Thursday, March 22, 2012
Tyler Clementi - it's not cool to be mean
Written by Geoff Rosenberger
"No one has done more stupid things than me."
We all say that to ourselves. I say it daily as I continue to do stupid things.
I am sure Dharub Ravi is saying it to himself over and over again.
This 20 year old faces up to 10 years in jail because he didn't separate stupid from mean.
This lack of separation triggered his gay college roommate,18-year-old Tyler Clementi, to jump to his death. Ravi is guilty of a hate crime – bias intimidation. In other words, he targeted Clementi because he is gay.
I have kids this age. I can only imagine how many stupid things they do daily, and how many stupid things I would have done at 20 had social media, webcams, and cell phones existed.
As a gay man, I am not happy about this young man's conviction, though fully in favor of it. I am not happy these situations exist at all. It is not easy coming out for many people. It took me much longer than some, as I hid from self, trying to fit societal and religious "norms." Since then, I have learned – who cares what others think? And as a result I am far more tolerant and accepting of self and others.
Now, here is what I am happy about: societal and religious awareness. We are killing each other over and over again with our words and our hatred. We can teach our kids and parents that it's not cool to be mean.
I have a straight friend in his 50s who carries inside him very painful memories from childhood. He was constantly picked on and harassed by other kids for reasons only children can justify.
Read on in OutinJersey