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Posts Tagged ‘lgbt community

Following the Elections, Racism and Intolerance Takes Center Stage in the U.S.

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With Election 2012 now in our rear-view mirror, President Obama re-established as our leader for the next 4 years, and equality winning huge around the country, the hate mongers are coming out of the woodwork!  From National Organization for Marriage’s leader, Tony Perkins, all the way down to high school kids, the level of sheer hatred and intolerance is deeply disturbing.

Because equality won big, and it did, because the United States’ first black President, Barack Obama, won big, and he did, bigots from coast-to-coast and border-to-border are screaming hate at the top of their lungs to a point where, just days after the General Elections, it’s easy to see that this will be a frightening four years.

Immediately following the elections Tuesday night, many, many people, Donald Trump, included, took to the twitterverse with vile, menacing, racist, and even threatening tweets.  Perhaps most troubling were the tweets that came from the high school students.  Teenagers.  Their level of disrespect, hatred, and intolerance was frightening.  It clearly illustrated the depth of the problems we face as we work hard to eliminate bullying in the schools.  What this also clearly shows is that whatever efforts we’re putting forth right now is not NEARLY enough!!  We’re not even scratching the surface of just how troubled today’s youth are.  And, as the adage “hatred and intolerance are taught to young people” goes, these high school students have had hatred scholars as teachers.

Tuesday’s election results sent such a shockwave across our country, there have even been people fired from their jobs because of things they tweeted once we knew for sure Obama had won.  Their disgust at the idea of another 4 years of a Black president is now being worn on their sleeves, expressed in cyberspace.The attack on equality and race wasn’t, by any means, restricted to high school students or ice cream store employees.  From Donald Trump, to Brian Brown, to Tony Perkins, people – white people – were letting their disgust get the better of them.  Perkins, the head of designated hate group Family Research Council (SPLC),   went on record as saying that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality, it could lead to a revolution.

“I think if the court steps in at this moment and says, ‘We’re redefining marriage, same-sex marriage will be the law in every land,’ I’ll tell you what, I think you will create a firestorm of opposition,”  And, “”When you look at a nation that is so divided along these moral and cultural issues, that you could have, I hate to use the word, but a revolt, a revolution.”

A revolution!?  Why?  Because people want the right to love who they love?  Because people want to have the right to marry who they love?  What, exactly, is it about Mr. Perkins that prevents him from understanding that whom someone else loves is absolutely none of his business?  Is granting everyone the right to marry the person they love really worth a revolution?  According to Tony Perkins, the answer is an emphatic “yes”.  That’s dangerous.Brian S. Brown.  The very mention of that name is to pour salt into wounds within the LGBT community.  Brian S. Brown, director of the National Organization of Marriage, whose sole mission and reason for existence is to prevent same-sex couples from getting married, went into a frenzy following Tuesday night’s stunning defeats.  Rather than understanding and accepting that voters nationwide voted against hatred, Brown vowed to dig in and fight even harder.  Rather than accept and understand that the world, and America, is finally evolving from its Ozzie and Harriet mentality and becoming a true reflection of the world as it exists in 2012, Brown blamed being outspent, which is highly unlikely, and even presidential candidate Mitt Romney for the sweeping defeats.  Rather than accept and understand that the voters, the people of this country, sent him a clear message that hatred and intolerance is finally becoming yesterday’s news, Brown vows to keep fighting.  Now, he wants to direct his venom towards corporations that support same-sex marriage, in particular Starbuck’s:

According to an article in The Advocate:

…Brown promised to keep up the fight against same-sex marriage and asked his followers for more money. The group is also going after corporations like Starbucks which publicly advocate for marriage equality. NOM’s plan is to garner support in the Middle East, an area hostile to same-sex marriage and an area the coffee chain is interested in expanding in.

“[Starbucks’s] international outreach is where we can have the most effect,” Brown said. “So for example, in Qatar, in the Middle East, we’ve begun working to make sure that there’s some price to be paid for this. These are not countries that look kindly on same-sex marriage. And this is where Starbucks wants to expand, as well as India. So we have done some of this; we’ve got to do a lot more.”

STOP!!!!  Enough of the hatred!!  Brian Brown’s hate group is planning actions that they know full well could lead to the death of innocent members of the LGBT community in Qatar as well as the Starbuck’s employees, themselves.  They are so bitter in their hatred, so determined to impose their hateful views on the world, they’re perfectly fine with the idea that innocent people could, and probably would!, be killed.

