Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday Sermon [Ignorance and Hate]

This is ugly…

* * *

-=[ Hate ]=-

Hatred is never anything but fear -- if you feared no one, you would hate no one.

-- Hugh Downs

The only sin is ignorance.

A gay man was tortured in a house on a quiet block in the Bronx set on a steep hill in the Bronx. He was lured there because he was told there would be a party. He showed up last Sunday night as instructed, with cans of malt liquor. What he walked into was not a party at all, but a night of torture -- he was sodomized, burned and whipped.

Before setting upon their 30-year-old victim, the nine attackers, ranging from 16 to 23 years old and calling themselves the Latin King Goonies, had snatched up two teenage boys whom they beat, one of whom was sodomized with a plunger, until they admitted having sex with the man. All punishment for being gay.

The greatest evil is that good people do nothing… I have to admit outright that I am ashamed to say these animals call themselves Latino. They bring shame to every Latino/a -- every human being. Hate kills, and if you stand by and do nothing while something like this happens, if this doesn’t at least make you vote for asshole politician who at a sane outlook on sexual orientation, they you’re part of this crime. You’re part of every crime committed against people who’s only perceived transgression is having been born with a different sexual orientation than yours.

I have a friend who was once almost beaten to death. After she was beaten and brutally gang raped, her tormentors laughed as they urinated on her and left on a road like discarded trash. As a result of this beating, she lost sight in one eye, suffered broken facial bones, and had to go through months of a painful recovery process. As extensive as her physical injuries were, they paled in comparison to the psychological and emotional damage she endures to this day.

Why? What did this sweet and beautiful young woman do that warranted such treatment, I asked myself as I looked at her lying there in the hospital, her swollen, deformed face barely recognizable. The answer was quite simple: she was brutalized because she was perceived as being different by a group of predators. She had the audacity to be different. I couldn't understand and my mind could not grasp the degree of inhumanity evident in this act.

Hate and fear...

But even if I hadn't had a loved one brutalized in this manner, I would still fight against this blind hate. It affects all of us regardless of whether we're aware of our connection to it. The simple truth is that the things we often hate most about “other” people are reflected within our selves. Homophobes attack homosexuals because they fear their own inner insecurities about their own sexuality. Repression is never morality and what happens is that when we push our fears into the dark, they acquire power over us.

I have seen and witnessed this hate all my life. I am Puerto Rican, but my features could be considered European and as a result, I have heard many comments about Latino/as or blacks not normally uttered by whites in public. It works the other way around too: I remember once two Latinas making comments about me in Spanish, thinking I was white. The comments were very suggestive and as we were getting off the elevator, I wished them a nice day in Spanish and they freaked.

I have heard Blacks talk about “spics” and “whitey,” Latino/as talk about “niggers,” and whites talk about everybody. I learned early that this whole deal was screwed up. I learned early that people fear difference... and what they really fear and hate is themselves.

I bring this up because what these ignorant animals did shouldn’t be allowed to happen in any civil society. And if you really think this has nothing to do with you, think again: who will speak for you if you’re ever targeted for being perceived as different? I think about my friend lying broken on a hospital bed and I shudder at the thought that as a society haven’t truly progressed all that much. Because it was this same indifference by some, and outright hate by others, that contributed to that crime that night long ago.

Someone somewhere said that the greatest evil one can do is to do nothing, or something like that, and I have to agree.



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