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.

Advertisements

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.

Gendered Toys & Forced Norms

There’s been a big argument recently against the common practice of gendering toys and books in order to appeal to a particular audience. For years, I never really paid very much attention to the argument. Honestly, if you don’t like something just stay away from it and do what you need to and be happy. However, I read an article on the Huffington Post about gendered books that really got me thinking of my own childhood.

I like girly things. I wear dresses, heels, I love makeup and I know how to sew. But I also like comic books, video games, baseball and boxing. Just those sentences show what I was taught as a child in terms of gender norms. It shouldn’t make someone feel different just because they like certain activities that aren’t considered “usual” for their gender. Things like comic books and video games appeal to certain people who have a certain cerebral perforrmance, not because they have certain sexual organs. And the same thing goes for dresses, heels and makeup.

In the article, written by Caroline Bologna, they point out some of the harmful gender stereotypes listed on the front of books called The Big Book of Girl Stuff and The Big Book of Boy Stuff. While the boy book implies boys need to know how to build rockets and what books to read, the girl book gives advice on how to start babysitting and how to give the perfect compliment. Another major issue is that the boy book says “how do I tell a girl I like her” and vice versa on the girl book.

Nobody is claiming that its not ok to include these things in the books, but the issue here is that a whole subsection of children are being alienated. I know there are those out there who believe that we are far too sensitive toward gays, transgendered individuals and gender queers, to which I affirm and understand. However, we should be sensitive to them because that’s what they deserve after years of having to remain in the closet. To hand a child a book that includes “how to tell someone I like them” will not at all make them say “Someone? That means I can like someone of my own gender! Suddenly, I’m gay!” Nope. Just like wearing heels doesn’t make a man want to be with another man or how playing sports doesn’t make a woman a lesbian. Unfortuately, that is not at all the way love works and kids are much smarter than we may think. By including the OPTION, we are opening the doors to children who will be proud of who they are and more accepting to people who like different things from them. The gendering of toys and books does not need to happen anymore because we should be able to be whatever definition of our genders that we want it to be.