But what happens when women are the offenders? Barbara Bush toured the Houston Astrodome in September of 2005, walking amongst the evacuees of hurricane Katrina. She was quoted as saying:
Almost everyone I've talked to says we're going to move to
Houston. . .What I'm hearing which is sort of scary is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them.
Bush's comments and the lack of public outrage over them says this to me: You can expect to be held accountable and quite possibly ruin your career for your offensive comments if you are male and insult Jews, African-Americans, and homosexuals, but rude comments made by a woman that offend the poor only stirs a small ripple. If you are a wealthy, privileged woman, then your words won't be held against you. There are no financial implications to someone to whom money is not an issue.
I applaud a new sense of propriety, a return to manners, these days. We live in a time where people are aware of others around them. I like it when drivers motion for me to pull ahead at intersections, say thank you when I help them at work, and hold the door for me as I struggle with bags when leaving a store. But I think Americans need to remember that in one of the wealthiest countries of the world, the poor continue to remain poor. We should be embarrassed and apologetic about this, but we are not. It goes beyond chivalry. It's just people helping other people, without worry of how it will affect us financially.