Author: Claire Gerdes PM
Mandatory essay I had to write for the essay contest "Do the Write Thing" with the topic of violence. Stupid # %*ing essay contest. Anywho, thought I'd post it here. Give me your thoughts if you want. Or don't. Doesn't matter to me.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Words: 524 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 01-08-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3090515
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By Claire Gerdes
"Noun: A crime motivated by prejudice against a social group: "[His]murders were hate crimes targeting victims by gender"(Jane Caputi and Diana E.H. Russell). "
I live in a upper middle class, white suburban neighborhood. It is primarily Judeo- Christian, and Conservative. You would be shocked at the number of times I hear "faggot" screamed in the hallway.
For people that are, in general, so terribly concerned with their traditional values, you'd think their mothers would've taught them not to scream profanity. Apparently not.
The fact of the matter is, nobody has any problem with being hateful and cruel to a certain group of people (minorities, homosexuals, women etc.) as long as that group of people doesn't have the man power or will to tell them to keep their comments to themselves. As long as the people they talk down too remain "the other", it doesn't matter if they don't like it because they had it coming. By daring to be in their presence, those people are now the target of unjustified and irrational hate.
I've seen this every single day that I've lived in this neighborhood. It affects my ability to focus on learning, and frankly lowers my esteem for everybody associated with the students screaming profanity as well as the teachers that are letting them. I feel horrible, listening to their jokes about how women belong in the kitchen and gays should be lined up and shot, and nobody stops them.
Nobody is going to stop saying these things, or acting this way until somebody manages to get it through their thick skulls that the world does not revolve around them and that while they are allowed to have their own opinions, and should, when 'opinion' crosses the line into blatant hate, we have a problem.
There are many complications with this issue, such as religious beliefs, political leanings, the free speech argument, and the unclear definition of what qualifies as a "hate crime" and what is simply somebody expressing their views. All of these are valid points, but are irrelevant when the person asserting said arguments is only doing so to further their abuse of a person whom they believe to be inferior to themselves.
Parents and guardians may be in charge of what their child hears at home, but at the school staff and administration needs to make it very clear to students what is appropriate to say at school and what is not. Spewing hate and ignorance isn't going to help anybody.
Until people get over the fear of addressing this issue, the fear that they are going to offend the wrong person and get in hot water over it, we cannot solve this problem. We can not instruct students on how to behave like civil, rational members of society.
In the end, it all comes down to one thing: Fear.
Fear of what we/they do not understand.
Fear of getting reprimanded.
Fear of being rejected by the social norm.
Until we move on from this fear, we cannot grow as students, we cannot grow as people and we cannot grow as a community.