If you want to be hateful, spiteful, and intolerant in your own personal and private life, that’s your right.  We, The People, however, the voters, told you loudly and clearly that we don’t want any part of your bigotry.  That, however unfortunate, does not register with those who are filled with hatred and intolerance.  And, it doesn’t seem to deter Brian S. Brown.  And, because of that reality, it is incumbent upon us to continue the fight that has gotten us to the point we are today.  There is now a petition that aims to prevent the National Organization of Marriage from derailing Starbuck’s.  Hopefully, every reader will sign and share it.  We can’t afford to rest on the laurels of our victories Tuesday night.

In the real world, Tuesday night, November 6th, the American voter sent a very clear message.  The victories were decisive.  We, The People, aren’t about hatred and intolerance.  We, The People, are about acceptance and inclusion.  The world is ever-evolving.  This is not the same America as it was during the Ozzie and Harriet years.  We’re much more diverse than we were in the 1950’s.  Accept it.

Reaching the Boiling Point

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“It’s going to get worse before it begins to get better”.  As the struggle for Equal Rights continues, as predicted, the battle is becoming much more heated.  And, bitter.  And, dangerous.  In just the past 72 hours alone, there’s been a major escalation in the verbal and physical attacks on the LGBT community, as well as their supporters.  Sadly, there’s been one death.

Anyone with access to the Internet, and particularly those who have facebook accounts, are aware of the furor that was caused recently when the makers of the iconic Oreo cookie showed their support for the LGBT community.  In response, the lunatic fringe, LGBT-hating extremists went into full attack mode.  Some of the venomous things they posted as comments brings full light to the dangerous climate members of the LGBT community are facing today.  If you think for a minute that the hatred and intolerance these adults routinely show doesn’t have a major impact on the bullying and LGBT teen suicide rate or the level of violence against members of the LGBT community, you’re wrong.

Over the weekend, Cory Oden, an LGBT man, was brutally attacked simply because of who he is.  For the simple “crime” of being a gay man in America – the country that’s supposedly the “land of the free” – Cory endured a brutal attack that could’ve very easily claimed his life. Just because he’s a gay man in America.  If you get the time, and are so inclined, please do go show Cory some love and support.  Here’s his facebook page.  I was reading some of his wall posts moments ago.  This has been a life-changing event for him, obviously.

As I lay here on my porch swing looking at the sky, sorting all the jumble in my brain. I can’t stop thinking about all the people in the world suffering. Maybe it be acts of hatred, maybe it be dying loved ones, maybe even just as simple as you don’t know how you’re going to pay your rent and survive in what seems to be a cold hard world. I’ve got quite the battle approaching. Everyone knows its a tough one to rise above and conquer. We have to remember to keep the faith and love flowing through our veins. Whatever struggles you are facing, whatever the outcome may be, just remember to always let your voice be heard and make some noise!!! You never know who just may be listening ♥

In Portland, Texas, a lesbian, teenaged couple was found shot in the head.  Nineteen-year-old Mollie Olgin succumbed to her injuries.  It hasn’t “officially” been classified a hate crime at the time of this writing.   Of course, that’s not to say that it wasn’t.

So, there you have it.  In just under 72 hours, one dead, one in critical condition, one in serious condition.  What’s my point?  If you go back to the insanity of the attack on the Oreo’s ad on facebook, and read the comments, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the LGBT community is under attack…that “they” have declared war on members of the LGBT community and its supporters.

Here’s the point:  what we’re starting to see is a culture that’s reaching its boiling point.  The religious fanatics and the homophobic extremists are multiplying rapidly, just as we are on this side of the battle line.  For all of their holiness and deep-rooted “Christian” faith, they’re leading us into, essentially, a war right here on our own soil.  Their verbal assaults have been dialed up to fever pitch.  Violence against members of the LGBT community is rising in both frequency and severity.  And, people are losing their lives.

Of course, this mentality isn’t anything new in this country.  They killed blacks for sport as they fought for their rights.  Isn’t it ironic that these people who profess to be good, “God-fearing Christians” are so comfortable with hatred, intolerance and, worse, the death of those they oppose?  Perhaps, for them, fearing God is in their best interest, after all.

