A Queer Solution to Bigotry?
So when I read the artilce by Archana Mehta, i was a little shocked, especially in the beginning where she tells about the coming out of a boy and his friend's reaction to it. The thoughts and feelings written in the note that the boy shows her are very similar to the ones in the noteook of "freewriting' or a journal that I have kept for a while. A few of my friends have come out and they recite to me tales of how hard it was coming to terms with themselves and then getting the courage and finding the right moment to tell the people they loved. One particular story came from my friend who was in speech with me. He told me that he had gone back to judge a competition for the school and everything was going great until our old coach told him that at least half of the team knew that he was gay. My friend decribed the feeling that washed over him and how after that moment he felt bare and outcasted, even though everyone he had talked to before the statement had greeted him with smiles and treated him with little to no change as they had when he was a part of the group. And yet, he could not look any of them in the eye or even talk to them. He said good bye to everyone and left as soon as he could.
What really interests me is why he felt so abandoned and out of place when moments before he was happy and mingling with everyone. In the article, the author says that after she read the note, she seemed to realize how much her friend had to struggle with his identity. It really helps me to see why my friend reacted the way he did. Before writing this I called him and asked him if he felt confused as to how he was suppoed to act and why he freaked out? His answer pretty much followed this line of thinking. He said that he had been one way around all these people and that when he found out that half of his friends knew about him, and he, not knowing how they reacted to the thought or idea of it, was very confused and realized just how big of a lie he had led. A lie that pretty much left him not knowing how to act or who really knew. He told me that when his coach told him, he lost his identity.
It seemed to show me just how powerful a label is in today's society. I know this may not go with the reading as much as I would have liked but i thought that a personal experience would be better fitting to show just how much stereotypes and labels from society and TV can really mess with the way someone acts and thinks.
According to the article about bigotry....we are all racists. To a degree I agree. Some people are racist to a group because of personal experience, while the majority of others are racist because of how they were raised. There have been times when I have sat with some friends and discussed everything and anything that came up. One time my friend asked, "Why do people in Iraq, hate Americans?" First of all, personally I hate when people from the US are called Americans. I don't hate Americans, but rather the name. If one is to look at an atlas there is no 'America' 'Canada' and "Mexico.' But rather a North America and a South America. Thus everyone that is a part of these continents are part of the Americas. The US just happens to be the United States of America...not America itself...ok now that that is out of the way, i can get to my actualy topic. So why do many people in the Middle East hate people from the US? I believe that many of the people that hate us...were raised that way from when they were little. Thus when they get older they come into a world that dislikes this group of people, and if the majority dislikes them..then there must be a reason and so a new generation grows disliking the US. Now this is not saying that there is no other reason for their hate. Quite the contrary, i believe there are tons of reasons...but that will be later.
As well it is not just in other countries that this is evident but in our own aswell...yes another story. I was sitting in a coffee shop with my friend Jimmy. As we are sitting in the shop a group of children walk in and sit down with one guy and they begin talking about politics and philosophy and the recent news. Now these children are about about 10-12 years old. While they are talking one of the kids decides he will tell a joke. And so he says, "Hey guys. Did you hear about all the Mexicans that went out in protest and Rallied in downtown last week? Yea there were like a thousand of them..." at this point all of his friends have crowded around to see what is so special about this. "..yea they all came in one car." now at this I chuckled, because me and my friends had joked about this same topic, but I was rather disturbed to the roar of laughter behind me, all coming from these 10 year olds. it was this moment that I realized we have a problem. When children that are not even in middle school know about stereotypes of a race, and understand what it means, really bugged me. At that moment me and my friend got up and left the shop. It surprised me that I felt angry, and yet later on I realized it was just how we are. And though you probably don't know and may not believe me, I am Mexican, or Mexican American, or chicano or Latino or any other label you want. So do you see me any different?