Dear Red Hats,
I’m sorry. What can I say? There’s no excuse. I must confess. I’m a hatist. Confession is the first step on the road to redemption and I need to be redeemed. My understanding of my Spiritual discipline (Christianity), which many who wear you also profess, teaches that there is no fear in Love and that the one who fears has not been made perfect in Love because perfect Love casts out fear. That’s why I need to get past this tendency to clinch up whenever I see one of your kind. Besides wanting to live into my profession of faith, I know the discipline also advocates love over judgment and I don’t want to judge all red hats because of what I’ve heard about other red hats. The fact is I don’t have any personal experience with red hats. I haven’t even had one in my house. Historically, red just hasn’t been my color. Maybe if I wore red hats in the past I would not make assumptions about all red hats now. I guess it’s just the human thing to do–prejudge what we don’t have exposure to. I think it’s survival instincts. But I know we can do better. I know I can do better and I want to be part of the change. So here it goes.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I was in a public place recently and when I saw a red hat walk in I started looking for an exit. My first thought was, “I didn’t expect to see a red hat here.” I then began to waste several minutes trying to inconspicuously take a peak at the front of the hat to see if it was “one of those” red hats. Imagine how I felt to discover that the words on the hat were in a language I could not identify. I didn’t even know what to look up on Google translate. Now you would have thought that would have made me less nervous, but instead I tried to will myself to understand the language. On top of that, I found myself thinking, “Why would anyone from another country ever wear a red hat?” That’s when I knew I had a problem. From that day to this I’ve been trying to become “color blind”. My goal is to see all hats the same.
Admittedly I’m not there yet. I’m writing this because I just saw one of you. However, I am glad to report that, rather than clinch up, this time I just got into a mode of nonjudgmental curiosity and wonder. I think that’s a good beginning. I’ve come to see that I still have a lot to learn about red hats. My hope is that one day I’ll just see a hat that’s just trying to get a head like every other hat. And who knows, maybe one day the red hatters will realize that the same is true for other hats. But to get there, I know it’s going to take us making many intentional small steps toward each other. For now I’m just grateful that I’ve come a long way from seeing you and thinking “white hoods”. I know that might still be a hatist statement. But in my defense, I think we live in a hatist society. So please be patient with me as I learn to live by the tenet that all hats are created equal.
Looking a head to a better future.