Be the change

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FullMetal

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I just wanted to put this here because I like to discuss serious topics more with the members of this site rather than the whole forum. This is a thread is not only about this young tragedy but also about what this world has come to.

Lawrence King was a 15-year-old boy who was openly gay and frequently wore make up to school. He was teased constantly but had many supporters as well. When Lawrence asked another boy in his grade to be his valentine (the day before valentines day) the boy answered him with a clear shot to the back of the head. Lawrence was pronounced brain dead the next day. This video is Ellen DeGeneres speaking about the tragedy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcMEL3_YsVI

Now, I understand that it was the boys fault for killing Lawrence and he is paying the price, but this is worth nothing in the end. I feel it is futile to change anything, even in this day and age, even with Lawrence's death! Soon his death will be forgotten, only to show up in some news article when another child is murdered for their diversity. So many people are to blame for this child's death, it is appalling.

I know we have the very best people here, and we are a group of tolerance. I know that none of you could ever commit such a crime but at the same time, I believe that so many of us are to blame, I am even to blame. Because when I hear a gay joke, or a racist joke, I laugh, and it's hard to admit it, but do you? When a racist joke comes up or a bias joke is being told by your friend, do you tell them that it's really just not cool? That it is really just setting us backwards? That it leads to the same type of crimes as Lawrence's? I know I don't, but I have been trying, and that is all I ask of you. Just try your hardest to not say "Darn, this test is so gay!" Really? Is the test gay? The last time I checked the test wasn't staring at that hot guys ass. It takes the same amount of effort to say, "Darn, this test is so stupid."

I am not trying to make you guys change who you are, not in the least, I love every single one of you for your own individualities, but I am just asking you to stop using hate as jokes. To stop saying words like gay, and fag and queer in a joking manner, because even if you do not mean "This test is homosexual" your saying "this test is stupid" and the thing that you are really doing is saying homosexuals are stupid and worthless. And I am not stretching anything, it's a direct reflection of what we are linking our words to. I am just asking you to think before you speak, and the next time you want to say something is stupid, say it's stupid. Or the next time you hear a friend telling a bias or racist joke, say "hey man, that's really not cool" because all we are doing is giving a thumbs up to people just like that boy who killed Lawrence, even though we can't see it.

Again, I am not asking you to change yourself, just try and be the change.

FullMetal
 
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Gingy

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Isnt "Be The Change" a group that goes to schools and tells students to get rid of their old friends and get new ones? They came to my school and litterally told us to get new friends.
 
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FullMetal

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Isnt "Be The Change" a group that goes to schools and tells students to get rid of their old friends and get new ones? They came to my school, it was total BS.
I am not sure, Ellen used it in the actual show, and I thought it was a really nice way of putting it. There are many groups about hate, and I do not think what I said was BS but you can have your own opinion.

FullMetal
 

Gingy

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I do not think what I said was BS but you can have your own opinion.

FullMetal
I meant how they told us to get new friends! Not your thread.
I realized it was unclear so I edited it right after it was posted but you quoted me before it was updated.

Sorry bout dat
 

Dawes

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FullMetal,

First off, I must say that I think this was one of the most mature and sensible, open-minded posts that I've ever seen posted in the history of this board (both TBDL and ADISC). You target a lot of thoughts and ideas with this, and you do it in such a sensible and sensitive way. For that, I salute you -- everyone needs to read this post, everyone needs to take this post to heart, and everyone needs to at least understand what it could do when in application during their life.

I'll be the first to admit (as I'm not one to lie), I have a disgusting-ass mouth with a disgusting penchant for using batteries of derogatory remarks. Not a day goes by that I don't call something "queer," or "gay," or worse, though I myself have an immense understanding, acceptance, and support for homosexuals. I also have two black friends who are so close to me that, in the course of some jokes -- which they themselves are perfectly permissive of -- I'll roll out the "n" word.

Do I like any of these words? Not as an object, no -- they are weapons when used in the worst way. But at the same time, they are words. Words are words are words -- they mean only what the reader or hearer believes them to be; they mean often only what their bordering thoughts and expressions commit them to.

