Aug. 10th, 2006

lanapanda: (sousuke)
Yesterday evening I was surfing around on LJ and found this post via a friend of a friend. Now, when I first read it, my initial response was one of shock, and then anger. There was a sense of "how dare he use his business to further his own personal hate?" and beyond that, the question of why any business owner would feel compelled to send that kind of poorly thought out and thinly veiled hatemongering. I wrote an email expressing my dissatisfaction with him, his lack of tolerance, and his parenting habits, which I must strongly call into question if this man truly believes that Cold Case and Without a Trace constitutes family viewing. Then I dropped that same link into one of the irc channels that I frequent, because I have friends there that I knew would sympathize and probably write a letter as well.

Several hours later, and with further contemplation, I suppose I'm wondering if it changes anything. There will always be intolerant people. There will always be people who hate for no other reason than their narrow minds cannot perceive that the world is well and good in its diversity, be it ethnic, gender, sexual or other. Letting Troy Hake know that I do not approve of his actions is not likely to make him suddenly have an epiphany about his own willful ignorance. Nor do I imagine that he'll miraculously realize that he's wrong about the gay agenda and his own questionable morals. What it does do, is let that man and his company know in no uncertain terms that the world view in that email is offensive and unwelcome to a great many people. People he didn't care about anyway.

I'm not so pessimistic as to think that there won't be an effect or a backlash, because after all, we live in age of political correctness that is only slightly less constrictive than yester-years' whalebone corset. He'll apologize, because that's what's expected of him. But it doesn't mean anything in the long run, because an apology without any real contrition is like putting white paint on a pile of shit: it still stinks.

Beyond that, I'm not even angry about it anymore. Instead I feel sorry for this man, who is cutting off an entire segment of the population because of his own personal hangups. I took a lot of classes in college that didn't fall under any requirement other than my own personal interest. One of them was a philosophy of religion course. I bring it up now, because of one of the ideas put forth in our required reading. Namely, that people hate only those things that they despise within themselves. In looking at my life, and myself, I can honestly say this is true for me, and I wonder if it applies to Mr. Hake there as well. I wonder if he sits down to his 'wholesome primetime viewing' with his loving wife and precious children, and is shocked and appalled with the image of two men hugging because deep down inside there is some flicker of himself that wants to be hugged in that way. And he hates himself for it.

That is what truly saddens me. People who are filled with so much fear and self-loathing and small-minded meanness that they have no room in their lives, their minds, or their hearts for tolerance and open discourse. Isn't that what makes us human, the ability to relate? If I can't understand you, and you can't understand me and neither of us is willing or able to try to bridge the gap then... where does that leave us?

There are whole groups of people who live their lives in the artificial boxes and roles that society makes for us and we make for ourselves. Some of those people forget from time to time that there is a much wider world out there that has it's own importance and wonder to offer. Some people think their boxes are the whole world, and they fight with anyone and anything that dares to label themselves differently.

So while yes, I am still unhappy with the email and the man who sent it, and no I'm not sorry that I sent that email telling him in no uncertain terms exactly how unhappy it made me... I'm still sadly resigned to the fact that there are just some people who will never understand and don't care to. It doesn't matter who or what it's against. Irrational hate is still hate, and even worse, it's hate that can't be reasoned with and lessoned through knowledge and understanding.

I suppose the only thing I can really do is keep my own mind open, and hope that others out there will do the same.

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