Hateful . . .
Once upon a time (not even a century ago) you could openly disparage a woman for being a woman. Not that much more recently (a not long time ago - fifty years, tops) you could openly hate a person by the color of their skin. Recently (three days ago-ish) you could still, in certain geographies, hate people for their sexual orientation. You'll always, sadly, be able to have unabashed hatred for the obese . . . even as we all get fatter. Why am I giving history lessons? Because the bell curve of enlightenment seems to be on the downward slope again.
Think about some of the news of the last few weeks . . . NFL players calling fellow concert goers "n*ggers." An Orthodox Jew calling the wife of a politician an Arab (and not in a kind way). A black man in New York City beating another man in broad daylight because he was the "next white man I see" and that was all it took. A comedian in Connecticut makes the race of his boorish, rude, and disrespectful audience the apparent motive for them booing and harassing him verbally. A sports franchise refuses to change the name out of respect for a people that could consider it a slur and don't say it is okay - because people who are not of the slurred background say it is okay. Sports analysts refer to each other with cheesy slurs. And that is just on the national media stage - do you pay attention to Twitter? Facebook? What a nightmare!
How many of the above incidents do you know about (since I left names out)? How many incidents happen every single day that I don't know about (I'm not terribly well read or informed on these things) but I've been noticing a trend that bothers me . . . no one seems to pay attention, no one seems to really "care" and no one seems to be doing anything more than allowing and ignoring it.
I know, I know. We have real problems and most of the above incidents are just words used in isolated incidents and blah, blah, blah. I disagree. I think these words and this growing trend is about something larger - it is about our apathy. It is about the fact that we have become so free and loose to say whatever we want to say (trust me - I'm the BIGGEST abuser of "I'll speak my mind when and where I want to" you'll ever meet) without any real concern that anyone is going to say or do anything about it. We make one apology and it is over. Second chances. We offer an olive branch and it is accepted. Bygones. We point the finger and say (s)he did it too. Glass houses.
Screw that. I am still horrified (and always will be) when people I know come off as small minds in their words and actions. I am a snob. I don't surround myself with people who aren't not at least a little snobby in their own right and yet - there it is - poor thinking before speaking in action.
We have to do better for each other and FOR OURSELVES. Let's end the age we are in now where these tensions and hatreds and bigotries are allowed to just happen and where we only look at the big picture of impact (slavery, the Holocaust, genocide, Matthew Shepherd, etc. etc. etc.) to say something is a real problem. Let's not let our kids grow up in a world where stuff like hate is just accepted and allowed and forgiven. Let's do better and be better.
Because I don't want to say the sky is falling but I fear that if we let these "little" things continue to mount and grow and build momentum we won't be that long before we have a real problem on our hands and that is a slippery slope.