I do believe that words can certainly breed hate when used in the poorest context, and I do believe there are loads of people who don't know when to shut their mouths when it overruns their ass. It is those people that are the problem.

However, would I consider myself a problem if these words, remarks, and terms are used in a specifically private atmosphere? No. That might differentiate from your feeling on the topic, Full, but these words are ones that I use within the borders of my home, on the telephone in private conversations, and when surrounded entirely by my friends. My friends are my blood and my family; we know what goes and what doesn't. Yes, when we get together, our mouths overflow with gay jokes, skin-color jokes, race jokes, religious jokes ... but never in public. These words as humor are kept within the borders of our safe-havens, because we all understand, accept, and are totally cool with the idea that in a public atmosphere, people should not be exposed to our ("playful") bigotry.

If someone came up to any of my friends -- especially those who could be most hurt by them when wielded as intentionally harmful expressions -- and used one of the above derogatory remarks, there would be a fight. There have been fights. I will not pause in punching a son-of-a-bitch in the mouth for abusing a friend or loved-one. I have not paused in the past.

Now, do I condone the use of these words or phrases? No, not unless you've studied your stuff enough to know when it's alright to use them and when the ears that hear them are ones that you can trust.

Although I think there are many people who are the problem, I also think that it's difficult to necessarily pin the blame on society, too, especially when a lot of society might have truly had nothing to do with it.
 

Ren

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Things like this are very imprinted and common in society, what you want to change. I'll say an example in another language that denigrates not specifically Gay people but it does to women.

Saying "Son of a Bi%&!" (hopefully you'll understand without me actually using the word) in spanish. The last word is used in feminine. This just promulgates the lie that is saying ONLY women are unfaithful in a relationship, or whatever. The very language, not only jokes, have such prejudices marked in it. Changing such a thing, I dare say, is nigh impossible and really, really hard since you cant just educate the whole world just like that...

Best thing one can do is do it oneself and set the example.
 
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FullMetal

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I meant how they told us to get new friends! Not your thread.
I realized it was unclear so I edited it right after it was posted but you quoted me before it was updated.

Sorry bout dat
Oh, no, that was me, I misread that, sorry.

FullMetal
 

Thallis

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Okay, I may be gay, and I may love Ellen, but I'm not fond of this segment. He was not killed because he was gay. He was killed because Brandon was scared. The kid is in 8th grade, doesn't understand much about homosexuality, but I'm sure he thought about it and thought it was gross. When I was in 8th grade, I thought it was disgusting too. But this kid comes up, and asks him to be his valentine. Why would you do that? That's putting Brandon in not only a very uncomfortable position, it is a scary position. There are all sorts of emotions of why this could be said. Was it a joke, did Lawrence think he was gay, Was Lawrence mocking him. Lawrence must be held at least in part responsible for his own demise.

Now, I'm not approving Brandon's actions, but, I'm sure he did not go in with the intent to kill, something just gripped him. No kid in eighth grade would in their right mind murder a fellow student. If he did intentionally do it, I'm sure something else was going on at home, maybe he's being abused, etc. Sane Thirteen and Fourteen year old kids don't just kill people over these kinds of things, I don't care if he's gay, straight, Black, Asian, or any combination.
 
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Now, I understand that it was the boys fault for killing Lawrence and he is paying the price, but this is worth nothing in the end. I feel it is futile to change anything, even in this day and age, even with Lawrence's death!
I've been saying it all along! Society is still far too intolerant toward diverse behaviour. We still hold traditional views close, views that came about in times of super-conformity, where people believed what was mentally spoon-fed to them, where people felt only in ways that the rest of society does - no questions asked. They accepted it because there was nothing else to believe in. If you don't give people the knowledge that there are other options out there, then they have no choice than to believe what you tell them.

