The Hate Virus

I have, on occasion, said that I hate people. I do. My biggest issue is when people are in groups they take on a group persona as opposed to an individual attitude of a reasonable person. Everyone wants to feel liked, to feel like someone cares about them. Everyone wants to be right.

Every month marks 30 more days since Pulse. And every month I realize how much we’ve forgotten. People who cried or posted heartfelt Facebook statuses asking “why” are now the people arguing with others through social media or making fun of someone different from them with their friends.

I am not innocent, but at least I can admit to myself that I am perpetuating hate.

However, as humans, we won’t be able to move past that hatred. There are some of us who are honest and express our concerns about other people, but then there are the silent ones, who sit in the corner brooding and waiting for the moment they can just leave the conversation and never speak to these people again.

I want to believe there is good in people, I want to believe there’s a chance that someone will remember Pulse (like I do when I’m being hateful), and change their attitude.But I know in all honesty that’s not going to happen. Hateful people will always be hateful. They will always leave nasty notes on people’s cars just because of a pride sticker or presidential candidate, they will always call someone stupid because they don’t agree with them, they will always ignore them when they ask for help, they will always treat others in ways they would never want to be treated. And my heart breaks for their lack of remorse.

It was a little over 3 months ago that we as a city, a state, a country, and as humans stood together in support of love and against hate. But that sentiment has disappeared in favor of continuing with our lives and moving on while the families of those victims and the survivors will never be able to forget. We are lucky to be able to hate and continue on like nothing happened. At least until it happens to you.

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Perpetual Sadness with Spontaneous Outbreaks of Joy

I am legitimately tired.

I see everything that’s happened in the world and I am tired. I am tired of people, I am tired of humans, I am tired of us. All we are doing is killing each other. And no reason is a good reason to murder.

Obama was right, it’s not a black issue. But it’s also not an American issue. It’s a human issue. Dogs don’t walk around trying to kill other dogs because they don’t like the way their hair is cut, or what language they bark in, or which God they believe in. We don’t belong on this planet; we are roughage: taking up valuable living space for other beings that don’t kill for sport.

Besides just the senseless murders that have happened in the past 30 days, there’s more. There’s just simply being terrible, selfish people. Ignoring when someone needs help or turning away from something that shouldn’t be happening. We are to blame. As much as we’d like to say “it’s been like this for years and we cannot stop it”, we can. WE, not I. As a person, we can hashtag and cry and protest and fundraise and donate and volunteer, but as people, we should change. We won’t, but we should.

I’ll ask this again, who are we? Are we those people that hashtag a name and dedicate our Facebook to one cause while millions of people die miles away that we won’t even know about? Are we going to defend “Black lives matter” and yet ignore when police officers (who probably agree that black lives DO matter) are murdered in the streets?

We are matter. We will always be matter. And as living, breathing people, we matter now, but eventually we won’t anymore. Trayvon will be forgotten and commemorated through Wikipedia pages for our grandchildren. The 49 Pulse victims will be forgotten just like the 2,977 September 11 victims. We will forget as we age. We will forget to tell our children. They will learn in school about them and wonder, “How does this affect me?” We’ll plan parties, have birthdays, enjoy life, and forget, because that’s what we do.

Evolve. Make change. Not just by yourself but with others. Take the time to love someone who probably needs to be loved right now. Take time to enjoy the people around you because one day they could be gone.

Maybe, by some small chance, we can stop ourselves from ruining this world we’ve been gifted and never deserved.

Who are we?

In a time of tragedy, people show who they really are. I break them into three categories: those who are burdened, those who help, and those who are selfish.

After the devastating loss of life in my city, my home, Orlando, I couldn’t stay home. My mind was going so fast, I was confused, and all I could do was try to help in all the ways I could. When I finally stopped, it hit me. People have died, and they will never be able to come home. It’s then that I went home and cried myself to sleep.

I woke up and scrolled through social media, reading about mothers who lost their children, friends who were missing, and people hurting for the community. I got to a post where someone was upset a post of theirs was deleted from a Facebook Group regarding the event. As the night went on, more of these types of posts popped up. People claiming there are worst things to happen, expressing their opinion on gun control, promoting presidential candidates. Even a post going around claiming we should never leave our homes again because there could be another gunman.

Regardless if what you post is true, are you so selfish as to only care whether or not people will listen to you? These victims will never be able to express their opinions again, never vote again, never experience worse because this was their worst.

I won’t say I’m never selfish. I thought about staying home from work just to lie in bed and cry for every one who decided to go out on a Saturday night to have fun and never came home. But how much would they have loved to be in my position, to be able to wake up again, get dressed, and enjoy life.

