Thursday, February 10, 2005

So what did I do today? Not much, actually, it being a typical Thursday. I went to both my classes, and I got a little bit of joy - sorry, Maggie - out of the fact that I wasn't the only one who was almost nodding off in Freedom and the First Amendment.

After that I went to Harkness 3 and looked for a poli-sci advisor to (finally) sign off on my major form. So, it's official, I have my two majors. While I was up there I walked by Jim Johnson's door. By it, there was a letter from Noah Lebowitz, on official-looking College Republicans letterhead, talking about how Conservative Safe Zones were being created on campus. Pissed me off. As Johnson had asked in big block letters on a seperate piece of paper by the letter, "Who is the conservative Matthew Shepard?"

When we were first told that something like this might happen, Kenny's reaction was that if they wanted to act like they were persecuted, then the least we could do is live up to their fantasy.

I'm torn on what to do about it. Nothing at all, as Seth wants? Not persecuting them won't make them realize that they aren't persecuted if it hasn't already. Write some inflammatory editorials? It would be fun, but it might be counterproductive. Go with Kenny's plan? Hey, you never know.

It's sort of weird that I'm getting so worked up over this. I mean sure, Seth is my friend and he was taking this personally, but still. I think it's a combination of two things. First, just the almost universal tendency to root for the underdog, intensified by having been a geek in high school.

And second, something that someone told me a few weeks ago. A friend told me that her mother would consider her son (my friend's brother) being gay to be the worst thing that could happen to him. As, worse than being dead or quadrapelegic or spending life in prison for a crime he didn't commit. And that sort of drove it home to me. It's not just people who are Klansmen at heart, or who are too lazy or close-minded to put themselves in someone else's shoes, or whatever... it's a whole lot of normal people. I mean, this friend of mine is nice and normal and... well, "normal" is too strong a word. But she's nice, she's friendly to a fault, she's about as open-minded as anyone I know.

And that sort of drove it home for me. My parents are liberal in both senses of the word and I grew up in a small town in the whitest state in the country. So there was bigotry here and there, of course, but there was no real target for it. Political correctness and awkwardness because of it and travel to places with different demographics and movies like "Philadelphia" and history classes about slavery, sure. But as far as I can remember, it wasn't until my junior year of college or so that I got to know people who had experienced being hated and threatened for a fact of their personal identity.

No comments: