Friday, August 17, 2012

Musing on Hate

Hate is a loaded word. When I "hate" I'm thinking of something I absolutely abhor to the point of pain. Or rage; fury. I was raised that "I hate you" means "I'm so fucking mad at you that I want to hurt you." My sister took that phrase in a different way. As a result, I try very hard to get that word out of my vocabulary, but there is one time where I will use it.

Hate is racism. Hate is heterosexism. Hate is fat-phobia, ablism, agism... any -ism that places a person in a position of superiority over another. This picture popped up in my feed on Facebook and inspired this post today:

Courtney Blair holds a sign during National Same Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A on Richmond Avenue in support for love, equality, and the real definition of family Friday, Aug. 3, 2012, in Houston. (Cody Duty / Houston Chronicle) Photo: Cody Duty / © 2011 Houston Chronicle

Unfortunately, many people don't believe this. Their definition of "hate" is the traditional that involves strong emotions. They insist that since they are not feeling strong emotions, the word is not applicable.

That's semantics.

It's a simpler word to describe an idea that is prevalent throughout human history. Just because you have never perpetrated a legally defined Hate crime does not mean that you have not perpetuated the ideas, beliefs and motives that cause them.

We're not talking about the emotion. We're talking about "separate but equal." We're talking about discrimination. We're talking about making second class citizens in a country that is supposed to be free of such things. We're talking about saying that a family that is dissimilar to your own is not a family worthy of the same rights.

You cannot say that someone else's family is making yours lesser by its existence and legal recognition. You are making their family lesser by attempting to do so. You have become the problem. You may not have beaten the gay boy in the halls, but something you are saying was once said to the bullies that did.

Racism is a pervasive parasite in this culture that is still rampant today, if not as visible if you're white. I have plenty of mixed-race families or ethnic minority families that are my friends and when I hear about their children having Hate words thrown at them... it makes me rage.

If you've ever read the Help (regardless of your feelings of the "Mammy" feel) and just wanted to punch those women in the face as they sat there with their separate-but-equal 'acceptable racism' / 'social racism' comments, but turned around and said that gay people should just agree to 'civil unions' regardless of what their religion says about gay marriage (deal with the wiki link, it was a fast, easy collection) is the exact same thing. We just haven't been raised to think that way... yet.

I'm not talking about those of you who think the government should not be a part of marriage at all. You guys go to your Libertarian happy place. That is not how this country works. Marriage has been a civil right and a religious rite for its entire existence in every religion and country in which it is practiced. Saying that it's exclusive to Christianity ignores that it existed in countries where Christianity had not reached or was outright banned (such as Japan in the feudal ages). Saying that the government should not be involved is... Well, it's not logical. I do agree that the government should make no laws dictating the romantic pairings between consenting adults.

It doesn't click in the minds of those practicing the discrimination that that is what they are doing. I get that. You don't consider yourself part of the problem because you don't have negative feelings about gay people or their "lifestyle" (or worse, "choice"). You don't want anything bad to happen to them and you don't condone the violence (or, some people, at least not out loud) done to them. You just don't want 'them' to be allowed to marry.

That is a very similar thought process to those who didn't want 'them' marrying 'outside their kind' back in the 50s (interracial relationships). Interfaith relationships have also been deemed 'wrong' by various churches.

Children learn these ideas and they process them, then regurgitate them to their peers. The first time I heard the word "homosexual" it was preceding the word "wrong." It was by a peer. I internalized it. I played homophobic. I parroted my peers because I had never even come across the concept, really. Sure, two chicks kissed on Roseanne. I didn't understand it. I didn't understand why I wanted to kiss other girls. But because something about me was Wrong, I immediately buried it and learned very quickly the amount of vitriol my peers had for 'that kind of people.'

That's right. The exact same words used by racists. I heard sentiments that ranged from 'they just need God to fix them' to 'they should all die.' By my friends. While I struggled in confusion, wondering how God could make me Wrong. So I told God to go fuck Itself and became an atheist.

It made me so miserable. It wasn't right. It wasn't who I was and it wasn't what I believed. Eventually, I realized that these people were not speaking for God. I wasn't listening to God, I was listening to brainwashed children recite what they believed God had said/felt.

These children I went to school with are now probably parents. My children will not be exposed to theirs if I can help it. Regardless of their sexual orientations, they will not grow up to be bigots. And yes, wanting 'separate but equal' (or worse) treatment of someone else makes you a bigot.

Those sentiments trickle down from marriage into any relationships. And your child could very well be gay. Or their cousin, best friend or just a classmate. And they hear you.

Who knows how many of these children heard those very things from their parents or other loved ones:

lesbian suicide
What do we all have in common?
We loved. We felt happiness and pain,
but more pain than happiness.
We all took our own lives.


  1. Thanks for fighting the good fight, Heather. Sometimes I think I need to raise some kids of my own entirely because I don't trust other people with the next generation.


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