Why November’s Election is SO Important

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I’ve been trying to get this thought out, now, for almost a month.  One thing after another has gotten in the way of its completion.  Yet, I feel it’s vitally important for me to get it out.  Then, last Wednesday following the Scott Walker recall election, I was presented with just the catalyst I needed to see it through.

While out playing music, which is what I do, this local homeless Viet Nam vet came up to me and pushed my button!  “Well, those stupid fucking Democrats really took it up the ass yesterday!”  Now, I’m use to his vitriolic statements.  He’s still at war.  I get that.  I’ve known him for quite some time.  And, his conversations are usually right along that same line.  And, typically, I just listen to his rhetoric, smile, nod, and go on about my day.  It usually works.  Not today.  Today, he pushed my buttons.  He pushed my buttons because he reminded me, up close and person, of exactly why it is of extreme importance for Obama to win in November.

This isn’t about politics, really.  This is about loving and caring.  This is about tolerance.   This is more about right and wrong.  And, it’s about survival.

I want to make it perfectly clear that I’m no professional political analyst.  Not even close.  In fact, the only thing I am, as a professional, is a musician.  I’m a single, gay, black male.  I’m an older black male who was around, albeit as a young boy, when blacks were fighting for their own right to exist.

Our country is entrenched in a cultural war.  That should be no secret to anyone with a pulse.  We’re seeing a second-coming of the Civil Rights movement of the 60s as the LGBT community fight, essentially for their right to even exist.  Just as blacks did in the 50s and 60s.  The parallels are undeniable.

Of course, there are many who would vehemently disagree with me.  Over and over again, I’ve read this older black leader or another protest the notion that today fight for equal rights by the LGBT community is an extension of the Civil Rights battle of the 60s.  I can state as a black man who lived during those times as a young black boy in the South that it is, indeed, the same fight.  In truth, despite their efforts to distance themselves from today’s struggle, it is the same fight being fought against the same establishment.  The same hateful, mean-spirited, bigoted people who wanted to keep Blacks “in their place” 50-60 years ago now want to do the same with the LGBT community.  Well, of course not the same people.  That was a half-century ago.  However, it IS, in fact, the same establishment.  Now, before I get called out on this for not knowing my history, I’m very well aware that there were Democrats and Republicans, alike, who were fighting against Civil Rights back then, whereas today’s war is being waged solely by the ultra right-wing, Christian fundamentalists.  In that day, the political lines were a bit more blurred than they are today.  Today, there is an unmistakable gulf of a line drawn between the two parties.  And, that division has permeated our entire society.  We’re very much a “them and us” culture.  And, therein lies the problem.

Listen, I’m a Democrat, myself.  However, I can readily acknowledge that there’s a lot that Obama has not done during his current presidency.  He’s left a lot to be desired.  I get it.  At the same time, I was realistic enough from the beginning to know that he WOULDN’T be able to do but so much.  Why?  There was no way “they” were going to let a smooth-talking black President show but so much accomplishment.  The Civil Rights struggle of the 60s may have been won in theory, but in reality there are still struggles on the racial front, as well.

Today’s Civil Rights struggle is being fought by the LGBT community, making this the second Civil Rights struggle that I will be directly affected by.  As with the Blacks in the 50s and 60s, all we’re seeking is equality.  That’s it.  Simple equality.  We want to be able to marry the person we love.  Legally.  We want to be protected against discrimination in the workplace and in the housing market.  We want the hate crime laws to protect every single America, which include us.  We want to see an end to the incessant bullying of our LGBT youth, sanctioned legally in some states!, which is leading far-too-many of them to end their lives.  In short, we just want the right to live our lives, as who we are, just as freely as our heterosexual counterparts.  That’s really not asking too much, and it certainly isn’t asking for “special rights” as they try to make you believe

Why IS is so incredibly important that the current President of the United States win the election this year? The answer is quite simple, actually.  The short answer is if Obama fails to retain the White House, our culture will be doomed back to the days, and ways, of Ward, June, Wally, and the Beav.  It’s that simple.  That’s the utopian world they envision.  That’s the simple answer.  A deeper look reveals a much more disturbing picture.  Failure by Obama to win the White House in November will ensure:

