As I sat talking to my Hispanic friends one night, the topic of Phi Kappa Theta’s conduct violations came up. Specifically, we discussed our opinions on the song.
One of my friends said that people should just accept the way they’re born, because he believes — and I believe — that sexual orientation is something that you’re born with, and not be so sensitive over what other people say.
I understand his point, and I agree to a certain extent. Once you realize what your identity is, you should accept it regardless of what others say. You have to build a wall between your feelings and the hurtful comments.
But in another way, I disagree. You see, I think it’s simpler for us — and when I say “us,” I mean Latin Americans who come from Latin American countries and are now in the U.S.— to accept our identity and culture and not be as sensitive to what other people say. I think it’s easier because we come from a place where it’s expected, cherished and accepted to be Hispanic.
We only really experienced discrimination once we went somewhere where we were not the majority. But we still have that place where we know we are fully accepted.
Meanwhile, the LGBTQIA community doesn’t, and has never had, an entire community that accepts them without reservation. The community supports each other, and so do the countless people who identify as allies, but they have never lived in a place where every single person accepts them. It could also be said that black people in America have a similar experience.
Of course, I can’t put myself in their shoes, because I personally am neither a part of the LGBTQIA community nor black. But I am trying to understand where they come from and why they are sensitive about comments made about their race and sexual orientation.
Yes, ideally, we should all accept our own identities and not pay attention to what others say, but it’s much harder for people to do that when they’ve been raised in a society that discriminates against them.
It’s easy for me to feel proud of my Hispanic roots because I come from a place where I am the majority. It’s easier for me to not pay attention to the hurtful comments others say because I know I can go home and will be completely accepted.
But the problem lies in that if we all just accepted our identities and never stood up against discrimination, the world would never change. So, in theory, it might be a good idea for individuals to build walls against hurtful comments against their identities, but it might not be the best idea for society as a whole.
The only way to change the way people perceive us is to stand against stereotypes and hurtful comments.
I think the anonymous community member did the right thing in reporting the song to university officials. It sent a message to the people who sang it that what they did was not OK. Some might not learn, but maybe some will change and realize their mistakes.
One can only hope that standing up for our identities will cause some sort of change on the world. But we can never know unless we try.