So I pick myself, not just for myself but for them. I’ll go out to donate supplies, give blood, give money, I’d give it all because they can’t. And that’s what matters. Sitting behind a phone screen or computer worrying about whether someone read your stupid post about Trump or Isis, it doesn’t matter to those people who are suffering right now.

Why can’t we strive to be self-sacrificing? What are we doing to each other? Who are we?

 

Focusing on the hate of hate crimes

This year, social media and the news has exploded with racially motivated crimes, riots, and general hate around the United States. Much of the focus of these crimes have been about the races, sexual orientation, or beliefs of the people involved in the crimes, especially after the rash of police shootings that occurred earlier this year. Hate crimes seem to have risen in these recent years, even provoking folks to demand the Confederate Flag be taken down, despite its historical significance.

It feels like either people have a selective memory or they just want to imagine that hate and racism were never this bad in the 80s and 90s. Unfortunately, there are those minorities that have experienced real hate within their daily life and they can never forget, but they do become numb to the hate they see on television.

As a mixed race child, I dealt with prejudice throughout grade school. I grew up in a Mexican household and related mostly to those with my same background, despite my caramel color skin (which was darker than most Mexicans I met at the time). I tried my best to fit in with the Hispanics in my class, but most judged me before getting to know me. I was subjected to racial slurs, pet names like ‘negrita’, and being outcasted altogether. It was painful and, for years, I was ashamed of my skin color.

Despite the mention of my race, it really wasn’t the slurs that bothered me. It was the unprovoked hate they had for me before they knew me. Similar to the way the victims in Charleston were judged by another human as being unworthy to live the rest of their lives. But, regardless of race, hate is the true problem here in America.

It would be a great change to see the news broadcasted without mentioning races and leaving photos off of the screen. Ambiguity would show us the incredible amount of crime between human beings. As humans, we have so much in common but hate causes us to focus on the one item that makes us different. But as Americans, that one difference should be the thing that brings us together, not tear us apart.

Not Guilty…not so much…

This Saturday marked the end of the State vs Zimmerman trial here in Orlando, Florida. The case began small, from the city of Sanford then to the entire Central Florida area, then to the Nation. As a resident of Central Florida, the case of a 17 year old black “boy” murdered by a 30-something (I can’t be bothered to learn his actual age) mixed race Hispanic man only made Floridians, as a community, to feel like we are again at the butt of all the jokes.

Thank goodness Jodi Arias was from Arizona.

If the Casey Anthony fiasco was any representation of what was approaching with the Zimmerman case, Central Florida was in for another wild ride and we were not disappointed. With the whole nation, most especially the black community, eyeing that Sanford courtroom, our corner of the world became a petri dish representing the social climate of the United States of America in 2013. Attorneys Mark O’Mara and Don West, who represented George Zimmerman, spent most of the trial post week appearing on both national and local news and talk outlets to reiterate the lack of racial focus in the trial.

Wait, I’m sorry. This wasn’t a race issue?

Despite the fact that Zimmerman is half white, half hispanic, many in the community misidentify him as strictly white. In one case, I heard him referred to as a “Jew” due to his last name. Talk about racial profiling. The fact is that although racism is not as obvious as it had been with separate schools and water fountains, it still remains today and that bulge we swept under the carpet keeps tripping us along as we press through life. Racial stereotypes can’t disappear if we continue to perpetuate it. Rioting in response to a not guilty verdict…maybe not the most rational of responses.

In terms of law, the trial was not, in my opinion, a miscarriage of justice. The time and money wasted by the State in trying to find items that proved Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin was all for naught.  They should have spent more time developing their case and maybe then they wouldn’t have had to worry about all their witnesses flipping for the defense. Granted, it’s possible that Martin defended himself, its possible he fought Zimmerman to try to get away, its possible Zimmerman wasn’t really as hurt as he said. But we have nothing that actually contradicts the evidence that the defense had proving that Zimmerman was hurt, and there was an altercation.

Possible but not proven.

There were only two people there that night and one of them is dead. Now all we have is moldy clothing and sour-faced Zimmerman relatives.

I have sympathy for the Martin family, sympathy for the Zimmerman family. But most especially, I have sympathy for the jury whose duty it was to decide Zimmerman’s fate and ultimately, the Martin family’s fate. Do we depend on our emotions to decide one’s life or do we do what is right and use facts and evidence to make a choice? As Zimmerman heads into hiding, it’s these folks that will be the only ones left to answer for their choices.