When Hate Becomes Public Discourse

I’ve always wondered how the word gay became an acceptable negative. Words have consequences with sometimes unintended associations. What started out as banter between straight males has infiltrated the broader culture of negative. It is now commonly used as a negative descriptor to describe music, clothes, movies, etc. It rarely refers to a person’s sexuality, but the innuendo is implied.

The recent publicized suicides of young people due to being bullied in school only point out how toxic this banter can be. Those colors you used are gay, that song you sang in the school play was gay, that club you belong to is gay, and those sneakers are gay, or only a few examples. It is the tone and the caviler way they are commonly thrown about.
This has been on my mind for a while. I work with young people and have witnessed this phenomenon grow at a rapid pace. It is often kids mimicking what is acceptable in the culture at large. It is only getting worse.

What prompted me to write about this is the coverage of the health care debate and how, within a month, what was never acceptable to say or view has infiltrated the public airwaves. Words and images are cheapened and co-opted for political gain. The ugliness is being spread and will become commonplace. It will infect our society with repercussions that we will regret.

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