Archive for November, 2014

Perspective

A friend has taken off the kid gloves and put her foot down: there will be no further discussion (presumably with her) on the subject of homosexuality. With little or no study, she has concluded that it is genetic. I applaud her unequivocal resolution. May I suggest two movies that treat the subject admirably: “Philadelphia,” with Tom Hanks (love that guy) and Denzel Washington; and “The Family Stone,” with Craig T. Nelson and Diane Keaton.

Even though I disagree with her, I think some thoughtful reflection on the state of affairs of human beings around the world, not just the rich, vocal, European and American glitterati – the small numbers of those who CHOOSE to be identified primarily, or only, by their sexual preference, and not, say, by their contributions to the arts, or sciences, or the progress of the human race – and ignore:

The 21 million mostly poor, poorly-educated, non-white people with very few choices who are victims of trafficking. This would include sexual exploitation, forced labor, illegal organ removal, forced marriages and illegal adoption. 60% are women and children. (Zenit.org)

The nearly 800 million that simply don’t have access to clean water, which kills approximately 3.4 million people a year from diseases related to water. (water.org)

The estimated 219 million cases of malaria that killed approximately 660,000 people in 2010 – nearly all in Africa (cdc.gov)

Well, you know where I’m going with this: there are much, much bigger fish to fry than to have “sexual orientation” thrown in my face every time I look for news on the internet. Do I care about bigotry and prejudice? Sure I care. But, I care a lot more – a lot more – about the standard of living of those who don’t have even their most basic needs fulfilled, or the barest minimum of dignity granted to them by those who, by some accident of birth happen, at the moment, to have more physical power.

Well, what about DNA? I’m left-handed. I’m the only left-handed person in either my father’s or my mother’s family. People have noticed my “handed-ness” (i.e., commented on it; along the lines of ‘isn’t it difficult?’); and I notice others who prefer their left hand to their right hand (but, I long ago stopped saying anything). It has always been no big deal; I have been able to teach myself to use right-handed scissors. But, seriously folks, how about skin color? In the history of humankind, and all over the world today, skin color plays an extremely important role in a person’s life. How about gender (the biological gender we are all born with – not the gender that happens to be fashionable at the moment)? If you’re a female banker in Scandinavia, too bad: your pay is about one-third of what your male counterparts make (bloomberg.com).

So, what if I couldn’t teach myself to use right-handed scissors? Why in the world would I make it a point to ensure that everyone around me knew? Why would I make my “condition,” or “situation” their business? Why would I throw it in their face every day? If I raised roses, maybe I would join a rose club. If I defined myself by the wheels under me, whether two or four, I might join a car/motorcycle/bicycle club. But, why would I want people to think of me first, last and always as a _____? As Joe Miller (Denzel Washington in “Philadelphia”) might put it: “Now, explain it to me like I’m a four-year old.”