Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"You hate me!"

As I walk across the street, I see two people on the other side, one angry and pointing a shaky finger, while the other shakes his head left and right. The pointer stares accusingly into the eyes of the clearly guilty individual to whom he is speaking. I say "clearly guilty" because all the pointee can do is stand there and respond, "No, I don't hate you."

Isn't it just like guilty people not to even be able to have a good come-back? Instantly my need to defend the weak kicks in. Jerk, I think! Now, I have no idea what's going on, but all I see is this poor soul who has clearly been the target of another's hatred, the object of his ridicule, the subject of his need to feel superior. I reach the sidewalk, my eyes locked onto the hater, venom threatening to spew forth from my mouth. How dare you treat someone like that? I don't even know what "like that" is, but whatever it is...I don't like that!

Before I can say anything, I hear, "Yes, you do. You hate me. You hate what I stand for. You know what? You disgust me. Who are you to judge me?"

Yeah, tell him! I say inside my mind.

I'm now standing several feet away from these two, listening intently, waiting for my chance to chime in on behalf of the one so obviously oppressed by the other. After all, something horrific must have been perpetrated on him to make him respond so vehemently.

"I don't hate you," is the lame, pathetic response. I disagree with you, but I don't hate you."

Likely story, I seethe. You bum!

The accuser continues. "How do you think"--he pauses to look around and then finds me standing there, so he points to me and continues--"he would feel if I hated him just because he's Black?"

There's a collective stir in the crowd and a closing-in not lost on the accused who almost pleads, "I don't hate you. I disagree with you, yes. But please don't think I hate you."

"People like you ought to be locked up, you filthy piece of self-righteous trash--you and everybody who thinks like you. Why don't you admit it? You stinkin' hate me!"


De'ja' vu, right? For those of you who don't know, de'ja' vu is a French term which basically means, I know I've experienced this before. You're feeling that right now, aren't you? Tell the truth. This scenario is not new. We see it all the time in our society.

Okay, enough messing around. Let's get down to business.

Who are these people on the street? I bet you're one of them. The finger pointer--the one with whom we often sympathize--could be anybody who uses the new wave of hate-speech to advance his agenda. Now, I say "new wave of hate-speech" because the old kind is passe'. The old hate-talk was where one person or group would vomit words of racism, sexism, classism, or other insults. This new stuff would put the old to shame. This new stuff is where someone points a finger at someone else and declares before all the world, "You hate me. You want to oppress me. I'm different, and you can't stand me because of it." So instead of saying, "I hate you" (the old stuff), the new wave goes on the offensive and says, "You hate me," even when this accusation is completely erroneous and unfounded.

Believe it or not, the accused who's standing there pitifully trying to convince the finger pointer that he's a lover, not a fighter--the one we normally want to annihilate simply because it's been suggested that he's a hate-mongering meany--is actually the victim. This poor guy engages this other character in conversation that will never amount to anything. The best thing he could have done was walk away. See, he lost the minute the accuser said the words "hate" and "black." This is akin to a portion of the famous To Kill A Mockingbird novel, which happens to be my favorite piece of literature ever. Those of you who know the story will remember that after innocent (and Black) Tom Robinson's conviction for the rape of Mayella Ewell, Scout has an ephiphany. She comes face to face with the sad way of the world.

"Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson, but in the secret courts of men's hearts Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed." Chapter 25

See, although Mayella, who claimed to be hated, really wasn't, as soon as she but said she was hated and violated, Tom, the accused, had lost because, don't you know, people sit around all day looking for someone to point fingers at, looking for someone to accuse of some kind of ism or schism? It's what people do. It's the new wave of hate-speech. They find some unsuspecting soul and scream.

Now, I, as the onlooker, am not inconsequential or neutral in the scenario, and neither are you, as the reader. I, perhaps, play the largest role of all. I'm the one who is so easily caught up in the spectacle, and because I hear, "You hate me!" my hackles rise and I want to fight on behalf of the hated. After all, I understand because I've been hated too, and I know what it feels like. The pointer has turned his bony finger on me, and suggests that the hater would treat me the same way because I'm Black. Then everything begins to blur for me, and, as if I'm not having trouble already, I can no longer decipher who's who. Are we talking about me or him, you know? So what do I do? In my confusion, I wait for an opportunity to fight against the hater, and had the scenario continued, you would have seen me run for reinforcements. That's where you come in. I would have told all my neighbors and organizations about what I heard, and we would have declared an all-out war--because surely such injustices must be avenged. We can't let people get away with treating me...I mean that, can we?

