Thursday, April 06, 2006

Sometimes, I wonder if things will ever change.

And then I explain to him how naive we were, that the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe.
- Elie Wiesel, Night.

On Tuesday, that place was the center of my universe.

I'm not naive to the cruelty of the world. Granted it is true that I live in a sort of bubble, sheltered from the negative effects of the outside world. But the bubble is clear, and I can see it, and ultimately, it affects me. I'd also just like to say that I in no way am comparing the cruelty that I witness throughout my days, to the tragedy that Elie Wiesel experienced during his time at Auschwitz. I am merely making a connection between his words, and their relevance...even today.

When I was 17, I laid witness to a number of my fellow high school classmates, chucking plastic footballs at the head of an openly gay student, as he paraded across the football field during our Homecoming game. He never hung his head, he never lost his smile, and I felt embarrased to call some of these young boys my friends. I think that day I started to hate high school just a little bit.

On Tuesday, on my walk to Walgreens, I was blasted back to the past as I watched a man cross the street in fromt of me, being ridiculed by a couple of young men standing outside a local Brady Street bar.

But this man hung his head, ashamed of who he was in the eyes of these men.

He was a crossdresser.

As this man crossed in front of me I tried to give him a reassuring "You're not a freak" smile, and I hope that because of it he went home knowing that not everyone out there is that cruel or judgemental. But I know that a smile sometimes is not enough, and in my silence, I allowed those men to continue living their cruel lives and gave them the opportunity to do it yet again to another innocent human being.

In my silence I cried. Cried for the humility of the man in front of me, cried for the cruelty that exists in the world today, and cried for the shame I felt as I silently walked into Walgreens, not saying a single word to anyone.


Lia said...

Hi! Here from Michele's

Erin said...

Wow Christi this is a really good post. I haven't started reading that book yet but what a true thought. I always feel so terrible about myself when I see something bad happening or see someone who needs help and yet I just keep on walking. I WANT to help, or speak up, or whatever, but then I get too scared. I think most of us are like that. It's like, at least we FEEL for the person (as opposed to being an emotionless, indifferent jerk), but at the same time, that doesn't help the person being tormented one little bit.

Christi said...

I totally finished the book in one sitting. I couldn't put it down.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

An excellent post, Christi. Well done.

Anonymous said...

You know who you should really cry for? You should cry for yourself. Cry for the fact that you are a shallow human being who only cares about herself and her "bubble". Do you think just because you smiled at a crossdresser that you are such a wonderful person helping solve the world's problems? You didn't say anything to the men because you didn't want them to judge YOU.

Also, you admitted that you are sheltered from the negative effects of the outside world. It's too bad that people outside your precious bubble aren't sheltered from the negative effects of you!

Christi said...

I love anonymous rants on my blog =)

Maybe next time you should read the post a bit more before you yet again spout your accusations.

I fully admitted in the post that I should have spoken up. That's what the entire post was about. Never did I say anything about solving the worlds problems.

And I didn't speak up bc I'm shy and wouldn't even know how to stand up to them, without playing into their name-calling game as well.

You're trying to pick a fight with the wrong person. I don't play into immaturity.

Erin said...

You tell 'em Christi!

I don't get anonymous, ass-hole posts either. I don't get mean comments on blogs, period! I just had a rude person of my own (maybe she wandered over here?) - not as bad as this but it still pissed me off!

People are lame. Your post was great and it's wonderful that you can admit these feelings that almost everyone has. Rock on.

atpanda said...

Oh man. That's totally rough. Can you imagine living a life where you're constantly having to defend how you live? I just can't imagine...
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Mark said...

Intolerance of diversity makes me sick... It's a shame that such a progressive neighborhood like Brady is home to such close-mindedness and insecurity.

Next time, don't be shy to speak your mind. Not only is a single voice a powerful instrument, it can be a means of mass inspiration.

Michael Manning said...

When in Junior High School, we had a Korean kid we nicknamed "Fuji" from the olf re-runs of the sit com McHales Navy. One of our friends (who later became a police officer) confronted us and said, "How would you guys feel if you were teased every day like that. His name is Steve!" We all apologized to Steve and became best of buds. He is now a young heart surgeon in Columbus, Ohio and married to a beautiful girl!