Yes, the killer should be punished, however I do not think it was his fault entirely. As much as I hate pop-culture media like Ellen, she made a point when she said that "somewhere along the line the killer got the idea that it was so threatening to be gay, that the only option was to kill him". True, the kid got that message. Perhaps the authorities should investigate that - why he thought the only option was to kill him. He's still 15 years old! It's an age where a lot of mental development is going on (still a time when you can be very impressionable) compounded with the fact that there is peer pressure as well. Perhaps he was belittled by his friends over the Valentine proposal. Perhaps he was brought up in a strict heterosexual environment. Both factors that could have contributed to him snapping. It's not to say that he shouldn't be punished, but it definitely says that he is not entirely to blame.

Soon his death will be forgotten, only to show up in some news article when another child is murdered for their diversity. So many people are to blame for this child's death, it is appalling.
Sad truth, this is.

But another sad truth is that we've all become a little more apathetic as a society. If a murder goes on in the same street as you, yes, people are shocked, but they get over it the next week. I know I did (True story: a murder did take place on my street once. Everyone pretty much got over it the next day, myself included). You have to understand that although we recognise these things as terrible, unless we have an emotional connection with the victim, then expect the majority of people to be very uninterested in it.

I also think it has a lot to do with being conditioned as a society. We have become so used to seeing acts of violence, murder, rapes, vandalism, etc... that it now has a strong foundation in pop-culture. You only need to look as far as TV shows or movies that depict someone's murder - something which there are plenty of. Someone's life has gone from something of great importance all the way down to primetime television. Seriously, you wonder what's wrong with society? The fact that from our moment of birth we are bombarded with images and reports of horrendous acts, that from an early age we take these things to be perfectly acceptable.

I know we have the very best people here, and we are a group of tolerance. I know that none of you could ever commit such a crime but at the same time, I believe that so many of us are to blame, I am even to blame. Because when I hear a gay joke, or a racist joke, I laugh, and it's hard to admit it, but do you?
I have no problem in admitting that I've made quite a few racist and gay jokes/remarks before. I have no problem with it, but I can see the problem it causes for others.

Words like "gay" and "n----r" have made their way into the vernacular. Being exposed to them on a daily basis implants a subconscious message in your brain that these words are okay. You might be a person who never, ever says these things, but even people like that have to admit they've slipped up somewhere along the line, or even had a thought like "That person is so ****ing gay, I hate them". No one is immune to the pressures of society and I really doubt that one person making a change for the better is going to set things in motion.

People are far too unresponsive and unimpressed by stuff like that nowadays. Unless you do it in some huge, massive, spectacular way, expect not to get noticed. Even then, if you do get noticed, the best you'll get is a few minutes on the nightly news. Trying is admirable, but it's done in vain if your message just doesn't reach people. You can give it all your efforts and only get little in return.

When a racist joke comes up or a bias joke is being told by your friend, do you tell them that it's really just not cool? That it is really just setting us backwards? That it leads to the same type of crimes as Lawrence's? I know I don't, but I have been trying, and that is all I ask of you. Just try your hardest to not say "Darn, this test is so gay!" Really? Is the test gay? The last time I checked the test wasn't staring at that hot guys ass. It takes the same amount of effort to say, "Darn, this test is so stupid."
No, I don't tell them it is setting us back because it isn't. All it's doing is halting what progress we've made already. Eventually society will come around and being gay will be a perfectly acceptable thing. There is no going back, no reversal in our way of thinking. Society is hypocritical like this. We strive to more forward, yet on a personal level, we can't let go of our traditions of the past. We live by our past mistakes and agree to never go back to times like that, however, we still seem to fear what's ahead of us. This way of thinking is totally incompatible with what our goals are. Thus, until we get this sorted out and become less bigoted, our mental and emotional development is at a standstill.

I am not trying to make you guys change who you are, not in the least, I love every single one of you for your own individualities, but I am just asking you to stop using hate as jokes. To stop saying words like gay, and fag and queer in a joking manner, because even if you do not mean "This test is homosexual" your saying "this test is stupid" and the thing that you are really doing is saying homosexuals are stupid and worthless. And I am not stretching anything, it's a direct reflection of what we are linking our words to. I am just asking you to think before you speak, and the next time you want to say something is stupid, say it's stupid. Or the next time you hear a friend telling a bias or racist joke, say "hey man, that's really not cool" because all we are doing is giving a thumbs up to people just like that boy who killed Lawrence, even though we can't see it.



