‘The cafeteria is not your parents’ basement.’
February 28 I had the misfortune of eating in the school cafeteria. The young “lady” at the table next to me was busy calling her male friends “faggots” and using phrases like “that’s so gay.” This is not the first time I’ve encountered this situation in the cafeteria (or elsewhere on campus); in fact, I’d say on the rare occasions I do eat in the cafeteria, it’s about a fifty-fifty chance I’ll end up sitting next to students of this … caliber. I decided to eat somewhere else.
I think it’s really unfortunate that these students don’t realize that using this sort of language, which demonstrates a complete lack of respect for those around them, reflects poorly on their character, their background and their school. The cafeteria is a place for Meramec’s diverse student population to relax and eat on campus; it is not a private lounge, nor does the white noise of the mob mask careless conversations.
The cafeteria is not your parents’ basement. If you learn one thing while passing through, or out of, Meramec, let it be to learn the power of language to affect the world around you for better or for worse. No one is negligible; no word is negligible, and each gathers together like a billion breaths bringing either life-giving rain or the winds of catastrophe.
Every conscious being has the power to add to the substance of the world around it through action and word. Just a few famous “faggots” that have done so are: Achilles (however mythological), hero of Homer’s epic “The Iliad” and inspiration for millennia of generations; Alexander the Great; who conquered the ancient world and set up a network of libraries, such as the Library of Alexandria, and schools across his empire; Michelangelo, master artist of the Renaissance; Walt Whitman and Gerard Manley Hopkins, poets who changed the course of poetry forever; Pythagoras, father of the western musical scale, father of the Pythagorean Theorem and more; Tennessee Williams and Oscar Wilde, playwrights who’ve left their mark on the theatre; Herman Melville and Maurice Sendak, authors who left their mark on adult and children’s literature respectively; Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, icons in modern art. The contributions “faggots” have made to the world spans all ages and fields; this list is just a small one.
Just as every time you eat peanut butter you are touched by one contribution of the African-American community, there is not a single day that goes by where your life is not influenced in a constructive way by a homosexual or someone from the LGBT community.
Women have had to fight for respect and equality; African-Americans have had to fight for respect and equality; all kinds of minorities fight for respect and equality constantly and across the world. I think it is very sad that each of us as minorities has to fight the same battle over and over again. It shows a profound and world-wide ignorance of the human light which resides within each and every single human being, the same light that changes the world for better or worse, the light that is innately equal because it possesses no other qualities than luminance.
As always, but especially when in public, choose your words wisely.
From one light to another,