Snobbishness was a Greater Offense than Prejudice
by Regis Boff
I grew up on one of the many hills surrounding the city of Pittsburgh. We were all bigots and racists. Every large ethnic or racial group that lived in Pittsburgh had a hill of its own. It was the result, I presume, of the national game of musical chairs we play with America’s homesteading immigrants. Timid masses huddle on the first space they can find, whispering to each other in their native language while praying for the English language to become decipherable to them in time.
Our pure little villages stood like bearded goats on these hilltops, each confident that their summit was closer to whatever they believed was above them. There are no hills for women even today because they distribute equally, and none set aside for gays and lesbians because they did not yet exist.
Class envy, of course, existed, but nobody had very much of that. We were all kind of lower class and fighting about so little would have just proven demoralizing. No, the best playing fields for prejudice lay in the fertile areas of skin color and accent.
It was a time when snobbishness was a greater offense than prejudice. Go figure. Nowadays conceit is confused with strength and bigotries are like little homicides.