You Might Be a Hypocrite if…

A couple of weeks ago, a friend called me a hypocrite because, for a few hours, I didn’t want to focus on someone else’s problems.

I am, after all, a social worker. Not only has my career been dedicated to ” being the change I seek in the world,” but my profession follows me into my personal life like a hungry dog seeking a treat.

Sometimes I believe there is a permanent thought bubble hovering over my head that says “Talk to me – I care.”

Just this week, a man stopped my daughter and me while we were out walking our dog. He wanted to tell me about a dog he used to have. The conversation quickly turned to his life as a young African-American man growing up in the projects of Baltimore in the 1970’s and about the racism he experienced.

Fifteen minutes later, my daughter and I said goodbye to him. As we walked away, Kendall, simply asked, “Complete stranger?”

I nodded in affirmation.

Here’s the thing: I care about people. I care about other people a lot. I hate injustice. I can’t stand putting profit over people. And I abhor when religion or national origin or the ability to speak English are used as excuses to discriminate.

But here’s the other thing: I’m human. I have my own issues, insecurities, and  flaws. I can be self-centered and insensitive. I actually get tired of hearing about everything that is wrong with the world when I’m struggling with my own problems. And yes, at times I can be hypocritical.

But there is a big difference between having a bad moment or a bad day and living life as a hypocrite.

At least I think there is. I certainly hope I’m not fooling myself. Because, from what I can tell, the worst offending hypocrites completely fail to see any hypocrisy in their words or behavior.

Which is why I’m more than willing to share a few simple examples I’ve recently observed.

You might be a hypocrite if…

  • You use drugs recreationally but publicly shame addicts.
  • You claim to follow the teachings of Christ then post negative messages about Muslims on social media.
  • You complain about how vulgar our society has become but voted for a presidential candidate who boasted about molesting women.
  • You constantly complain about paying taxes yet received a college education thanks to the GI bill, are enjoying a substantial pension from a government job, and expect your highways and public roads to be pot-hole free.
  • You spent years making negative statements and sharing outright lies about our country’s former president then display self-righteous indignation about any criticism of our current president.
  • You are an elected official who says you are voting in the best interest of your constituents when you are actually voting based on party politics and raising millions of dollars for your re-election campaign from special interest groups and corporations.
  • You complain about lazy people who depend on tax payer support then, when you lose your job, complain that the SNAP (food stamp) benefits you receive aren’t sufficient.

This is far from a comprehensive list, but to be honest, I doubt the people I am writing about will read these words anyway. And even if they do, they probably won’t recognize themselves.

But I had to write all of them anyway – including the ones about my own imperfections.

As the saying goes, “I would rather be known in life as an honest sinner than as a lying hypocrite.”

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About Trina Bartlett

I live in the Eastern Panhandle of WV, with one dog, two cats, a daughter in high school, a son starting his latest adventures at West Virginia University and a husband who works strange hours. When I'm not working as a director at a nonprofit social service organization or being a mom, I can generally be found riding my bike, walking my dog and stirring things up.

Posted on August 6, 2017, in My life, people, perspective and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Sandra Osbourn

    Aren’t we all? BTW. I enoyed reading about the appalachian trip. Great idea.

  2. I agree with everything but the taxes, the GI Bill and government pension. In my world, which is different from others, the GI Bill and pension were benefits earn for a sacrifice someone was willing to make. Folks sometimes forget that just because a veteran didn’t serve in a war zone recently they weren’t in harms way or made sacrifices in their lives so we can enjoy what we call freedom. Other than that, I wear the same name tag you do my friend

    • I’m not saying here is anything wrong with those benefits. My point is they are only available because taxes pay for them. If people didn’t pay taxes, they wouldn’t be available.

  3. I may be a hypocrite, I am not color blind and I don’t label friends by color. The government started all the color labels long before I was born. The other day I heard some girls saying, “Oh, she’s that old white woman that lives down the street.” Ok, but white is an albino which I am not. I don’t ask to be called German American because I am more than that. I am an AMERICAN! You may be African American but first, you are AMERICAN. If you don’t want to be an American then I don’t know why you still want to live here. I don’t have to call my Chinese friends Chinese American when I introduce them to someone, I say this is “my friend….” What is the matter with the black children today that they must correct everyone and say I am African American? Who cares if you’re black you are still my friend, you are still a woman, girl, or grandmother that I call my friend. I don’t know why I felt insulted by them calling me that old white woman, maybe it was the word old I don’t know. Can’t we all just be people instead of colors? I was insulted once by a friend introducing me to some of her other friends, as “my friend that is the other color.” Needless to say, we did have words later on about that subject and I seldom see her anymore.

    • I’m not sure why you are focused on race when this is about so much more. However, I think that as Americans we have to continue to address issues of race. People of color have a much different history than those of people who came over on the Mayflower. That history has shaped the opportunities they have and haven’t had. The issue of race has divided families and even our country. Racism still exists in our country. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. I don’t think anyone’s identity should be solely tied up in their color or nation or origin or religion any more than it should be tied their economic status or the neighborhood where they live. But our color, along with our gender, our religion, our profession, our nationality, our education, and our experiences are all part of whom each of us is.

  4. Well said, Trina!

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