Hold up. Wait a minute. Did anyone hear the man say, "I don't hate you. I disagree with you, but I don't hate you"? Well, why don't we believe him? See, this is my point. People with an agenda always try to have their way by accusing people who disagree with them of hating them. When did we get to the place where we have to check only one of two boxes: Either you agree with us or you hate us? Can't I love you and disagree with you at the same time? Why can't I love you but not love what you do? Oh...I know why: because it sounds too much like church-talk: "Love the sinner; hate the sin." And the new wave hate speech posse won't buy into anything they associate with the Religious Right, as they call us. Well, I have something to say about all this. Just like I can walk and chew gum simultaneously, I can love you and disagree with you--at the same time! And you're not going to convince me that I hate you. Here's a news flash: I DON'T HATE YOU! Here's an even better one: YOU CAN'T MAKE ME HATE YOU! Isn't that what you're really trying to do? You really want me to hate you. That way you can continue to paint yourself as a victim--and you actually hate me because I won't hate you. Look at the scenario above. Which of the three was hurling hateful, angry words? Exactly!

Whether you're gay, lesbian, a proponent of gay marriage, an illegal immigrant, an abortion supporter, or're not going to control me, neither are your liberal lawyers and advocates. See, the plan is this: You tell me and your sympathizers that I hate you, and then I do like the dude in the scenario: I expend all types of energy trying to prove to you that I don't hate you. I hang out in your circle of friends, I invite you to speak at my church, I give money to your causes, I defend you to those who speak against you, I compromise the Word of God. "I'll do anything, Masta. Just please don't say I hate you. I couldn't live with myself if you--and the rest of the world--think that I hate anyone."
See, just like Tom Robinson in To Kill A Mockingbird, they had you--in the minds of the simple--at the word "hate," but then they caused extra outrage when they linked themselves to "Black" people. That's another tactic--and a good one at that because everyone knows how sensitive that subject is. Well, listen to this. You can't compare homosexuality, for example, to Blackness. I was born Black, it can't be denied, it can't be hidden, and therefore, there was no closet to come out of. I had no choice but to be out. My people could not have chosen not be oppressed. On the other hand, a gay person could, if desired, hide that aspect of themselves. By that very fact alone, the two can't be compared. Now, a homosexual may decide not to hide, but again, that's a decision. Can a Black person make that same decision? Of course not. It is an insult, therefore--and a gross misunderstanding of the plight of the oppressed--to compare the two.
Back to the subject of hate. I am not in favor of anybody displaying hatred toward anybody else. I am a Christian, and it's the love and mercy of God that compel me. God is a God of grace, kindness, and forgiveness. He's also a God of truth. And He doesn't abandon the latter to display the former, and neither should we. They're inextricably linked. That's how I can say, "I love you, but I don't agree with you." That's how I can say, "I'm not buying into your agenda." Truth be told, think about the reaction to Prop 8. Who's been knocking old ladies down in the street? Who's been going to churches and disrupting their services? Who's been vandalizing church buildings? And yet the victims of such actions are called the hate-mongers? Are you kidding me?! Funny, however--in a non-humorous way--that Black Christians were the predominant people who stood up against gay marriage, and yet their churches and people are not being harrassed. Isn't that curious? But then, that would be counter-productive. How could they continue to connect their situation with the situation of Black people who are discriminated against if they then turned around and attacked Blacks? See, there's always an agenda. They're very picky about who they accuse of hatred. If it doesn't serve their cause, they look the other way.
Bottom line: I don't hate you. But I don't have to agree with you. So the next time you scream "Hate-monger!" in my direction, I'll just keep walking in the other direction. You can't make me hate you. So don't bother trying.


Alison January 14, 2009 at 7:11 PM  

Okay...awesome once again! Thank you for sharing your thoughts so eloquently with us. It is evident that you are a woman of the Word! God bless you. Thanks for putting CCWAV up as a link!

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