Again, I am not asking you to change yourself, just try and be the change.
Again, admirable effort. But unless you can get people to really, genuinely feel for other people in a true emotive way, then you stand little hope of ever changing people. I know I sound like a total cynical asshole right now, but it's simply because an embittered society leads to embittered individuals.
 

d4l

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hmmm where to start.

To start some of the words you say you want us to quit using have perfectly acceptable(non derogatory) definitions such as fag,queer and gay.

I don't think the kid doing the shooting was entirely to blame if a kid that was openly gay came up and asked me to be his valentine I Would most likely take some form of physical action.(not shooting but some form) And i have nothing against gays but there are limits and the kid probably knew he was crossing them when he asked.

As for racist jokes:wgaf:. Honestly people are just looking for reason to take offense. If i want to tell a joke im not going to censor my self for any one if they get offended its their problem not mine.
 

Chillhouse

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About the whole racist joke thing, it doesn't seem to me like they are setting us backwards. For as long as there have been people, there have been jokes that make fun of other people. Most of these jokes play off of stereotypes. Stereotypes that a lot of us know aren't true. But they're funny. Tons of Canadian comedians make jokes about Canadians. I'm not offended though. Tons of black comedians make jokes about whites. I'm still not offended. It's a joke, with an intended purpose of making people laugh at impossible situations.

And using words like 'gay' and 'faggot' on a regular basis. I don't do it simply because all those words mean different things than what a person is trying to say.

Gay: happy. See "West Side Story"
Queer: weird, odd, unusual.
Faggot: a pile of kindling tied together in order to start a fire. I cringed when I heard a guy on TV say it was French for ciggarette.
Fag: What they call ciggarettes in the UK.

Besides that, I've heard homosexuals saying "That's gay" about situations they didn't like too. The fact is these words have come to mean different things. Soon, maybe, 'gay' will no longer mean homosexual. We'll see.
 

Vladimir

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Happy Lurker said:
About the whole racist joke thing, it doesn't seem to me like they are setting us backwards. For as long as there have been people, there have been jokes that make fun of other people. Most of these jokes play off of stereotypes. Stereotypes that a lot of us know aren't true. But they're funny. Tons of Canadian comedians make jokes about Canadians. I'm not offended though. Tons of black comedians make jokes about whites. I'm still not offended. It's a joke, with an intended purpose of making people laugh at impossible situations.

And using words like 'gay' and 'faggot' on a regular basis. I don't do it simply because all those words mean different things than what a person is trying to say.

Gay: happy. See "West Side Story"
Queer: weird, odd, unusual.
Faggot: a pile of kindling tied together in order to start a fire. I cringed when I heard a guy on TV say it was French for ciggarette.
Fag: What they call ciggarettes in the UK.

Besides that, I've heard homosexuals saying "That's gay" about situations they didn't like too. The fact is these words have come to mean different things. Soon, maybe, 'gay' will no longer mean homosexual. We'll see.
Thanks, I couldn't have said it better.

Humans are scared of the unknown, it's in their nature, and when you're scared of something, you do whatever you can to eliminate it, to get away from it. Insults or other forms of discrimination are an unconscious way to tell the "weird" guy to go away. If you're scared of something, it's hard to find the courage to just look at it from a different angle, educate yourself, this kind of stuff.
That's my theory.
 

PuddleFopsKit

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I have to agree with Rance, and Thallis on this one.


Rance said that many of these words can be used in a private atmosphere amongst friends. I absolutely agree with that. I have my own circle of friends I hang out with, different races, and beliefs. Anywho, when we get together in private, and we're joking around, we tell all sorts of racist jokes. Why? Because it's fun if done correctly. When you are truly comfortable with someone, and know them well enough to know that they are not using them in a racist way, then it's acceptable. Even the dreaded "n" word, as long as the person knows you don't mean it that way.

