After learning that a FAMU student’s sexual orientation may have played a part in his beating death during what’s been described as hazing, I’d like to share a few thoughts.
First of all, I get that there are people out there who don’t like that a person is gay or straight or is fat or is too skinny or is a Christian or isn’t a Christian. I understand this because I can see the world around me. But I also understand that I live in America, where it shouldn’t matter if a person is gay or straight or fat or too skinny or is a Christian or isn’t a Christian.
And what frustrates me most isn’t that gay people – or any other group of people – get beat up for things not even within their power to change. I’m most annoyed at the people who stand up and say something like, “Well this has been going on for decades. We’ve all had to deal with it and we survived, so they should toughen up.” A bullying or hazing incident is just that – an incident. But that type of rhetoric is what’s truly dangerous because it essentially gives people permission on the basis of tradition.
To those who do think bullying or hazing is a tradition, maybe you’re right. But traditions aren’t always right and you can end the ones that aren’t. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Bullying and hazing are rooted in fear. A lot of us are scared of a lot of different things, but we don’t resort to violence to make ourselves feel better.
Since when did disagreeing with someone or not liking something about them mean we have the right to even lay a finger on them, much less beat them so badly they die? I’ll give you a hint: Never.
You know, I really want to be able to get married one day, in any state that I choose. I really do. And I think, in time, it will happen. But I wish that, instead of focusing on something like why marriage equality is wrong or right this election season, we could all just arrive at the same conclusion regarding bullying: It is wrong in any form or for any reason. Traditions should always be reassessed. So should our beliefs. Just as a car needs maintenance, so do our minds.
Again I find myself reaching the same conclusion I’ve reached so many times before: If we would all just think, independently, many of us would realize that, while there are issues we can all reasonably debate, there are also issues that are simply right or wrong.