Monday, April 18, 2011

Just a Thought: Sticks and Stones, Kobe and Bret, Sticks and Stones

Joshua Esskew stopped at a local convenience store to use the bathroom and maybe get a soda. instead, he was brutally attacked because he's gay.

As he walked into the store last Saturday night in Rock Hill, South Carolina--not all that far from Smnallville-someone called him 'faggot.' Esskew turned and asked, "What was that you said?" and then he was hit in the head with a 40-oz beer bottle.

Bad enough, right? Stopping to get a soda, being called a fag and getting a bottle thrown at you. Bad enough, right?

Surveillance video from the store caught at least eight people, who were pumping gas or doing laundry next door to the gas station, rush into the parking lot and join in the beating of Joshua Esskew. Eight people, in all, all strangers, beat a man. But, hey, he's gay.

'Fucking faggot' stepped in a 'puddle of HIV'. Right, Kobe? Right Bret?

Okay, so maybe Kobe Bryant didn't actually throw a punch at Esskew, and maybe he didn't even join the fray beating the man so badly that he spent two days in the hospital, but Kobe Bryant, and anyone else who uses any kind of gay slur, bears some responsibility.

When you mutter, utter, shout, or even mouth, the words, 'faggot', especially when you are an idolized athlete, you are telling people it's okay to hate. It's okay to bash someone in the head with a bottle. It's okay to join a fight because it's just a gay guy.

And perhaps Bret Easton Ellis wasn't in Rock Hill over the weekend, but his homophobic, self-loathing, anti-gay Tweets just might have helped those men throw punches at Esskew.

Kobe Bryant  and Bret Easton Ellis weren't actually in on the fight, but Kobe's easy use of the word 'faggot'as a derogatory term, and Ellis'tauints about gay shows and HIV, helped  to throw the first bottle. 

And because it's accepted by some to call people 'faggot'as a dirty word, or make fun of people with HIV, that South Carolina remains in the dark ages. See, even though Esskew was obviously beaten because he's gay--or at least the attackers suspected he was gay--South Carolina has no Hate Crimes laws.

It's okay to beat gays here, I guess, and it's okay for over-paid arrogant athletes to call us 'faggots' on television, and for has-been authors to Tweet homophobia. And until that stops, and isn't laughed at, or made light of, gay people will still get beaten just for being ourselves.



Anonymous said...

Don't forget former Redskins running back Larry Johnson, who used the slur at least twice in his time in Kansas City. He likes dropping F-bombs too.

Cubby said...

I doubt if the people who ran over to beat him even knew he was gay. They just wanted to beat someone, anyone, while he was down. In some perverted way it makes them feel good about themselves, and make others fear them. Has our society deteriorated so far that we have to resort to acting like animals and kill the weak among us?

Wonder Man said...

Kobe should watch this video

Joy said...

This is heartbreaking and infuriating at the same time.

Biki said...

tears, grief and extreme dismay for what we have devolved into

Kyle said...

I pity the people who have to prop themselves up by pushing, beating, defaming, or torturing someone, mentally or physically. What was done to him was done to all of us. As you so eloquently say Bob, until the hateful, systematic targeting of us is erased from our social norms, we will always be in the sights of weak individuals who need to hurt others to mask their own pain.