Sunday, February 18, 2007

Coffee Talk

Tim Hardaway's recent comments, when asked what he would think about having a homosexual teammate, have brought up an interesting conversation. His comment was as follows: "You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people,". If that wasn't enough he added this, "I'm homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States." Hardaway's went on to say that he would ask that the player be removed from the team. That being said, I don't want to discuss homosexuality, free speech, or tolerance but I think this speaks more to the topic of discrimination. There are so many different forms of discrimination in society today, and many times it is not as clear as in this recent case. The interesting aspect of this case is the source of the discrimination, Hardaway, who would never want any form of discrimination or hatred aimed at him. I have heard the correlation made between what Hardaway is advocating and the way African-American's had been treated in the past. Basically, he is talking about the removal of a segment of people. I suppose you have to discuss the nature of homosexuality before you make that connection, but it is an interesting way to look at the comment.

Voltaire said, "I may not agree with what you say, but to your death I will defend your right to say it."

Hardaway has the right to say what he said, but where does this hatred stem from? What are the roots of discrimination, and why does each new generation continue this hatred while creating new categories hate? Is it fear, is it cultural differences, is it just plain old-fashioned stupidity? I'm not saying Hardaway is stupid, but if he does know that the United States is in the world then maybe he is stupid, and maybe that is why he has this hatred. Talk amongst yourselves...


Dan said...

This is a great topic because whether people realize it or not, this does continue to happen throughout time. I think that people bring up controversial topics on purpose to figure out what to do and how to handle the situation. It could be a way to figure out what's right vs. wrong on a society level, or what a society does or does not want to have included in a society. This is obviously one of those times.

Back in the day it was lepers and prostitutes (even continues today), then it was things like witches, indians (native americans), blacks, disabled and homosexuals. There are just certain groups of people that a majority does not want in a society. Some people go overboard and are extreme with their views to the point where they kill them to take them out of their lives, and others tolerate them.

What's interesting is the end result and how it comes about. It could be that people change their opinion because it's the "right thing to do," accept them because there is no getting rid of them, containing them, or fighting it out until one side wins or loses.

I think with homosexuality it's going to come down to people just accepting them. It may not be the majority, but I think people will just accept them as they are in the long run. I have to imagine that this debate has been going on for hundreds or thousands of years. Right now it's a big topic because homosexuals are starting to fight for their rights to be accepted just like the african slaves did and what happened during the civil rights movement. That's why this is similar. If there wasn't a "civil rights" movement, and there was an "african american" movement, I don't think there would be a battle for homosexuals right now. The civil rights movement opened the door to debate the homosexuals since it's their "civil rights" that are being infringed by a majority that do not agree with them just like black people fought for their rights.

I'd be interested to see if we could come up with the next big debate of our time. Does anybody have an idea of what kind of things would be unacceptable 50 years from now? Would it be Christians? I think the Book of Revelation/Left Behind type people would think so, but I do not. Immigrants are a big thing right now, but I don't think that will be it either.

Thinking about it now, it will probably be something like cloned humans. 50 years from now, cloning humans should be near common place. Although there is no acceptance for it now, by 30 years it should be accepted, and by 50, those people would be in the world at an age of 0-20 and beginning to get into the work force, graduating college, etc. and people very well may think that they are "sub-human" or just an off-shoot of "real people."

What do you think the next discrimination will be?

Jason said...

Great question! I could see there being an issue with clones functioning in society. There also may be some issues with transhumans when the technology is perfected. I can see a potential return to class discrimination in the near future as well. I feel that african-americans have been accepted for a long time now, and as homosexuals become more accepted and gain more rights the general public (including formally discriminated against individuals) will collectively search for a new segment to "single out". It is really unfortunate, but definitely apart of life. (white-collar or blue-collar, homeowner or renter, male or female, gay or straight, Christian or atheist, etc..) We define ourselves by our difference, but the danger comes in when we say; your difference does not belong on the same level, in the state, in the same country as my difference. My difference is the best or the right difference. I hate your difference!
Basically, you are who you are and I am who I am, we are both law abiding citizens and we will share this space.

Dan said...

That is the exact ideal that makes America great. We allow difference of opinion in all shapes and sizes so long as you abide by the laws and the people are in power and have a government by representation. That is starting to sway a little. With all of the politics these days and the constant advertising of "the issues" we sometimes lose that one thing that makes America the greatest country in the world, freedom of opinion and action. The issues are what is helping propel these discrimination wars in my opinion. But I think it's healthy as long as we do not pass laws to curb that freedom.

Like you said Jason, as long as we don't try to eliminate a group of people or race and assimilate them into the society with compromise, everything should be ok. The homosexuals may find their niche and stick together somewhere and that's ok. It's like the Native Americans, African Americans, Irish, Germans, Jews, Christians, Atheists, Satanists, heterosexuals, bisexuals, homosexuals, heavy metal, alternative rock, pop, athlete, scholar, etc. All people find those similar to themselves, then branch out to gain acceptance from others.

America is best seen on a micro scale in a high school. Everyone has different opinions and runs in their group of friends. But when it's time to get down to work and make something better for yourself and others around you, all of that other stuff doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is that we can work together to accomplish a similar goal, graduate and move on. The exact same goes for college and the working world. I think everybody has their own opinions and their own quirks outside of work, but when you're at work, you don't talk about it. It doesn't matter.

For America and the United States, our goal is to provide a country where freedom, liberty, pursuit of happiness and the people rule with representation. Everything else doesn't matter. We're all just trying to work toward and keep that goal for everyone.

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