  1. Every single hard-fought gain the LGBT community has made will be erased.  The few states that do have marriage equality?  Gone.  Anti-discrimination policies that protects the LGBT community?  Forget about it.
  2. The death rate amongst LGBT teens will continue to soar.  It’s as simple as that.  Look, let’s take off the blinders.  The ultra-conservative, far-right wing, Christian faction hates us.  Period.  Ironic, isn’t it?  Christians hating.  Yet, we’ve heard preachers tell their congregation that we should die.  These are Christians.  These are leaders.  These people are the driving force behind the Republican Party today.
  3. Today’s Republican Party is being spearheaded by some of the most narrow-minded, evil-spirited “politicians” I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.  That there are Republican senators working feverishly to pass legislation that will, in effect, sanction the bullying of LGBT teens should tell you all that you need to know.  And, that’s just a small fraction of the threat they pose to the LGBT community.

I’m not naive. I understand that there will always be narrow-minded, bigoted people in the world and in our society. However, at this specific point in time, they’ve risen to positions of power. With that, they’ve seemingly made it their life’s mission to all but do away with anything gay. Indeed, there has been right-wing political and religious leaders calling for the death of LGBT people. They’re flexing their political/religious muscle, spewing extraordinarily hateful and intolerant rhetoric to their followers. In doing so, they are creating a very dangerous environment for members of the LGBT community. To wit:

  • Just last week, a landmark gay bar was set ablaze in Chicago.
  • The LGBT Headquarters in Washington, DC recently endured a bomb threat.
  • Schoolyard bullies are more empowered than ever in their attacks against those they perceive to be LGBT schoolmates, driving many to commit suicide.
  • In the news just today, an ultra-conservative mayor in Michigan added fuel to the already-raging firestorm directed towards her by way of a recall vote with yet another ridiculous statement about the LGBT community.

Indeed, Obama losing the election in November would be catastrophic for the LGBT community. Not just because he’s gone public in his support for marriage equality. It would be catastrophic because it would put in power the absolute meanest, most narrow-minded collection of “leaders” I’ve ever witnessed. Giving power to this group of people would take the LGBT community back to pre-Stonewall days. At least! Giving power to them would absolutely assure an escalation in the already-alarming suicide rate amongst LGBT teens. Why? Because they don’t care about you if you’re LGBT. In their eyes, we shouldn’t exist. And, quite frankly, people with this mentality have absolutely no business whatsoever in positions of power.

Honestly, this really isn’t about politics, per se.  It’s more about right and wrong.  It’s wrong for people to use positions of power to systematically destroy a group of people.  To call for the death of a group of people is called genocide.  How is that even legal?  Maybe within the next four years, they’ll get some people in their party who actually care about ALL people, including people in the LGBT community.  Maybe that’s asking too much.  Well, at the very least, we can hope for a group of people who aren’t as mean-spirited as this collection is.  Until then, I think we need to do everything in our power to make sure they don’t succeed in November.

THIS Is What We’re Up Against!

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By now, I’m sure that many of those reading this blog, or on the facebook blog page, have read the story of the North Carolina maniac, disguised as a pastor, who told his congregation to physical abuse their young children if they thought they were beginning to show homosexual tendencies.  That’s right!  In his words, “I give you a special dispensation this morning to…” crack the perceived limp wrists of their very young boy if they thought he was showing homosexual tendencies.  “Man up”.  He also urged them to PUNCH the boy.

I have to pause for a moment to regain my composure and dignity.

What’s worse is the “congregation” he was delivering the “sermon” to were laughing, cheering, and offering their “amen” to the words of this barbarian.    I’m guessing that advocating the harm of a child isn’t a crime in North Carolina.  Or, is that ok “as long as it’s done for religious, political, or philosophical beliefs.”?

My mind wants to go back to the person who “Anonymously” posted a comment last month to one of the blog entries who said that it was “absolutely absurd” to blame religious and political “leaders” for what’s going on in this country, and around the world, today when it comes to the LGBT community and, in particular, the LGBT youth.  Those words don’t go away.  I seeth every time they replay in my mind.

It doesn’t get any clearer than this:  what we’re witnessing right now in this country is an all-out war against the LGBT community.  Keep in mind, as well, that there was also recent a “DJ”, DJ Dominic Dieter, who went on record as telling a father that he should get one of his friends to screw his lesbian daughter straight.  For a nation so obsessed with terrorism, and the threat thereof (and, rightfully so), it’s interesting that groups who publicly wage war against a segment of our population aren’t considered domestic terrorists.  To be fair, I will add that a number of these maniacs are, in fact, listed as hate groups.  Wouldn’t you, as a Christian, be just a little leery about going to a church that is listed as a hate group?  Well, yes, of course you would.  That is, of course, unless your mind is as warped as those who lead these “churches”.

