Monday, October 31, 2011

Civil Disobedience...and why it's time!

On Friday, August 26th, as Dane Hall was leaving Club Sound (a club known for it's Gay themed Friday nights), he was verbally accosted by a group of men.  Hurling Gay slurs at him they attacked him in force.  First punching him in the back of the head and then repeatedly to the side of the face as he dropped to the ground.  After falling to the ground, the group of "men" dragged him to the curb where they placed his head and proceeded to curb stomp him!

For those of you who are familiar with the movie American History X, you will understand what that means.  For those of you who have not seen this movie...I suggest you watch it!  I won't go into the reasons that this film is important, or a great film, I will just say see it.  When you do pay particular attention to the scene when Derek forces the African American man to place his mouth open on the curb.  Force yourself to watch that scene!

That is what they did to Dane.

Almost one week later a 32 year old man was attacked outside the salon where he works by a group of men using the same derogatory language.  While luckier than Dane, Cameron Nelson was still taken to the local InstaCare for treatment.

From 2006 to 2007 Hate Crimes in Utah almost DOUBLED!!!  The majority of these crimes in Utah are because of who a person is sexually attracted to.

I am SICK of hearing about these kinds of instances!

In virtually every minority movement, the "majority" (vocal minority) are against the movement because they are afraid.  Afraid of change, and afraid of what that might mean to them.  A fairly selfish attitude to take.  Their fears are never founded in rational thought, or backed by any kind of factual data, and completely self centered.  Their fears are usually voiced in the following ways:

"What if one of them tries to hit on me?"

"Next thing you know they'll be demanding to be married in my church!"

"I don't care what they do with each other, I just don't want to see it!"

All of these statements, except the last one, assumes that a GLBTQ person cares about you more than they actually do.  First of all you are probably not as hot as you might think, and contrary to what your own inflated ego might lead you to believe you are probably not that desirable to that person.  And, by the way, neither is your religion.  As far as the last statement goes....they probably don't want to see you affectionately nuzzle your mate in public either...but you go ahead and do it anyway.  The difference is they probably just turn away and go about their business...while you on the other hand would take that as an invitation to put your foot on their head and crush it.

*please reader take note that I use "you" in a general aspect and do not intend it to mean you literally...unless of course you are an actual bigot guilty of such things...and in that case get the hell out of my blog!*

In almost every revolution there have been those who have led the way.  Those willing to sacrifice everything to the cause.  The ones we look to the leadership that will bring about the change that the world needs.  The Ghandi's, the King's, the Malcolm's, and the Christ's.  In every instance you can find that, while they advocated a form of peaceful resistance (except perhaps in the case of Malcom X), it was still RESISTANCE!  None of them called for people to be accepting of the mistreatments heaped upon them.

"You're not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality.  Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it." - Malcolm X

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.  If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." - Bishop Desmond Tutu

"Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state has become lawless or corrupt.  And a citizen who barters with such a state shares in its corruption and lawlessness....Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as cooperation with good." - Ghandi

"Dare to do things worthy of imprisonment if you mean to be of consequence." - Juvenalis

While Civil Disobedience has Civil as part of its definition, we need to remember that it also has Disobedience as a part of that same definition.  Absolutely resistance can be peaceful.  But, if you simply go about your business with the smugness of knowing in your mind that you do not "comply", then you are not resisting.  Resistance needs to be seen by others in order for it to be a reality.  Resistance is an action.  And, by its nature, all actions can be seen if there are any around to see them.

Too often, I think, as minorities we retreat to "safe" places.  I attended a recent town meeting on Hate Crimes Legislation in the state of Utah.  They made a great deal about creating a dialog.  Creating safe spaces for us to exchange ideas.  Of respecting the positions of those opposed to our freedoms.  While I am grateful for the safe spaces, the open dialogs, and the respect that others are receiving from us, I have to ask the question "When do we get to have the same respect given?"

My answer to that question is this.  "When we have earned it!"

I fear that in our diligence to remain "civil" we have made ourselves invisible.  That by striving to be "understanding" of their biases we have given those same biases legitimacy.  Sometimes it's okay to be upset.  Sometimes it's okay to be rude.  Sometimes it's okay to be heard...and heard well!  In every movement for justice in our history...NOTHING happened until the world was made to stand up and take notice.  And that took volume!

Maybe...just's time to take off the kid the idiocracy out on their bullshit and be seen!

Just sayin'

Sara Jade Woodhouse