This may sound like a stupid question. Obviously, most people agree that hate is NOT ok. But lately I’ve been seeing some examples of things I consider pretty hateful and they upset me. I mean, what is the right thing to do when you see hate around you? Do you have a responsibility to stand up and say something? What if it means that others might end up hating me? What am I teaching my kids when I see hateful acts and say nothing?
The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Is it okay to continue to have the Olympics there when anyone who identifies as LGBT is at risk of persecution? I’ve heard justification that networks and sponsors and others have already spent a lot of money and moving it would cost more. SO, just to be sure I understand, HATE is OK if it means that you will lose money? Is HATE OK if you have trained your entire life to compete? And if the Olympics are held in Sochi, do I still watch?
Is it okay to hurt another person, even kill them, if they confuse you? If you are so uncomfortable with another person’s gender expression or identity, you can justify harming them? It starts in the schoolyard. The other day, a child at my house made fun of my son for having a ‘girl toy’. I not blaming anyone either- I understand that as they grow, they are learning about expression and gender norms and our marketing of toys and television doesn’t help. In that moment, I explained that any child may like anything he or she wants and under no circumstances is it okay to make them feel bad about it. A boy who likes princesses and a girl who likes ninjas are perfect in my eyes and I sincerely hope that they have the freedom to grow up in a world where they can be who they are. But for all the talk about anti-bullying initiatives in schools, we don’t seem to apply the same rules to adults. We don’t put images of gender fluidity on TV or when we market toys and for all of our progressive beliefs, we still are squeamish when we see it in our children.
Young Celebrities- You know who I’m talking about.
Is it okay to put a microscope up to and mock someone’s disease or personal challenges or just growing up if it sells magazines or generates ad revenue? These are young people and I am so sad that they have people around them who are supposed to be there to help them grow up safely and instead are being put in really scary, dangerous situations. I can’t even begin to imagine if in my 20’s I was expected to support other people financially with my talent/celebrity AND figure out how to be an adult. They are held to a standard that I certainly couldn’t attain. I’m not sure if any of us could if we were in their situation and had so much of our childhood modified. I’m not here to judge whether or not they ‘asked for it’ by being in the industry, I’m merely suggesting a bit of empathy.
I have very little in the way of answers, but what I can do is speak up when I disagree. I can go to places like Change.org and my elected officials and state my concerns about issues that matter to me. I can serve as a role model for my children instead of relying on celebrities who are still growing up themselves and be there to help navigate what my children see. I can offer compassion and respect to others who may make me feel uncomfortable with things that I don’t understand. Most of all, I can consider how I would want to be treated in the same situation and act as if.