It’s natural to laugh. Humor is a good thing. However, the culture in which we live allows us to laugh at other people in the comfort of our own home in front of the television. Modern comedy pokes fun at every minority. The women are either depicted unrealistically Barbie-like or depicted as though they are wishing to be so. The undocumented wannabe-American is depicted in shows as the simple-minded criminal hiding his 20 Mexican brothers in a van while crossing a border. The undereducated and underprivileged are assumed to be stupid by the educated and privileged. The Afro-American is depicted as the unkempt drug addict in these inventive scripts. The physically, mentally, and emotionally challenged minority are sweet-natured but cumbersome with their inconvenient behaviors. The characters in comedies that are supposedly LGBT are the overtly sexual nihilists. This is what society finds funny.
Many of us were brought up on the golden rule or some other all-encompassing mantra such as “make love not war”, so for one to say that those who laugh at the stereotypes above do so because they are mean would be an overgeneralization. Here’s the thing, though: We brainwash ourselves so thoroughly that we cannot help mutating our minds with ignorant, uninspired,“us and them” mentalities. We are brainwashed to think that the derision of an individual outside of your understanding and complacent zone is accepted; “it’s all done in good sport.”
Can one call it a game when someone you hardly know, one who has never shown you any disrespect, is made to be afraid and alienated by your stares through narrowed eyes? Yes, reader, there are some men who love other men. They kiss in front of you. You feel uncomfortable. Is love disgusting? The reader’s views aside, what crime did they perpetrate? One is allowed to feel discomfiture when confronted with something new, but one ought not to be allowed to take away their freedom of expression or deride it. A devout fellow Catholic, Carole Cella once told her Spiritual Care Companion Trainee at St. Catherine of Sienna Hospital one night that people just wish to be heard. With that insightful thread, one considers that liberty is what America was founded on—freedom of speech in all its forms. That includes the implied freedom to be.
All groups, all people have been discriminated against at one time or another in history. Could then we not be ignited by some sense of solidarity with one another? To the non-religious community, one could demand for society in general to stand by their friends and the friendless in their being. If solely for the sake of national kinship, so be it. No one likes their right to be heard to be revoked even within the dictates of manners, so why not let people express themselves?
Even if there was no higher power—compassion a human wouldn’t be human without it.
For fellow Christians, “judge not, lest ye be judged” (Matthew 7: 1). For fellow Catholics, one humbly remembers: “This is My Beloved Son” in Mark 9:8, “listen to Him”. To both groups, are we not all the Almighty’s adopted sons and daughters? Therefore, followers are to listen to all. Songwriter David Haas gives God a voice in his hymn “You Are Mine”: “I will come to you in the silence”. So, listen. Again, the Lord said whatever you do for the least of My brothers, you do for Me in Mathew 25: 27. Therefore, it is as if humankind itself is St. Veronica’s veil. Take it to your heart, embrace it, and say, “In the name of Christ, sibling, you are loved”. For Him you can love.
“Fear is the opposite of love,” interprets counselor Jacqueline Merriweather. Yes, reader fear is natural, but don’t let fear get in the way of your capacity to love. “Fear comes from doubt”, a fellow Campus Crusader reminded once. If you are afraid, displace your worry with prayer. God hears all. His followers follow suit, no?
This question is for all readers: really, do we want to repeat a past of hatred and animosity?
This essay does sound a bit preachy, doesn’t it? Ah, words! It was the Buddha that said, “What good will they do you if you do not act upon them?”
One will “act upon them” by partaking in the National Day of Silence on April 19th in honor of the friends of the LGBTQA—Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Allies—Community here at St. Joseph’s College. It is in honor of all fellow Americans who count themselves among a minority–just like women, the illegal alien, the Afro-American, and the disabled—just like…you and me.
If you missed this day, take a few moments now in silence…
Written By: Mary Rose Bernadette Rodriguez, SJC Student
Photo By: Theophilos License: Creative Commons