Monday, December 7, 2009

Acceptance on Campus

Lately I've been thinking a lot about acceptance of differences on the Stonehill College Campus. For those of you who don't know, there has been an ongoing battle over the past few days via the college listserv about homophobia and gay rights. It started out as a "joke" that involved some student hacking into another student's E-mail to send a message to everyone claiming that he was gay and coming out of the closet.

Unfortunately I don't have the E-mails saved anymore, I deleted them when the conversation just lead to people complaining about listservs and talking about pokemon? But basically it made me realize that a lot of students have differing opinions on not only gay rights, but the word "gay" itself. People throw the words "gay" and "fag" around all the time as insults, without really thinking of the meanings behind the words and who is offended by that.

It got me contemplating about what would have happened if someone sent out an E-mail claiming, "My name is so-and-so and I'm a retard." Words like retarded and cripple are used all the time in some peoples' daily vocabulary.

If someone does something "stupid" someone will say "What are you, retarded?" or if a ref makes a bad call, I guarantee you an angry fan will yell out, "What are you, blind?" or if someone says something and the person can't hear it, he or she will say, "What are you, deaf?" The list goes on and on.

I really think we need to start thinking more before we speak. Words like gay or retarted or blind shouldn't be used as insults. I think language plays a big part in not only disAbility rights, but rights of any minority or marginalized group of people.

Last year during our mini poster campaign, we had a slogan that said, "Don't call me a blind man. I am a man who happens to be blind. I am a man first." and other posters that said things along those lines.

I would type more, but alas, finals are upon me. Please comment! Also, feel free to contact me at agotsell @ students . stonehill . edu (without the spaces) if you want to write a blog post of your own and I can add you to the list!

Happy studying everybody!


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