When Hate Hit Home: Do you hear this voice?
by Madeline Maxine Gorman
This year’s season theme at Joe’s Movement Emporium is “When Hate Hits Home.” While reading this theme, images of heinous acts of racism, sexism, and homophobia flashed across my mind. However, as a person with immense privileges in ability, education, gender identity, race, and religion, I have never experienced hate on a consistent basis. I was sexually assaulted by a stranger on the bus, but witnesses jumped in to help me. I have been physically attacked walking down the street, but I did not hesitate to call the police. Acts of hate are shocking to me, not an expectation of simply being alive. What do I know about hate?
Throughout college, I studied mass media and its effects on our society. Subtle examples of bigotry in all its forms are present around us. When you wake up in the morning and turn on the news, tune in to the radio on your way to work, drive past billboards on the highway, flip through a magazine at a doctor’s office, binge watch your favorite show, or listen to music. While it may seem innocuous, this steady stream of information affects perceptions of others and ourselves.
In this way, I often wonder if sometimes the most destructive forces of hate can live inside us. A quiet voice that tells us we are wrong to wear that outfit, to expect action from our politicians, to have sent our children to that particular school, to defend ourselves at work, to march, to protest, to live. Sometimes hate is a constant voice within the home of our minds.
Do you hear this voice?
The hate that I know and experience comes from within. From a very young age, I felt intensely uncomfortable with myself. I hated the way that I looked, talked, and acted. I felt deep self-loathing whenever I failed to conform to one of society’s expectations, especially regarding my sexuality and social behavior. When I got older, I realized that countless others felt this way too. Most importantly, I realized that it doesn’t have to be this way.
As a privileged person, I cannot imagine how difficult the task of living is for individuals who are targets of hate both within society AND within themselves. What I do know is that we must try to end hate in all its forms. We must continue to challenge instances of hate on our streets, as well as in our media. We must fight hate with our actions, words, and minds. A world without hate must start with each one of us. We must not only end hateful acts of violence and bigotry, but also recognize and bring an end to the hate that lives within.