurt, belittle and limit the rights and freedom of those who were different. Differences make us afraid. We can talk ourselves into doing and saying awful things when we feel like we need to protect ourselves.

No one has ever handed over civil rights without a fight. And we are not done when any group has to remind those in power that they deserve equality. A majority that uses its power to harm the minority is not sustainable.

Politics is not supposed to be a part of polite conversation, but if we don’t start talking about the harm being done, no amount of manners will save what is left of equality in this country.

Look at people behind their labels.

Benjamin Nelson, Beaver Dam

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