Monday, January 16, 2012

Wielding Power

I overheard a discussion about 'the gay guy'.

Period.

The gay guy.

There is a man, probably a multifaceted personality. Maybe he is a good neighbor, a valued friend. A beloved brother. A devoted son. Maybe he helps little old ladies across the street. Goes to church. Runs errands for the elderly. Is kind to animals. I mean, there is a million things that can probably be said about this guy, but all of that was dismissed. He was summed up in one adjective: gay, and it was uttered like an epithet.

Now this is what teenagers do to one another. They call each other names: Slut. Whore. Gay. They diminish each other, gossip about one another. High school is a place where people are bullied with words. If they are lucky, that is all that they are bullied with.

I am 54 years old, and my high school days are behind me,but I've held enough low paying service jobs to understand that the mean does not stop, that middle aged women can be just as malicious as any high school girl. Their goals are the same. They want to be at the top of the pecking order. They want to wield the power, whether we are talking about a social clique or the local Kwik Fill.

So, yes, I understand it. But then I went to college, and I thought that with education, I would be entering a new world where people made sense, and where I understood the rules.

It is more disappointing than I can say to find that I've walked through that door and the view is, so far, not all that different.

3 comments:

A Novel Woman said...

There are educated bigots as well as ignorant ones. At least you recognize them for what they are.

Brianna said...

I thought the same thing, Mom. I was looking forward to more "enlightened" sorts of people when I started college. However, the other day, I was proven wrong during a discussion of a rather controversial topic in the discussion forum. Someone made their (very demeaning) opinion of a group of people known, and I made my argument. The scary thing is, the professor backed him up, privately reprimanded me, and told me not to post on this thread anymore. She said that as the comment was not directed at me personally, I had no right to take offense to it. Bad enough that grown adults act like this, but when it is one of your professors...

Bill of Wasilla said...

Even so, this post causes me to feel proud of you.