Seems like it’s a banner week for people making inflammatory comments that are offensive to others. Justine Sacco, a New York HR Employee apparently made a racist and insensitive comment on her Twitter account that cost her her job.
Unlike the earlier in the week comments about gays made by Phil Robertson, this comment from Sacco and her subsequent firing does not seem to have raised the same rancor and thus far I’ve seen no cries of foul that her freedom of speech is being infringed upon or that she’s being in any way treated unfairly for her words.
This leads me to ask….what’s the difference? What is so different about Justine Sacco’s comment that does not resonate so deeply with people that in saying ‘I hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding, I’m white!’ she has not incited the same internet riot of people saying ‘She’s just speaking her mind….she has a right to her opinion?’ What is it about the fact that her comment was (aside from being completely insensitive to the AIDS crisis in Africa) blatantly racist that differs so greatly from anti-gay/homophobic speech? Why is there such a zero tolerance policy for racism and cultural insensitivity yet not the same consideration for homophobia?
I’m inclined to think that part of it is there is, aside from the protestations of gays and lesbians, no ‘scientific’ proof that people are born gay, and it’s not a choice that you make. Until such time as there is a clear-cut, scientific, incontrovertible definition of what makes a person gay….there will always be a segment of the population that believes it is something we ‘decide’ to be.
Imagine if you will the time when that elusive ‘gay gene’ is detected and there is no longer a way to claim it to be a decision that people are capable of making, and therefore changing their minds about. What do you think the response from the Church will be, or from those who cling fast to their belief that it is against scripture and labeled in the Bible as a sin? The current Pope, Francis, has been quoted as saying ‘Who am I to judge?’ regarding gays and lesbians. Francis has begun to usher in a more enlightened age to the Church, or at least is making an attempt. What, if you can imagine such a thing, would his response be if ‘science’ (long in conflict with religious teachings) is able to provide the Church with absolute proof that people are ‘created’ gay….what can the Church say then in relation to the notion that we are all ‘created in His image?’ If He creates us all, and we are created in His image, how can the Church, from that point forward, claim that gays and lesbians are sinners and their lifestyle goes against Church teachings?
In my mind it will be the same struggle the Church will have to explain the existence of intelligent life on other planets. Should the Heavens and the Earth have been created by Him above….why would He not have alerted us to the presence of other beings on other planets from the very beginning? Why would He not wish us to communicate with one another? And if they are different looking or acting or sounding from us….the fabled ‘little green men’ that we’ve seen destroy Los Angeles and New York and other major cities for years on film….why would He make them so different from us? Are other planets the ‘Jurassic Park’ testing ground and we are the finished product that He decided was ‘good enough’? The most aesthetically pleasing model He created?
I do hope I live to see this day…and hear the explanation given for how this could possibly be. I think that this, more than any ‘Da Vinci’ conspiracies ever written, will really change the face of faith in this world. Forever.
I think the comment tweeted by Justine Sacco was REALLY inappropriate, and a completely boneheaded move for someone in an H.R. position to make. I can imagine she is really re-thinking what the hell prompted her to do such a thing. But more than really dwelling upon this….I’m amazed that there seems to be no (that I’ve seen) ‘outrage’ about her firing and ‘silencing’ following her ‘freedom of speech’ post. No one is threatening to boycott her former employer if they don’t reinstate her immediately. No one is calling her racist remarks ‘just following what she believes’.
In my post about the remarks made by Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame, I called ‘homophobia’ the last acceptable social bias. There seems to be far more tolerance for people making derogatory comments about gays and lesbians than there is for racist remarks and such insensitivity toward the AIDS crisis in the world. There seems to be less compassion for people who make remarks about a person’s race and HIV status than there is for people who make remarks likening homosexuality to bestiality and calling homosexuals sinners.
Why? Can anyone tell me why? I don’t intend to lose any sleep over this issue, but…I’d really, after 45 years of life, like to understand why.