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Marilee J. Layman

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09:13 pm: Unusual Assistance Animals and My Reflexive Racism
Let's take the last first -- I was reading an old WashPost last night and my eye caught on a concert by the Blind Boys of Alabama at DAR Constitution Hall. My reflexive thought was that the Daughters of the American Revolution must not have known the Blind Boys were also black men. And then I realized that the DAR admitted black women in 1984. When Marian Anderson's manager tried to book her in the Hall in 1939, she was not allowed (and sang standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial) and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, plus thousands of others, quit the DAR. The DAR didn't officially change their whites-only policy for performers until 1952. So it was a long time, and even if I qualified, I wouldn't want to join, but they do allow not only black, but Hispanic and Native Americans, as long as their lineage meets the qualifications. Still, my mind thinks of them as racist, which is racist in itself.

This is the blog of a writer who has a very interesting NYT article (linked in the blog) about unusual assistance animals. Guide horses (miniature), a parrot that helps keep a guy from being psychotic, and a monkey that lets an agoraphobic woman go outside, for example. She has some additional video and pictures in the blog post that are as interesting as the NYT article.

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From:dd_b
Date:January 4th, 2009 04:00 am (UTC)
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Well, prejudice against a group like the DAR isn't "racism" that I can see; but it's some other form of bigotry, at least.

Then again, I have a definite disrespect for Nazis, and I'm not sure I want to categorize it as "bigotry". Voluntary association groups with a philosophical position can, it seems to me, be disliked / despised / hated quite appropriately and properly.

The DAR, like Christianity, is an interesting borderline case. It's a voluntary association, so the members can reasonably be blamed (or praised) for their association. I don't know that the DAR has many official political positions these days; and Christianity covers such a huge range that it's fairly useless as a predictor of anything.
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From:mjlayman
Date:January 4th, 2009 04:08 am (UTC)
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We hear about them a lot more in the DC area, and even black high schools hold graduations there now, so I should be able to at least get rid of the automatic response of racism.
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