Here’s the issue in plain black and white:  we are in the fight of our lives, as a community, right here and right now.  At stake is our freedom, as a community, as “they” systematically attempt to erase all gains that have been made over the past few years as it pertains to marriage equality and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  WORSE, what’s at stake is the very lives of the LGBT teens from coast-to-coast and border-to-border as we see one political and/or religious “leader” after another all but say “we don’t care that they’re killing themselves.  If they’d stop being LGBT, they’d feel better about themselves and wouldn’t commit suicide.”  We need to let them know that this is 100% unacceptable.  From this constant attack, led by highly visible “leaders” comes the mentality of the young ones that it’s okay, and even expected of them, to bully those they perceive to be LGBT.  


I get a little emotional about this.

This just shows what we’re up against.  It shows that we need to fight harder, with even more conviction, and we need every single available voice to speak up loudly and clearly.  The message needs to be crystal clear:  we are NOT second-class citizens; we are NOT mistakes; we ARE equal in every sense of the word; and, God’s opinion of me and my life is between me and God.  Being gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender has NOTHING to do with the quality of our character.  We are PEOPLE, first and foremost.


Spread the word.  Every voice is needed…right now!

Love and Determination

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It’s great to know that there’s a safe place where people can reach out and know that someone will reach back for them.  A member on the facebook blog page sent me a private message that was beautiful yet disturbing at the same time.  It illustrates, perfectly, how and how not to create a healthier environment for LGBT teens.

I don’t know where to begin. I just know that I need to share this. My 14 yr old son came out to me two weeks ago. He is bisexual. I knew something had been bothering him, he seemed so angry, so sullen, and sad. I didn’t know what was going on, and though I tried he never seemed to talk to me. Then 2 months ago all the sudden he started opening up. We talked about everything. I finally had my happy, bright, smiling child back. When he told me he was bisexual I could tell he was nervous. I could tell he was scared. He blurted it out and I think my response surprised him. I laughed. He asked me if I thought he was joking, and I said, NO that’s not why I had laughed. I laughed because I am bisexual too. I laughed because I love him. I laughed because I was happy that he could share that with me, something SO brave at his age to do. When I told him that, he laughed too.

Oh how I wish that’s where it ended happily, but it’s not. My dear sweet son has been living with his dad for the last couple of years. He wanted so much to get to know his dad better, but things aren’t going well. When my son came out to his father, he flipped out. He said some horrible things. And then he called me, to yell at me. Because I knew before he did. Because I didn’t come running to him with that information. He made it all about himself, and how I had lied to him, that my son CHOOSES to be “this way” and that by not telling him I am a bad parent because I put his “life in danger”. My son’s father apparently thinks that coming out and telling people you are gay or bisexual unleashes some sort of free for all orgy and my son will now magically get an STD based on a vocal admission of his sexuality.

My son will be coming to live with me now. I have always been a supporter of the LGBT community for myself of course, but somehow it’s a deeper support, now that it’s my child. I’ve never felt more protective of him than I do now because if his own father could behave like a hateful bigot….I don’t want to finish that thought.

I needed to share this because it NEEDS to be heard. Parents NEED to realize that their children are part of who they are, no matter what their sexuality is. They are still that baby you held in your arms. They are still that child that reached to you when they were hurt. They are still that smart little person you help teach to ride their bike or tie their shoes. And they can still be the successful and happy adult you’ve always dreamt they could be. Sexuality shouldn’t be a deal breaker to parenthood, to LOVE.

I want people to think back, remember that sweet face that came bouncing into a room. That sweet little voice that said “I love you mommy, daddy” and remember she/he is the SAME child as before. Nothing changes that, nothing!

Whereas the father in this case makes my blood boil, we’ve sadly learned that this is far from unusual.  We know from recent history that there are parents, and in some cases both parents!, who reject their own offspring simply because of who they are.  We need look no farther than January, and the suicide death of EricJames Borges, to be reminded of the devastating effects parental rejection can have on LGBT teens.  Any teens, for that matter!  The bright side is that he has a fantastic mother who is there to support, protect, and nurture her LGBT son.

