You know what I can’t stand? I can’t stand people who say things like, “Oh, blacks don’t have it that bad.” They will say, “The Catholic church does not preach hatred against the gays.” They will say, “The Holocaust was over sixty years ago; won’t the Jews just get over it?” They will say, “The unemployed just don’t want to work.” They will say, “Oil in the Gulf? The government has everything under control.” They will say, “She had it coming.” They will say, “The problem with the Arizona immigration law is what, exactly?”
And almost invariably, the persons saying these things are straight white, usually rich, men. If they’re not rich, they haven’t been unemployed and they pay their taxes, dammit, so that you can go to the supermarket and buy lobster and brie for dinner with your SNAP cards. They spend their evenings watching black men being paraded nightly as criminals on Action News, which is more interested in making you live in fear than delivering facts or actual issues, and they click their tongues. They listen to the Pope preaching how the real enemy is not pedophile priests but homosexuals. They listen to BP executives, or congressmen in the pockets of Big Oil, minimizing the Gulf oil disaster by saying inane things like, “It’s just like a little bit of chocolate milk. It will go away.”
If it isn’t straight white rich men, it’s just straight white men and women. Ever notice who you see at Tea Party rallies cheering the likes of Sarah Palin and her violence-ridden rhetoric? Ever notice who you hear talking about what they saw Glenn Beck spewing about on Fox News last night? Ever notice who says they are perfectly comfortable with the fact that police in Arizona might be allowed to stop anyone on the street, as they see fit, to ask for proof of residency based solely on appearance? Ever notice when someone denounces or bemoans sex education in public schools, free or low-cost health insurance for children (or everybody, for that matter), a woman’s right to choose, a Muslim temple proposed a few blocks away from the site of the 9-11 attacks in New York City, two girls attending a Mississippi prom as a couple, that person is white and heterosexual?
It’s beginning to wear on me. A few days ago, a man in ¬¬¬Long Island beat a 17-month-old child to death because he was trying to stop the boy from acting like a girl. The implications are unfathomable. How does a child not even two years old even act like a girl or boy? Aren’t they just acting like children? Small children?? My friend Bryan feels that the Catholic, Mormon, Evangelical churches preaching hatred against gays and lesbians fuels the fire that is homophobia and hate crime. His friend Michael doesn’t even feel that churches preach hatred against gays: “What’s suppose[d] to distinguish true Christians from others is the love for all.” Tell that to Fred Phelps.
It’s so easy, so frighteningly simple, for straight white men to feel this way. Michael did not grow up in a society that equated heterosexuality with pedophilia. He did not grow up as a black boy who had about as much of a chance of getting an equal education as he did dying in a shootout in front of his project home. He did not grow up feeling he was a female trapped in a male body. He does not live in a society where he must fear that, even though he lives here legally, he could be arrested at any time just because he is short and his skin is brown. He does not live in a society that recognizes the difference between terrorists and Muslims. None of that is Michael’s fault. What is his fault, however, is that he chooses to be led, hand held, down that path of least resistance. He allows himself to be spoon fed lies and then he shits out what he thinks is the truth.
I can’t stand that shit.