But in a public setting, using any sort of racist word, be it spic, chink, shageezee, or boot lip, is unacceptable, and I never use those sorts of words in public, or even around people I don't know real well. Only around friends who understand the words aren't being used in an offensive way. These words can be weapons, but they don't have to be.

However, I have heard these words used in apalling ways. I akways hear people say "Oh, their SO gay!" or "I hate that queer kid!" and they may not really mean it, but can't you hear how hurtful that is? Whether they mean it or not, it offends me, because I have a BOYFRIEND, and it makes me feel liek shit when they say things like that.. I want to say to them "HEY! Shut your f****** mouth, you uneducated, prejudiced piece of trash talking, racist s***!" but I can't, because then they would know that I am what they hate, (even if I am technically A sexual..) and I'll be the one hated.

I don't tell racist or offensive jokes liek that around people in public, casue I have certain morales, and well as sympathy for people, and it pains me whenever I hear people, offensively use these words, in a joking manner.. This was a popular one I heard :A white kid was friends with a Mexican or Black kid. WHite kid saw friend pss them in the hallway, so they would sat to the kid "I hate Mexicans!" or "I hate N******!" and the friends would smile, and probably playfully punch him. Or even worse, the White friend may say "White Power!" in a joking manner, but those are words that can't be used in a joking manner in public..Of course, people would look at them with contempt, even though the two friends who said it, are cool with it. Still doesn't make it right, especially if your in PUBLIC, and there's about a thousand people who are ready to beat your ass..

Now Thallis brought up a good point with the forwardness of Lawrence's approach. Now when I was in 8th grade, I didn't understand homosexuality much either. I knew about it, I knew what it was about, but it was a bit of a gross thought. That didn't make me prejudiced against gays, but it did make me uneducated about them. Though I certainly knew mroe about them than Brandon did.. So when he approached Brandon so straight forward, I imagine it did put him in an awkward situation.

However, that doesn't give Brandon the right ot respond like me did. He hit the kid on the back on the head, which was both a carwardly, and cheap shot. He did it in anger, not fear. If it would have been in fear, then he would have unched Brandon in the face. See it my way: He waited until Brandon trned around before punching him. Brandon was obviously walking away from Lawrence, but Lawrence punched him anyway. No, this was a move he made, with full intent of hurting Brandon, though I doubt he meant he kill him. He likely just wanted to give Brandon the message, but still, it was a bad move on his part.
 

Charlie

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I agree with Thallis, from the little I know about this it seems like Lawrence does carry a decent amount of blame. We has openly gay and wore make-up to school, and then he asked someone out who he must have known wasn't gay...
Did he deserve to be killed? Of course not, nobody deserves to be killed! But he was playing with fire, he should accept the fact that society is pretty backwards and that school kids are particularly stupid and can get away with violence (most of the time). He shouldn't have to hide his sexuality, but that doesn't mean he should live in a fantasy world where wearing make-up to school and asking out whoever you want won't result in injury.
So yes it is a lot of people's fault that this happened, but he was foolish to pretend that this problem society has isn't there.

On the gay/racist jokes: I think there's a big difference between a Canadian comedian telling a joke about Canadians and my friends telling a joke about a "fag"/"paki"/"nigger". One's done for laughs, and the motivation is comedy, the other is done from hate and might well be for comedy but the reason for the joke is still for offence. I've no problem with words, words are just words! I do have a problem with racism/homophobia etc. Jokes are fine if you're just joking, but once you start getting serious it's not funny.
That's why fat comedians can rip fat people, black comedians can rip black people, Canadian comedians can rip Canadians... They can't be any hate!
 

Vladimir

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I hear a lot of racist stereotypical jokes at school, and it's definitely not racist, it's... just funny. Blacks make a lot of jokes about whites, too. I'm a Jew, and I'm not offended at all when someone makes a joke about Jews.
 
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I'd say, no, and leave.

Tard. Punch in the back of the head? Comon.

