Acceptance Through Education

READ THIS FIRST: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20018025-504083.html

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Dear Fans,

Normally, I don’t go out on any great political limbs or tackle any notably controversial subject matter in this blog.  But my greatest concern as a person, and as a musician, is humanity.  As you read about the tragic inner struggle forced upon young Seth Walsh, I want you to put yourself in his shoes, which I believe is the most effective medium for human understanding.

Now, I want to ask you this: When was the last time you made a conscious decision about who you were attracted to?  I don’t know about you, but when I see a woman on the street, I have absolutely no say in whether or not I find her beautiful.  It is an intrinsic part of my human instinct; I have no influence on it, I can only respond to it.

I promise you, my friends, that it was no different for 13-year-old Seth Walsh, nor is it any different for any member of the straight, gay or bisexual communities.  For somebody to suffer such smothering guilt that they would give up on life, for something that is an unavoidable facet of every human’s makeup, is something that should never happen.

Even broader than sexuality is the idea of cultural acceptance, which is my greatest passion as an anthropologist.  Quite simply, we ought to begin thinking about what backgrounds we all come from, and we ought to realize the profound influence of cultural upbringing.  I was raised in a certain region of the United States where certain ideologies are prominent, but if I were raised in a different part of the world, by parents who believed different things, I would undoubtedly believe those things.  Is it okay for me to believe the things I believe?  Absolutely.  But is it okay for me to denounce, reject, or actually act out against anyone else’s beliefs?  Absolutely not.  To do so is to literally deny a person their life experience.

I find that it is the same with love.

There are almost seven billion people on this Earth, and there are subsequently almost seven billion unique life perspectives to be discussed.  The moment you begin thinking that your life perspective is more valid than another person’s is the moment you become hatred’s ally.  The moment you realize that your beliefs do not have to encroach on other peoples’ is the moment you achieve honest coexistence.

In the case of Seth Walsh, it certainly was not he who failed.  It was not even the fault of the bullies, who will now have to bear the towering regret of this situation for the rest of their lives.  The call that I wish to set forth, the desperate need in our world, is for good parenting.

We need to begin openly educating our children not only about their own sexuality, but the sexuality of others, and the imperative nature of accepting where others’ beliefs originate.  We need to have dialogue upon dialogue about why differences are not only acceptable, but indispensable to human life.  And finally, we need to set the example.  I believe the most powerful aspect of parental reinforcement is the adoption of the ethics that we try to pass on.  To those of you who are parents, and to those of you who, like me, hope to be parents: Please do this.  Do not nurture a world in which humanity is met with opposition.  Teach your children to see differences for what they are: beautiful, perpetual, essential.

To the loved ones of Seth Walsh, and of the countless individuals who have suffered similarly: I promise you that I will fight for a different world.

HWN

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~ by hewhonever on September 30, 2010.

2 Responses to “Acceptance Through Education”

  1. a way to show gay/lesbian/bi young people who feel like it won’t get better.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/itgetsbetterproject

  2. Thank you for writing this. The hatred and ignorance of many people my age (and their parents for that matter) really make me sick. Love is love, and we need more of it in the world.

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