The Cultural Curator

Bringing you thoughts on feminism, fashion, food, current affairs, and other cultural goodies…

You Don’t Have a Phobia, Dude. You’re Just an A**Hole.

Intolerance

I’m tired. Tired of all the negativity and trash talk. Tired of people who can’t or, rather, choose not to find their ‘words’, tired of ‘homophobia’ (you’re afraid of the LGBT community? Really? Like, the idea of loving someone actually instills a deep-seeded fear in you? Get over yourself!), tired of reading articles that centre around young people who have ended their lives because they had been failed, time and again, by ‘the system’. When is enough enough, I ask, and why are human beings such vile idiots sometimes so often?

Before you say it (or maybe you weren’t even thinking it? Although, now you probably are.), I am painfully aware of the irony of using terms like ‘asshole’ and ‘idiot’ in the same sentence as “tired of all the negativity and trash talk”. As a general rule, I’m a positive person who isn’t such a fan of putting others done (where’s the love, y’all?); however, on this occasion, it seems appropriate, and probably even justified, to use harsh terms as descriptors for those who choose to spread hate and who are a-okay with making others’ lives a living hell.

Quite probably my greatest pet peeve is when I hear phrases such as ‘that’s so gay!’ or ‘how retarded!’. Not only does this NOT make you sound cool/interesting/funny, but it actually has the opposite effect of what you intended. Rather, you sound uneducated, unsophisticated, and just plain ignorant. If you can’t find more creative terms to express yourself (I, for one, can think of many… that’s so ridiculous, that’s so silly, that’s so lame… the list goes on…) then, quite frankly, you’re stupid (Oops! There I go again…), and you lack a decent vocabulary. Go track down a dictionary. You can find one pretty much anywhere these days.

Most importantly, though, these terms are insulting and derogatory to entire populations of people. No one ever hears ‘that’s so gay!’ or ‘that’s so retarded!’ and attaches a positive connotation to these sayings. No one. They breed hatred and a continued lack of understanding, and they stunt the development of society to celebrate diversity and difference. Just thinking about how far we still have to go, as a community (read: a collective of people who have one another’s backs), makes me gag a little.

Are you still thinking that words don’t sting? Well, words lead to actions and actions lead to words, and then we have an outbreak of heart-wrenching stories of suffering, lives torn apart or gone too soon because, well, we, as people, suck (SUCK!) at being kind and good. SteubenvilleRehtaeh Parsons, Amanda ToddNoah BrocklebankShane Bitney and Tom Bridegroom. Need I say more? I best not because, if I keep going, I’ll never stop. Not because I don’t want to; only because the list goes on and on… and on. It’s never-ending. These ‘personal’ stories about bullying and verbal abuse are never-ending. And that’s a problem.

No news is good news, right? In these instances, I don’t want any news. And, frankly, there shouldn’t be any news, anymore. Because we know better. Don’t we? No one is born with hate in their heart; hate is something we learn. So now that we’ve put so much hate and negativity into the atmosphere, we have to go forth and rectify the situation in one of two ways: we must unlearn and train ourselves to be better (it may not be easy but it is possible), and we must start fresh with the next generation. I know we can do this. I know we can. Stop saying negative things around your children; be mindful of the words you use to describe situations and people (both individuals and groups); be respectful of difference (it may not be your path but it doesn’t mean it’s the wrong path); recognize that our youth are learning and growing – they might flash someone on Skype, or dye their hair green, or wear short shorts – they do not deserve to be penalized or tortured for these decisions until they can no longer take it, and the only final decision they think they can make is to ‘check out’ early.

There’s too much hate and not enough love and acceptance, and I’m tired of it. Life is short. Let’s put our collective energy elsewhere. Let’s transfer it to a more positive, peaceful, respectful place. We will all be so much better off for it. If I were a betting woman (which I’m not because I have no $$$ right now), I would bet that we can’t afford not to.

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