A Look at Discrimination

Clay (@claynelson22) 5 years, 9 months ago

The other day,
as I was leaving track practice from the middle school, I passed a car on the
right side. His car was pulling into a turning lane to the left to merge unto a
highway, mine was going straight back to town. It was a gorgeous day and so my window
was down, and assuming his was also down, he then yelled at me exclaiming,
“Faggot!”. Before this, I had pulled behind him at a red light and made eye
contact with him through his driver side mirror. From that point, I made myself
busy as to not make eye contact with him again because, well, that is always a
bit awkward.


This incidence
has greatly troubled me for 9 days now, for multiple reasons. I feel I must
give a short background of my own use of the word “faggot” before I continue
with this. I grew up in a rural town and “Faggot” was a common term to use when
making a joke, yelling at someone you desperately disliked or likewise, was
friends with. It was a jovial term that I had never been accustomed to hearing
pointed in my direction or even a term that I found offensive. I then went to
college and got an education. I met people who were black, Asian, Hispanic,
Indian, and even Muslim. My world was opened up widely and I realized that my
upbringing was a gift. I was brought up as a god. I, unfortunately, am not. So,
I now look at myself as a human being among many, many other human beings. Once
my life was blown open by other ethnic cultures, I met some people (mostly men)
who were openly gay. I know this because they hit on me and followed me via
social media and tried to hang out with me. For those of you who know me, this
was a few years ago before I had my long hair. I was never really comfortable
with them hitting on me, but I also took it as a compliment. I will say, for
the sake of one of my gay friends whom I consider a brother, he never hit on me
in a serious way, nor did I feel that I would have to write about him in any
way like I’m writing this. Needless to say, my world, again, was blown wide
open by now a sexual culture that I had no idea actually existed. I, once again
can say that I grew up in a culture where I was sheltered from these things.


After years of
being in college, I decided to grow my hair out because I knew that it was the
last time I’d be able to do something crazy with the way that I looked. I
actually planned to cut my hair down to the scalp once it got a certain length.
Not many people know this because I don’t tell them and also, from their
responses of my long hair, they don’t really deserve to know. I know one thing
for certain, people that I have known my entire life and have considered
friends will openly call me a faggot for having long hair. Does this offend me?
No, there is a reason though. I don’t like to admit this because it makes it
sound like I think I’m better than these people, but I honestly don’t. I know
that the people that think that way, or the people that think I’m a pretty boy
don’t know any different. I was raised where you were raised, I grew up in that
same place. I know that you don’t know any better. I know that when you say
things like that, you aren’t trying to hurt me, you are trying to be funny, you
are trying to get a rise out of me. You are trying to make me the same as you
again. I get that. I was that. There are times when I am still that! It’s when
people that don’t know me and are driving past me in a vehicle yell “Faggot”
out at me while I’m minding my own business, that irks me.


I’m not
homosexual. I only identify with the LGBTQ group as an ally. At first, I was
mad at being called a faggot from someone I have never met because I know that
I’m not gay and that he was telling me I was. The fact that I was mad about
that sickens me, because there is a much more serious reason to be mad about
this. I also got upset because I knew I had made a conscious decision to grow
my hair out for reasons stated before. No, most people don’t know why I did it,
but that shouldn’t matter. I thought that maybe I should cut my hair. Why
should I have to go through ridicule from the town that I now live in;
Morganton, NC. Why would I put myself through this when honestly, I don’t have
to? I’m not gay, I can cut my hair, that’s always been easy. Then my mind got
the best of me and I really started thinking about this. This was not just a
flagrant attack; it was a chance to have a psychological breakdown of a human.


When I told Abby
about this, she asked if he was older or the typical things you would want to ask
about to see if he was a redneck or something. He was about our age and normal
looking. Nothing crazy about him and he was also driving a car. No signs of
racist hate on the outside. This man, as normal as he seemed, felt comfortable
enough to yell “Faggot” at me. I say racist hate because if they are
comfortable enough to yell that at me, I can only assume he is also racist,
whether he knows it or not. I was driving my white GrandAm, with my Buckeyes
bumper plate on the front and my Appalachian state sticker on the back. I’m
only saying this because there is a slim chance he’s from Michigan, which would
explain the profanity. OTHER than that though, there is no reason to have
hatred towards me other than my long hair. I could even take a look at how I
was driving and with the best objective view I can muster, I was not driving
like a “faggot”, however that is.


For years,
decades, even centuries, people have been hated for one reason or another. Even
Christians were persecuted and had to find a way to escape that persecution and
find a place where they could worship. This happened to be America, where they
could run and start their own culture. The thing I want to point out is that
the Christians were able to leave and find a “new land” to worship what they
wanted. This is different for homosexuals because most of them, dare I say all
of them, have family that is not homosexual. I would find it hard to believe
that each and every person in any one family is homosexual. Moving to a new
land is not possible for these people. Running from this hate is not something
that anyone can really do anymore, like other peoples were able to do. Most of
us have to endure, and I’m only having to endure a small fraction of this
because if I’m being honest, I could at any moment change the way I look to
satisfy the people that spread hate in the world and not have to endure it
anymore. I choose not to. Other people do not have the luxury of changing who
they love.


What is the most
troubling about all of this is that people have died, and even killed
themselves in the name of equality or because of hate. Lives are lost every
single day because of hate. There has been so much work put into this subject
and so many lives put into equality that yelling “faggot” at ANYONE is
undermining the work that’s been done and the lives that have been lost. I have
worked for these basic human rights, and I also find it disrespectful towards
me, to say something like that. I’m not angry anymore because I’m not
homosexual, I’m not mad because it made me feel less of a man or made me think
I should change the way I look or act. I’m not really even angry anymore. What
this person was basically saying was that I was not like him, and I never,
ever, want to be. I do not want to be so nonchalant about sacrifices that have
been made to be able to undermine that progress. I don’t want to be so numbed
to these facts that I can either take what is being said to me as a grain of
salt because our need to stray from political correctness, or that I would say
something like that to anyone!


All this being
said, I’m returning to the world we are now growing in, the world we are now
making. Even I, as a white, middle class male, was worried that I should cut my
hair to avoid being called names. I was threatened by just
another, normal human that yelled something from their car, of whom I may never
see again. I can only say that I am jarred because I have not grown up with
this adversity as so many others have. I can say that others may read this and
think how ridiculous this is because they have been dealing with this their
entire life. I think that is crazy. What I would like to leave you with is that
we are all human beings and we are all strong and even fragile to a point.
Every word and action has a reaction from someone, somewhere. Please do not
help hate take over our country and our world. Please do not be on the side of
getting rid of RESPECT for every human being. Each and every one of us has
problems, has needs, has people to feed and things to do. You don’t know why I
was over here doing this, just like I don’t know what happened to you before
you called me a faggot. Do not let hate and fear overshadow the one thing that
each and every one of us deserves the very moment we are born; respect.

March 6, 2016 at 6:28 pm
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