I hope this doesn’t sound trite, but I am writing these lines with my heart, so to speak.
Just after the (unbelievable) verdict of the Trayvon Martin case, I saw an episode of professor Melissa Harris-Perry show that commented on it (see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/14/melissa-harris-perry-george-zimmerman_n_3595503.html).
I was deeply touched by the personal commentary that she and some of the guests – most of which were African-Americans – made about the experience of discrimination, not just the intellectual indignation against it; what it meant worrying if a son or partner would return safely home, for fear of hate crimes and police violence; having someone follow you in a store, made a suspect just because of the colour of your skin, and I had an epiphany of sorts (to the extent that a white, straight, middle-class cis man can have) of what it means to be at the receiving end of prejudice and discrimination every single moment of every single day of your whole life…
That brought to my mind the incredibly beautiful and touching poem "To This Day", presented by its author, Shane Koyczan in a powerful clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltun92DfnPY
Both professor Perry’s discussion and Koyczan poem express the hurt experienced by peoplewho are, for whatever idiotic reason, shunned, mocked, persecuted, antagonized, isolated, stigmatized by a majority of people that mindlessly become sociopathic mobs.
All of that came to my mind again seeing a clip about someone who apparently had the same kind of revelation after being unfriended by some jerk on facebook because of the pictures he posted of his brother’s wedding – because his brother is gay and married a man, and the jerk is a fundamentalist who got his knickers in a twist because of that. The episode got him thinking and… well, better watch it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zezwl4XXK10
Only a total lack of empathy can make people act so cruelly; only fundamentalist ideologies – and especially of the religious variety – can dehumanize people to the extent that they will lose their ability to acknowledge the humanity of others.
As the example of that guy shows, however, being able to feel the pain – at least imagine what it would be – of those who suffer such indignities, brings out the better part of all of us. I can’t add anything to what David Stevens, the author of the last cited video said. I only hope that whoever reads this gets it.
On second thoughts, I can’t add anything, but I know some guys who can: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-pFAFsTFTI