Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hate in this Country

I try to be an optimist. Sometimes it is hard. In terms of civil rights I was not alive in the 50s or turbulent 60s. I was not a college student during Vietnam or during the other now famous student movements. I was not alive during the start of the homophile or gay rights movement (post Stonewall). I was not a Freedom Rider, or a member of SNCC, I was not a part of Act Up, I here in my room, watching Countdown with Keith Olbermann. I am not an active member of any activist groups. I am not going to say I don't care or do my part. There are days when it get hard to be an optimist. These days are here now.

It is extremely saddening that there is so much hate in this country. So much hate. In NYC there is so much hate directed at our Muslim sisters and brothers. There is homophobia. There is so much hate against immigrants that some are discussing changing the Constitution!!!! I we cannot forget racism and sexism and discrimination/oppression in general. We're fighting two wars and more seem likely. There is so much hate.

     As Americans, as people living in America, as people reading this abroad, where is the love? Why can't we think critically about it. The people who want a Muslim Cultural Center in Manhattan are NOT terrorists, and as Americans are INNOCENT until proven guilty. Just because Muslim terrorists killed many (on American soil) does not mean that all Muslims are our enemy. (Christian Churches were not banned after McVeigh and he was a Christian.) American Muslims deserve the same rights as Americans who are atheists, Christians, Jewish, Hindus, Santeros, Pagans, agnostics, etc. If this country is anything it is a nation, where you can choose whether to believe in a deity/deities or not, a nation that is "Indivisible with liberty and justice for all"!
      Some lesbians and gay men want to marry each other (not all LGBT people want to get married just like not all straight people don't). Straight people do not want to marry gays so why can't we marry who we love, who we want to marry regardless of their sex?  Think about it. Don't be clouded by your religious views, your ideas of morality or the fact that people are telling you to hate gays. Why can't we get married? Don't say marriage is sacred because currently it's not. Celebrities, politicians, and others in the public eye as well as everyday Americans have divorced (sometimes days after a marriage), re-married, cheated, killed their spouse etc. I'm not saying gays will fix this but don't say as an American institution it is sacred. According to Balanced Politics dot org the nay for same-sex marriage has these arguments:
  • It would further weaken the traditional family values essential to our society.
  • It could provide a slippery slope in the legality of marriage (e.g. having multiple wives or marrying an object could be next).
  • The gay lifestyle is not something to be encouraged, as a lot of research shows it leads to a much lower life expectancy, psychological disorders, and other problems. 
We currently have many types of families in the US and gay families exist regardless of the legality of gay marriage. Gays getting married, monogamy, loving homes for children if the couple wants? Sounds kind of traditional. Slippery slope? I love this argument because of how nonsensical it is. Gay marriage will lead to polygamy and marriages with animals? What? Seriously? Gays and lesbians are asking to marry one partner. Many couples have actually been together decades just with each other. And animals or objects are not legal people and cannot sign a document so that cannot happen.The last point is the research. Lower life expectancy? Disorders? Problems? Maybe because gays but LGBT individuals as a group face so much discrimination, some being kicked out of their homes, etc. Being told by the media they must fit these stereotypes or tell them what they 'are' that they are bad/evil people. This stress leads to unhealthy activities. 
"Smoking prevalence for men in the LGBT community is about 50% higher than that of men in the general community.  (27.4% vs. 19.1%) Smoking prevalence for women in the LGBT community is almost triple that of women in the general community.(32.5% vs. 11.9%) Within the LGBT community, young adults 18-24 have the highest smoking prevalence (43.7%)". 
 This data comes from the California LGBT Tobacco Education Partnership. This is just one stat. Also "a startling 20-40% of GLBT youths attempt suicide (Li Kitts 264)" from Kathryn Cooke. Still sound like a choice? I don't think so.See where our 'problems' come from? I hope so!
     No one in the United States should say immigrants need to leave unless they are willing to pack their bags. (Except Native Americans/the Indigenous peoples of the Americas because they were the first people here). Every white American, Black American/African-American, Latino, Asian, Middle Easterner, African, Afro-Caribbean, and on is an IMMIGRANT or the descendant of one no matter now far back you go. Check out this scene from Gangs of New York:

We have always had people in this country who felt they were better than (newer) immigrants. The reason we are being so cruel and hateful enough to attempt to repeal or revise a Constitutional amendment is because the economy is very bad right now AND because there is a strong anti immigrant sentiment. Changing the Constitution is not easy (and it shouldn't be):

but that doesn't mean that we should not be afraid of these threats. We should and we should change that fear into the will and strength to change the system. We have to fight for equality because it will not be given to us. We cannot wait. We must deal with immigration, LGBT equality, anti-racism, feminism, and education as well as the economy.

There are some who say that the discussion of immigration has nothing to do with race and that laws like SB1070 but it is about race and the way the conversation goes is steeped in race. Please see Racism Review's post by Jessie Daniels called Frontiers of Racism: Anti Immigrant Bigotry. The video is great in that it ties the discussion of race and immigration together. In the closing the video discusses coalition building and I have written about it. We must work together! We must start now!

Fight the Power!

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