What was most impressive about this, though, was the bravery of the teen, himself.  It would be much easier, and healthier!, for him to simply pick up and flee to his accepting mother.  Instead, he chose to stay with his intolerant father through the remainder of the school year, hoping “…to make some progress…” with him.  That speaks volumes for his inner strength and courage.  Let’s hope it works out in his favor.

As for the dad, reality seems to be only a concept.  His viewpoint on the LGBT community and his own son are antiquated, at best.  Maybe the son can get through to him.  Let’s hope so, anyway.  Look, loving is much easier, much healthier, and much less stressful than hating.  Especially when it comes to your very own offspring.

The silver lining to this is that due to this 14-year-old’s tenacity, and because of the unconditional love and support of his mother, he gives other LGBT teens hope.  It can and does get better.

Written by Ron Kemp

April 26, 2012 at 5:30 am

Asperger’s and Being Bullied

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There was a very sobering video posted today on the facebook blog page, courtesy of Wipe Out Suicide and Wipe Out Homophobia.  Sobering because it was a mother telling how her 5-year-old son had been bullied to the point where he wanted to die.  Five years old!!!  There can’t be a more resounding wake-up call than that.asperger4The story of 5-year-old Aden is both heartbreaking and familiar.  Heartbreaking, for obvious reasons.  When you have anyone feeling so much emotional pain because of the actions of a few people who carelessly abuse them because they are “different”, that’s a problem.  When you have a 5-year-old saying he wants to die because of the treatment he’s getting, that’s a 5-alarm blaze.

I could connect with this because Marty, my 23-year-old surrogate son, deals with the same issue.  Like Aden, Marty is not your average Joe.  He’s uniquely Marty.  And, that’s okay.  He’s highly intelligent, as I’m sure Aden is.  He yearns to be accepted by his peers, like Aden; yet, because he’s perceived as different, it’s a constant challenge for him to gain acceptance .  As a result, he struggles with social anxiety.  Like Aden, all he yearns for is to be accepted, by his peers, by anybody…simply for being Marty.  That’s not asking too much.  Isn’t that what we all want?  Sure it is.  And, sadly, like Aden, Marty has voiced on occasions that “I don’t belong in this world”.  I’ve worked hard for 3 1/2 years to show him that he’s wrong.

Like Marty, Aden will grow into the understanding that there IS a place in this world for him.  He’s got an incredible mother who, right now while he’s still very young, is Aden’s “voice”.  On that, alone, he’s got a leg up on Marty.  But, that’s a whole different story.  Like Marty, Aden will grow into the understanding that Asperger’s is simply something he has to deal with in his life, but it’s not who he is.  In the 3 1/2 years he’s been with me, Marty has done nothing but grow.  It’s amazing what positive reinforcements can do for a person.  It’s sad, though, that he had to wait until he was an adult before he had someone who would take the time to give him that daily positive reinforcement.  And, that gives Aden a major leg up!!!  His mother, in speaking out with this video, should win “Mother of the Year” accolades!!  Asperger’s isn’t a death sentence.  It’s just extra luggage to carry as you embark on your journey through life.autism

Here’s the real problem.  How is it that five-year-old kids can be so intolerant and mean as to make one of their peers want to end his life!?  That’s a REAL problem!!  And, there’s no way you can blame a 5-year-old for that behavior.  I’ve said it a thousand times but, obviously, it needs to be said tens of thousands more times:  the issue of bullying isn’t just about the young people, IT’S THE ADULTS WE HAVE TO FOCUS ON!!  The young people are learning this level of meanness and intolerance from people much older than themselves.  Take that to the bank.  And, perhaps, it isn’t the parents, directly.  Maybe it’s the older siblings.  However, the link still goes back to the parents.  Adults are the root to this whole bullying problem, like it or not.  The issue with Aden makes that woefully clear.

I challenge every single adult and, especially, parent to monitor themselves.  Do it for a week.  How are the young people in your life seeing you deal with other people, people you perceive as different?  How are they hearing you talk about a different ethnic group than your own, about members of the LGBT community, about someone with a disability?  How they see and hear YOU deal with people you perceive as “different” is how they are taught to deal with them.  Plain and simple.  And, as is made obvious by this video and 5-year-old Aden, they learn young.

Spread love.

Embrace diversity.

Teach acceptance.

