by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
Paranormal Underground Magazine
I usually try to stay away from politics in my Paranormal Underground blogs. It’s not that I don’t follow politics or have opinions. I do. I have very strong political opinions. It’s just that I believe this is not the forum for me to share those opinions. Most of you don’t come here to read how I feel about politics, of that I am relatively certain. Still, I’ve been thinking about writing this blog for quite some time. And as my friend Bert Coates at NWPIA pointed out, it ultimately isn’t about politics. It’s about a social issue. It’s just that politicians take social issues that are, quite frankly, none of their business, and turn them into political flashpoints. The case of Terri Schaivo comes to mind.
Still, something social has been going on, and it’s really been bugging me – because it’s just flat-out wrong. I was finally driven to write about it because of a comment (now deleted) someone made on a guest blog today. It was a single, simple comment. “Gay.”
People, this has to stop. It is never, ever, ever okay to denigrate another human being because of their sexual preference. Or their race. Or their religious preference. Or their appearance. For too long, our society has felt a need to make others somehow less than us. I suppose it’s how me make ourselves feel better about our own foibles, but It. Is Not. Okay.
When a certain paracelebrity made comments in an interview referring to people as the other f-word, that wasn’t okay. He lost his job for it. In the wake of that firing, there was an outcry. “What about freedom of speech?” I agree. In this country you have the right to say what’s on your mind. But just because you have that right doesn’t mean it is morally okay to use hate speech. I have the right to jump off of a cliff, too, but I’m probably not going to do it.
I once asked someone who had just used the N word what the heck they thought they were saying. The person’s response? “It’s okay. I have a black friend.” You know what? I have gay friends and I have never once thought that made it okay for me to use gay slurs. Never.
Here’s the deal. If you think hate speech is just words, then perhaps you need to take a look at the effect that such words are having on our kids. There have been a recent string of bullying-related suicides. The kids were bullying other kids about their sexual preference. Why is one death ever, ever okay? It isn’t, and it needs to stop. Where do you think those young people got their ideas about sexual preference? Were they born thinking, “hey – if someone prefers members of the same sex, it just isn’t okay?” I don’t think so. Hate is a learned behavior. Your children are watching. They are listening. And they are learning what to think and believe from you.
I’m not a huge fan of PC. I think that we’ve gone too far with our overly PC speech. Some of it is so convoluted its downright laughable. But this isn’t about political correctness. It is about humanity. Every single person – whether gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, black, white, purple, fat or thin is a human being, just like you are. They have the same types of fears, concerns and feelings. They love just as strongly and hurt just as deeply as you do. How can any human being look into the eyes of another and not truly see what is there? Humanity.
Several months ago, I embarked on what I termed 100 Days of Namaste. I did it because I recognized in myself a certain lack of care, a certain level of unkindness, and a definite lack of humility. It wasn’t that I was an awful person, but I was definitely quite often an unthinking one. My 100 Days of Namaste were hugely eye opening for me. For 100 days, I worked to see and acknowledge the humanity inside of every single person I encountered. And what I discovered was that when I failed to acknowledge another’s light, it had nothing to do with the other person. Instead, it had everything to do with me. It had to do with my fears, concerns, prejudices, lack of humility, and lack of self-love. I learned that if I couldn’t find something to love in another, it was because I was unable to find something to love in myself. I learned that the world is a hall of mirrors, and what I see in another is merely me, reflecting back to myself. I completed my 100 days, far from perfect – but far more self-aware. I still have negative reactions to people. My first reaction is still often fear, anger, and even hate. But from my Namaste project, I learned to step back in those situations and evaluate what was really going on. And it’s always about me. Always.
I’m telling you this not to sound superior, because trust me. I’m not. I’m a pretty darn fallible human being. Instead I’m telling you this to offer you a tool for stepping back from hate. When you find yourself angry, filled with hate, or fearful, take a closer look at you. Ask yourself where the reaction comes from. What is it inside of you that is driving your reaction?
There’s nothing inherently wrong with anything. When you step back and look at things objectively, everything just is. Straight just is – there’s nothing you can do to change it. Gay just is. There’s nothing you can do to change it. Black, white, orange – all of these things just are. And if you find yourself reacting strongly to any of these things, then it isn’t because they are bad. It isn’t even because you are bad. It’s merely because there’s something inside of you that you need to acknowledge, love, and heal. Different is never better or worse than you. No one is inherently superior. No one is inherently right. And frankly, gay isn’t about right or wrong. It’s about love. Why on earth would you ever put someone down for daring to love?
We live in a world that is difficult enough to navigate without making it tougher for one another. If you can’t find kindness in yourself, then perhaps the best action is no action. Instead of moving forward out of fear, anger and hatred, maybe the best course of action is to stand down. It’s like our mothers taught us, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” It may sound trite, but I think it applies. Cruelty in word and deed is never okay. You never wind up better off in the wake of your own cruelty. When you tear others down, you also tear yourself down bit by bit and piece by piece. So stop. Please? If you can’t do it to stop others’ pain, then perhaps you can choose it to stop your own.
This is my appeal. Human to human. You have within you the capacity to make the world a better place. You have the capacity to make YOUR world a better place. If you can’t do it for others, then you can at least do it for yourself. Please stop hating. Please step aside and realize that we are all human beings. If even one person reading my words makes the choice to stop hating, then the world can begin to change. And it can be better for all of us.
The necessary disclaimer: Karen Frazier’s political and social views do not necessarily represent the views of Paranormal Underground Magazine, Ghost Knight Media or its principles, editors and writers.