Sometimes I like to take some time for myself and be alone with my thoughts. On those days, I find myself silently laying on an empty patch of grass listening to the sound of water traveling south in the river close to my home. I fully engross in the feeling of oneness with nature, and enjoy the way the sun peers through the trees and falls on my face. In those moments I feel completely content with my existence in the world. I don’t feel rushed to be somewhere. I am able to simply exist.
However, a few days ago, as I lay in a zen state, my thoughts were interrupted by a group of teenagers traveling downstream in their water tubes. They were laughing and having a good time. I found their laughter refreshing and couldn’t help but smile. But my positive vibes were rudely interrupted by a group of guys, who I can only describe as Neanderthals.
See, one of the people in the tubes who was enjoying his day was gay, and that wasn’t to the liking of these Neanderthals. I could hear the boys say things like “let’s beat that fag up” as they tried to swim towards the group drifting on their tubes. Fortunately, they were too slow to catch up to them.
At this point, I was sitting upright and trying to see who these idiots were. I discovered that the guys spewing negativity were of African-American descent and this angered me even further. As decedents of people who experienced cruelty at the hands of others, simply for being whom they were, these boys should have known better. As colored people we should know not to mistreat people for being who they are. I am not African-American, but I am colored, and I remember being called vile names because I am colored. People who are close to me have been attacked for being colored. Being colored is not choice. Just like being gay isn’t a choice. The thought of attacking people for being who they are angers me to the core, and I was tempted to start a heavily heated discussion with these ignorant people when I suddenly became aware of my surroundings.
I was alone in a park, and I didn’t know how large their group was. I became frustrated with my inability to speak up and vocalize my thoughts. Instead I picked up my things, got in my car and drove home like a coward. I’m not sure what angered me more; listening to these Neanderthals spew their venom, or feeling helpless and not standing up for what I believe in. Maybe I wasted an opportunity to teach these boys to see the world through different lenses.
I will never know how the conversation would have gone, but what I know for certain is there are too many people in the world who judge without reason and hate where hatred is not needed.