It’s the only way we’re going to change this culture of hatred and intolerance.  As Aden’s mother stated poetically in the video:  “Love…cures.  Hate…kills.  Be nice to others.  It starts with you.”  It’s really just that simple.AutismAwarenessHeader

Written by Ron Kemp

April 12, 2012 at 7:13 am

A Culture of Hate

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It’s been said many times that this “war” that’s going on for equality, to end hate and intolerance, is nothing new.  We know from history that this is true.  History has provided us with instance after bloody instance of how hate permeates our culture.

As a reminder of some of the examples of extreme hatred and intolerance in recent history, it wasn’t really that long ago that a man named Hitler set out to exterminate anybody who wasn’t like himself.  It wasn’t that long ago when blacks had to ride on the back of the bus, were lynched just for being black, or couldn’t even vote.  I remember those days, actually.

I remember, as a very young boy, maybe 6, living in a small, backwards Virginia city called Portsmouth.  This was back in the early 60s, so racism was rampant there.  I was riding my bike farther away from home than I was allowed to, but I was a 6 year old boy.  Since when do THEY listen!?  As I went to ride across an intersection, this royal blue ’64 Ford Galaxie with a white top attempted to make a left turn.  We both screeched to a halt in the middle of the intersection.  The driver was a middle-aged white man with dark sunglasses.  We sat there in the middle of the intersection for what seemed like an hour, to a 6 year old boy, just staring at each other.  I was staring because I was 6 and didn’t know any better.  In addition, he was staring at me, so I figured it was what I was supposed to do in return.  However, thank God I was born with good intuition because, even at that early age, my young gut told me that this guy was dangerous.  Eventually, he peeled off past me and on down the street and I continued on along my way.  I saw him hang a hard right at the next intersection, and my gut told me that was not a good thing.  Sure enough, as I neared the approaching corner, which had a gas station on it, there was that very same 64 royal blue Ford Galaxie 500 with the white top.  My heart raced.  Thank God for my young intuition!  As I approached the car for a second time, the man with the menacing stare from moments ago lept from his car and lunged towards my 6 year old back with what had to be a 12″ dagger.  Already sensing that he was going to try and harm me, I was able to speed past him just ahead of the blade meant to tear into my back.  This man was willing to kill a 6 year old boy for no other reason than the fact that he was black!

Of course, there’s a much longer list of instances of pure hatred and narrow-minded, fear-induced intolerance.

Today, we’re in the midst of yet another struggle of right vs. wrong, good vs. evil, love vs. hate.  The LGBT community’s battle for equality and acceptance is, for sure, today’s Civil Rights Movement.  And, just as the case with that small 6 year old black kid in southern, racist Portsmouth, VA, there are people one “the other side” of the battle who have so much hatred and intolerance in them, they would use extreme measures rather than see us achieve simple equality.  One only has to look at the level of violence against members of the LGBT community to get a sobering snapshot of just how intense this battle truly is.  Watching from the sidelines are tomorrow’s LGBT community:  the LGBT teens.  Watching with the hope that we’ll win this war so that they will be able to simply live their lives happily, safely, and with the one they fall in love with.  We can’t let them down.

A regular reader contact me recently.  Inspired by the recent blog post about Daniel Zamudio, and himself a writer, he sent me a poem that needs to be shared.  It fits seamlessly with the emotion of the day and with the theme of this post:

If history had gone another way
Non-whites would be second class citizens
If history went another way
Jews would  still be in death camps
If history went another way
Gays would have been shot on sight
If history went another way
Hate and fear would control the hearts of leaders
So tell me now!
Tell me if you condone of such hate
Tell me now!
If you wish this upon others
Tell me now!
So I can sleep at last
Or lie in my bed  waiting for the nightmare of hate to become reality once more
TELL ME NOW!
If you so wish to kill or harm such a person
For little more for their religion
Their race
Their love
TELL ME NOW!
So that I can have a clear path ahead of me
Tell me now
So that when the time comes
I know where to stand
Tell me now.
Because as I witness hate I shall not stand idle no more.                           Written by Devin Callan

We cannot afford to stand idle.  Not now.  No more.  Each voice needs to be heard.  Our message needs to be clear.  Hitler was defeated.  The Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s was won by the black community.  Today’s Civil Rights Movement focuses on the LGBT community.  It’s a battle that can, and must, be won.