Friday, February 23, 2007

Hate Is Not a Family Value

I don’t know how dislike or hate are manifested. I don't have a degree in psychology or sociology. I have opinions. However, before delving into those, I think I will spend some time recording some thoughts I have had of late.

My inner thoughts are not pure as the driven snow. I suspect they are not very different from others … I mean, how different are we really in our thoughts? Not like we’ll ever know, it’s really how we act on these thoughts and impulses that delineates us from each other.

I’m going to make some confessions … some public confessions that may expose me to ridicule, to some these confessions will be the height of hypocrisy, perhaps others will see themselves in these confessions. I don’t know. These confessions, these – not epiphanies, more like discordant voices – are my own. They belong to me, no one else. I imply nothing for anyone else.

I don’t understand why or how a person is gay. I find the idea of the homosexual sexual act between males repugnant. I find it less repugnant when females are involved and I find the idea of anal intercourse not repugnant at all when a woman and man are involved. Why is this? It’s not very flattering and I am ashamed that it is true. But it is true.

I have used the word faggot in anger, most recently to my younger brother, who is gay. We had an argument. It got heated and I said it. Calling him a faggot broke the tension and we both started laughing, yet it is a hurtful word. I have thought the word when I have seen a man whose appearance or actions were overly effeminate. I’ve thought other hurtful words regarding woman who looked overly mannish … I’ve likely verbalized them as well, though privately or with associates of mine in a joking manner. Why is this?

I am not proud of this.

I also confess to being less than charitable in my thoughts towards blacks, African-Americans, Afro-Americans, negroes, niggers … there are many other variations and I’ve thought them all (other than some vague regional variations that I may not have come in contact with). Just the fact there are so many variations convinces me that I am not alone with my disturbing thoughts. I have been cut-off by a black person while driving on the highway and have used that really awful phrase … damn nigger. I have assumed that a person driving like an idiot was a nigger, only to find it was not true.

When walking in a mall, and I see a number of young black males walking toward me, I am usually more cautious and more prone to think that they are up to no good, or are lazy, or sell drugs, rape kill steal plunder … etc. Why is this?

I am not proud of this.

I do not find myself thinking thoughts such as these when regarding people of Asian descent nor people of Hispanic descent. I seem to have avoided that. Why is this?

So, there, I have said it. Now, the fact is I have many friends who are black. I enjoy their company and feel completely at ease with them. I don’t think of them as black. Ever. Just as friends. I have had black people over for supper, as guests, and have gone on outings with them. I dated a few beautiful black women … years ago. So why these thoughts?

As I mentioned earlier, I have a younger brother who is gay. I love him dearly. He’s a goofball and he would be the picture in a dictionary for the entry (if there were one) of a liberal looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. He does not read or listen to the news because of all the hateful things that are reported. He is always there to help, often when it has not been asked for … which can sometimes be very annoying. He’s a very loving and good person.

I have met numerous friends of his. One friend is somewhat confused about his-her-his sexuality … yes, I have seen this individual as a male and in the process of becoming a female. And then back again. It’s odd to me why. I don’t understand it and likely never will.

I have met homosexuals who are flamers, limp-wrested and who shake hands like Greta Garbo, you know, palm down with fingertips extended and quickly withdrawn. I’ve met others whom I would not want to meet on a football field for fear of being run over.

Where do these “uglinesses” come from. Certainly one is not born with these pre-determined within us. My seven-week old daughter harbors no prejudices towards gays or blacks. She cares only to be held, fed, changed, and nurtured in a loving way. My two other children, 11 and 6 years old are the same way. They have been brought up in a household that is accepting of others. They love my younger brother and they have black “uncles” who are very special to them.

I grew up in a time and geographical place which was more suspicious of blacks and dismissive of gays. There were none that lived near us. My father was very conservative (not a slap at conservatives, just a fact). His parents were the same. My grandmother could be very gracious if she met a black woman (very rare in the Fox Valley back then), but in the next breath would tell my little sister, upon hearing she was dating a person who was American Indian, that she did not want any black babies.

I remember Dad making derogatory comments about men who appeared a bit too “swishy,” and yet upon hearing one of his sons was gay, admitted that while he did not understand it, he still loved him. I’ve also heard him say similar vulgarities about blacks, usually when watching news on the television, and then be generous and gracious when meeting a black executive, even inviting him to our home.

It’s a weird world we live in.

It’s been a long journey from growing up in a place that only knew blacks existed on television, and gays did not exist, except in their closets. Change is always hard. I feel strongly that blacks still need assistance in gaining equality in our society. I am equally saddened and appalled by the strife in our inner city. It’s easy to say that “they” need to take responsibility and pull themselves up by their bootstraps, without standing in those boots. For the vast majority of whites, the life of an inner city black kid is as foreign as the culture of a foreign land. Quite simply, blacks in our inner cities do not have the same opportunities as we have had. I cannot say with any kind of certainty what the answer is to the death and poverty in our inner city, yet so many think they can and do … but they say these things from a point of view that has no relation to the one they are commenting about. The same goes for homosexuals and the irrational assault on the wishes of many of them to enjoy the same rights as their countrymen, and marry the person they have fallen in love with.

It really comes down to fear. I was taught that somehow blacks and homosexuals were different. Their difference was what was feared. Only by teaching and raising our children in an atmosphere of love and respect will these fears be put to rest. Only then will my children … our children … not have to face the task of introspection and try to come to terms with the ugliness and anger that reside within.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. – Dalai Lama

3 Swings of the bat:

Billiam said...

Tim, welcome to the Human Race. Each and every one of us is subject to these feelings. Color matters not, nor does socio-economic position. We are all the same petty creatures inside. Yet, there is hope for us. Due to our (I believe God given) higher brain functions, as well as self examination, we can move beyond the ignorance of youth. People who are not "us" are threatening at first. One makes progress by facing and getting to know those who are not "us". We move beyond that pettiness, and have remorse at our foolishness. Again, it's part of being Human. In your case, a Lib, we can show our exceptional tolerance by being gracious! lol

Other Side said...

Hi Bill. I've been a member of the human race for all my life, but thanks.

My main point is that yes, we mostly all harbor these thoughts, it's how they are acted on. In that regard to many, color does matter. That's the shame.

The new code word for blacks used frequently in blogger circles is thugs. I am not convinced that the people who use this code word do not have deeper issues.

Billiam said...

You may be correct. Yet, a thug is a thug. I care not what color. So do we, in the interest of political correctness, not call criminals what they are? Do we leave out a persons ethnicity in a description of a wanted person so as not to offend anyone? I think not. The ones who transpose thug for nigger, are obvious. I don't think it serves society as a whole to hide from words. When ill-used, expose the mis-use, as well as the bigots. Don't remove the use of descriptors, when necessary, because of some mis-guided effort to not offend.