The only way to confront hate is with love.
I experienced that today. I was in NYC public transportation and a woman was saying things that anyone would consider hate speech. She made fun of protected classes, and generally said things so loud that half of the riders turned to look at her. I was sitting at her back so I had to act. I asked her nicely if she wouldn’t mind being a little more quiet.
Her response? “I don’t care what a fag like you says.” I responded “Are you saying that I am gay?” She said “It’s a free country isn’t it?” I asked her again “All I asked was that you just speak quieter.” Her boyfriend turned and looked at me and then said to me “I will make sure she is quieter.” She continued to abuse me however and then shut up.
I don’t care that I was called gay. By ignorant people it is a badge of honor to be called names. Why I acted is that when people don’t get challenged on their hate, they take it that others want to hear their hateful speech. No one wanted to hear her hateful speech. It is the responsibility of all of us that hateful speech is never acceptable.
This isn’t the first time that I have been abused when I have defended people. Many times in my life I have been insulted when I confronted white people who were hateful. I have confronted other races that have been hateful as well, but since I am mostly around white people I have most experience with them.
I don’t believe that anything hateful is helpful. We can feel angry about things, like the injustice and unfairness in the world. Of the cruelty and hatred of others, but we can’t act on that. We have to forgive others as I have already forgiven this hateful woman.
One day she might recognize her mistake. Our ignorance and hate punishes ourselves, we don’t need anyone else to punish us.