(This started as a facebook status update, but I couldn't actually fit it into 420 characters, so it became a note, and then I thought I'd cross post it over here.)
I had a friend at Yearly Meeting who told me the second year i saw her (6th grade) quite seriously, that her mother had come out as a lesbian, and so it was okay if i didn't like her anymore. I honestly don't think I had any idea what that meant, so all I could tell was that this was clearly something that had been an issue already in her life, and I couldn't tell why it mattered what her mom was, when it wasn't her mom I was friends with. I still don't understand. A few years later, one of my friends was in tears because when she had gone to the movie with her younger siblings, she had been harassed by other *kids* our ages because her father was the Imam at the penitentiary. So far as I remember they didn't dress different, didn't talk differently, nothing. The only even somewhat visible thing was her father's job. Her *father*. Not her.
If you want to make fun of me because I have redhair, that's fine. Not okay, but you know, at least it's personal. If you want to make fun of me because I am smart, because I wouldn't stand for the pledge, because I never said the phrase under god when I said it, because I don't believe in any god, let alone yours, those things are all about *me*. If you make fun of me because my father is a geographer? How does that make sense? What does it accomplish? I should go home and tell my father he needs to have a different career?
Now, with 20 years experience, I look at these things and see it is a parent passing hate down to their kids and letting them pass it on. Your father can't insult my father for being a geographer (I don't want to brag, but my father's fairly unembarassable about his love of rocks.), due to a combination of social norms and the fact that my father could totally beat up your father. So instead he passes the hate down to you, and you says hurtful things to me. Kids will be kids, after all. Who knows where they get these ideas. I do! I know.
Stop saying things in front of your kids you wouldn't say in front of the person, and for that matter, stop saying things in front of people that you wouldn't say in front of anyone who can hold you accountable for it. There are so many things in this world available to hate, at least raise your children to choose their own hatreds. If your hatred is a fair one, they'll figure it on their own.