Today, apparently, is something called Spirit Day. It was invented earlier this month by a teenager – encouraging people to wear purple to show support for LGBT people and against bullying of same. Which is great. I’m all for nobody getting bullied for whatever they do and whoever they are.
Here’s what’s stuck in my craw, though. This whole month has been Down Syndrome Awareness month. Not that you’d know because everything everywhere is pink and everywhere you go there’s some walk or 5K or marathon or telethon or car wash or bake sale or spatula you can buy to raise awareness about breast cancer. Because we don’t know about breast cancer yet. And the NFL sporting pink gloves, pink helmet straps and pink shoes will make all the difference in fighting it. Seriously.
A quick disclaimer. I HATE cancer. Cancer is very, very bad and I hate it. HATE it. My mother in law had breast cancer and, thankfully, beat it. I’ve lost 2 online friends this month alone because of cancer. I want very much to punch cancer in the face. Don’t think I feel that fighting cancer isn’t a worthwhile cause, because I do. However, I think we’d all be hard-pressed at this point to find anyone who isn’t aware of all the different kinds of cancer – especially breast cancer. We all want to “save the ta-tas”, but, REALLY, how is painting everything pepto-bismol pink helping to fight it? My point is that I’m totally tired of have breast cancer awareness shoved down my throat every 5 minutes. I’m aware of it. I hate it. I want it to be cured.
Now we have Spirit Day. Where we’re supposed to show solidarity with LGBT people by wearing purple or being silent all day. I’m not really sure what that’s supposed to accomplish – I’m aware that there are LGBT people and that it’s wrong to bully them. Isn’t everybody really aware of that? Don’t we all know that it’s wrong and completely ungroovy to make fun of people because of who they are? ALL PEOPLE? Not just one group, but everyone?
How about this, instead. How about we all just agree that we won’t tolerate ANYBODY making fun of ANYONE for who or what they are? How about we all agree that picking on anybody because they’re gay or bisexual or red-headed or have Down Syndrome or autism or prefer cake decorating to soccer or know all the words to all the ABBA songs or want to be Captain Kirk or WHATEVER is uncool, completely not acceptable and that we will tell someone we catch doing that, “Y’know, dude, that’s not groovy. Knock it off.”
Yes. I admit that part of my annoyance is that I’m tired of my son getting ignored in the Pepto-Bismol soup that is every October. That somehow we’ve decided that breast cancer is more important than Down Syndrome or Alzheimer’s Disease or colon cancer or autism or multiple sclerosis or ALS or whatever. I know the latter issues are far less “sexy” than women’s breasts and LGBT issues, but they’re just as serious and need just as much attention. Because, you know what? I bet the people I know with Down Syndrome get a lot more abuse & bullying in terms of hearing about how they’re “retards” or “mongoloids” or being laughed at, ignored or completely looked through like they don’t exist. Not that it matters, though. Nobody should ever have to be made to feel inferior because someone else is uncomfortable with their existence. Doesn’t matter what you are. Doesn’t matter who you are.
Here’s a original, unique idea. How about we just treat everybody like they’re PEOPLE? Not like “us against them” or “those people“, but simply “he’s a person just like I am and deserves to be treated like I do.”
I know. It’s totally an aberrant idea and I’m crazy to suggest it. I’m doing it, though. And I think if we all do it in our own lives and don’t allow those we socialize with to do it in our presence, it’ll make a difference. For EVERYONE.