What the #$%@?! Week of 9/19/11

I’m trying something new – some sort of weekly post about the dumb and incredulous things humans did in the last seven days.  We’ll see how it goes.

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9/22/11 – Ontario, Canada

When someone hears about a hockey fan throwing a banana at a player, most people will either laugh or think nothing of it.  I mean, they throw anything from hats to octopuses at the games so why not a banana?  Behind the flare-throwing soccer fanatics, hockey fans are the most rowdy group of people in sports – even if they are Canadian.

What isn’t funny is the detail that the banana was targeted at a Black player – one of the handful in the entire NHL.  This isn’t 1860, people shouldn’t be disgraced like this in such a public place.  I feel ashamed of the way some Whites treat Blacks and other minorities.  It’s is truly hard to believe that in 2011 there is discriminatory gestures such as this – and in a third-world country like Canada that is arguably one of the most tolerant countries in the world.

Perhaps it has something to do with the predominately White culture in hockey.  This isn’t baseball.  There was no Negro NHL.  There was no hockey-playing Jackie Robinson.  None of the elite players in hockey are Black.  Nonetheless, it shouldn’t take a Black star hockey player to change the perception that a select few fans have of Blacks in hockey, or in general.  It is obvious that these people are fans of hockey, but not fans of civil rights and humanity.

9/22/11 – Orlando, Florida

I’ll keep with the hating theme for this week; I promise they won’t all be like this.

A gay soldier’s question about the end of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy received boos from the audience at the Republican candidate debate.  Like hockey fans, Republicans can also sometimes be extreme, insensitive fanatics (just like Democrats).  To boo a man that is risking his life, the ultimate sacrifice, to ensure the safety of this country, is ludicrous.  Especially if the reason for the booing is because he has different beliefs than the Republican majority.  In the words of my POLI 101 professor: “A dead gay soldier is no more dead than a straight soldier.”  Gays and straights don’t differ in much.

This country was founded on freedom of expression – something that I have noticed conservatives are slow to adopt.  As a straight man, homosexuality is foreign to me.  But so is Islam, Buddhism, ballet and cooking – I have nothing to do with these beliefs and activities.  This country is supposed to protect beliefs because beliefs aren’t part of the real, material world.  You cannot quantify a belief.  There is no empirical evidence that suggests being homosexual is detrimental to society.  There is, in fact, evidence that hate is detrimental to society.  You can argue that free expression allows those people to boo that soldier.  You would be right.  The First Amendment grants this power to citizens and I firmly believe in that power; however, it is in incredibly bad taste to boo a person over their beliefs (their right to have), especially a soldier and defender of your rights.

I invite those who booed at the Republican debate, as well as all other discriminators to think twice before ridiculing someone based on belief.  I’ve been discriminated against in my lifetime, and so have you.  I live knowing that I seem as a second-class person in the eyes of some very important people in my life due to my American and Catholic background.  I hope that people can see through their thick prejudice and agree we are all humans after all.

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