SRS! NO!
 

g6s

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I absolutely agree with that. I have my own circle of friends I hang out with, different races, and beliefs. Anywho, when we get together in private, and we're joking around, we tell all sorts of racist jokes. Why? Because it's fun if done correctly.
I had a friend that was in-the-closet. We held that same belief, we knew the people in our circle of friends well enough to make gay and racist jokes. Now he's not our friend anymore. :sad:

This kind of thinking will come and nip your butt at some point, and you'll look back and say, "Yeah, that was kind of stupid."

On a broader picture, the F-Word came from the German word: Fricken. Certain Germans were lower class in Britain and the word caught on as a taboo. Now, the F-Word is still considered taboo. In the end, people are raised to fear a word that only came from a different group of people back in the 1500s. I don't think we should revise how we think about the F-word, I think the words like "gay" and "homo" are being more and more acceptable in society (even with gays). What does making a gay joke have to do with some idiotic kid (who consequently will always blame gay people for his incarceration) who punched someone in the back of the head and killed him? Furthermore, who's to say his goal was to kill him? If gay ol' Larry here wanted to make Brandon feel uncomfortable, he did it the right way. And who's to say that Brandon wasn't feeling threatened by Larry's over-the-top advances and responded with what he felt best: a punch. Let's continue to hypothesize that the punch happened to hit Larry in the spot that happened to cause whatever really happened to him. In court, that's grounds for case-dismissal on self defense.

We don't know enough about the case to use it as an example (especially when it's present by Ellen, an open lesbian) of why society does not accept gay people.
 
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About the whole racist joke thing, it doesn't seem to me like they are setting us backwards. For as long as there have been people, there have been jokes that make fun of other people. Most of these jokes play off of stereotypes. Stereotypes that a lot of us know aren't true. But they're funny. Tons of Canadian comedians make jokes about Canadians. I'm not offended though. Tons of black comedians make jokes about whites. I'm still not offended. It's a joke, with an intended purpose of making people laugh at impossible situations.
Great point!

I feel that if everyone around you is comfortable with it, then there is absolutely no problem whatsoever in telling a joke of that sorts. If you know your friends well, you know what they like and don't like, what they want to hear and don't want to hear, what they do and don't believe in, then I find it impossible to put them outside their comfort zone. Just as you suggested, people go to a comedy festival to laugh, to be entertained. In that environment the comedian can make a racist joke, or a gay joke, or a fat joke, or a sexist joke, or whatever! Because they know people will take it all in good fun. That's the environment.

However, elsewhere, people aren't so tolerant of it. You just simply can't go around spewing out profanities and racism. Even as much as I take it all in good humour, I still have a breaking point. The point at which even I'm offended by what someone is saying. Mostly because I don't think we are in the right place to say those things.

The rest of you make very good points as well, about how Lawrence should also take some fault to it. He (purposely?) incited a fragile issue within an environment where he probably knew that people wouldn't take too well to it. The lack of tolerance and understanding toward gay people among his peers was phenomenal and you'd think with constant ridicule and bullying everyday, he would have gotten the idea early on that he shouldn't be so "open" about it, let alone forcing it onto others. Not that I'm saying he doesn't have the right to be who he is, but surely he would have known that no good would have come from causing issues amongst his peers.
 

starshine

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He was not killed because he was gay. He was killed because Brandon was scared.
That, right there, is the problem. I really do think there needs to be more awareness in our society. A lot of racists, and those who demean other minorities, are ignorant. A lot of it is caused by Ignorance! If we taught our children, and kids grew up knowing -everyone- is equal then it would cut back on some of these tragedies.

Don't tell me it's impossible, my class had a gay kid at our school in Gr. 8, he was treated like everyone else. Yes - he did get teased every so often, but he was never killed over it. That Brandon kid needs to be charged, and they need to look at the parents, where were they? Why couldn't their child come talk to them about it instead of taking it into their own hands? Why did their child think to do that in the first place?

It's so wrong, and sick, and it's a really good thing that Ellen talked about it, shes a celebrity, and maybe some people will listen to her.
 

Thallis

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It's not the same thing. Most People can't be expected to understand something like homosexuality. Sure, he didn't choose to be gay, but he chose to ask him, which caused him to be scared.
 
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