I have seen many violent acts in my life: school-yard bullying, violence in city streets, war, bar fights… you name it, you can find evidence of it sprinkled over every person in the world. Hatred has become the norm for people expressing themselves. If people disagree with you, just yell and bite and scratch until they concede. Violence between straights and homosexuals, men and women, and Caucasians and just about everyone else is the new version of a discussion. Who thinks that is the mature response?
When I was younger, I was taught that getting into fights on the school yard is an immature way to express one’s emotions. But how do we expect to teach our children (or younger siblings) the proper way to deal with problems when we are such poor examples ourselves? We have a disagreement with another country and suddenly we mobilize, killing innocents on every side. Robbery and murder make the streets unsafe to walk at night and bullying forces people to kill themselves. Has anyone stopped and taken a look at our society recently? I only ask because I do not see too many people trying to put a stop to it.
The suicides you have read about in the news are nothing new; people have been killing themselves for years now. The only difference is that these suicides happened so close to each other, and people cannot turn a blind eye. That does not make the situation now anymore dire than before, nor does it make the past any less grim. People need to learn to deal with differences in a more mature, intelligent manner. Instead of beating people who are slightly different or creating difficulties on airplanes for people who have a dissimilar religious view than you, we should engage in a dialogue to enlighten everyone else of your views. People fear what they do not know, so why not take away the mystery?
I know that I am not saying anything new; everyone says we should become more tolerant of everyone else. However, I am placing the blame for these violent crimes on everyone who has never raised his or her voice against oppression or violence. I am saying that the silence we have created speaks much louder than the people who are actually speaking out. We have formed a society based upon apathy toward fellow humans. There have been numerous cases where people have walked past rapes or people bleeding out on the street. This apathy is going to kill our society.
Look at the leaders we have elected to control our country and you will see the damage done. Disregarding the senseless war we are in right now (and no matter what anyone says, we are not out of that war yet. People are still dying.), there are countless examples of violence and hatred in our elected officials, from senators to school board officials.
Within the past few days, Clint McCance, a member of the Arkansas school board, posted to his Facebook page: “Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers killed themselves. The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed thereselves because of their sin. REALLY PEOPLE.” And this is the type of person we put charge of our children? Besides the obvious grammatical and spelling errors, it is also clear that his blinded viewpoints facilitate anger and violence toward the gay community.
So this is my call to arms. I understand the irony, but if individuals will not stand up themselves, then maybe they need someone to tell them that it is time. I know that I do not want my baby sister growing up in a world where it is unsafe to be anything but a straight, Christian, Caucasian male. I cannot imagine that any of you would want that for your own siblings or children. What happens when they grow older and get persecuted? Or maybe they will be mistaken for a minority group and killed for someone’s misunderstanding. So talk to anyone—everyone—who will listen. Because until we accept everyone, our world will be divided, and I know that I, for one, do not want to die because of someone else’s bigotry.