Ignorance is defined as the lack of knowledge or education and unawareness of something, often something important. In western society, we preach so much about how much things have changed for people of different races, classes, genders, sexualities, etc. but in reality, some things are still the same. People shouldn’t have to become martyrs to get the point across that change is necessary for growth.
People like Seth Walsh (13),
Raymond Chase (19),
Asher Brown (13),
Tyler Clementi (18),
Billy Lucas (15),
Caleb Nolt (14),
Harrison Chase Brown (15),
and Felix Sacco (17)
fit this mold of martyrdom due to their demise. Each of them has committed suicide within the past three weeks due to bullying and harassment from fellow peers. What takes the cake is the fact that the media has not shown any attention to many of these boys; the only one that has received media attention is Tyler Clementi and this is because they are seeking legal action against the boys who terrorized him. There has been no immediate response to the suicides, but celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres have spoken up about the hate that has happened. One question remains: what will be done from a political level to reprimand people who tread the border between harassment and hate crimes?
What qualifies as buzz worthy news? Issues dealing with someone’s identity always seem to fall below the radar of the media. It is only when legal action is pursued that issues become worthy of news. This is where the internet comes into play– there are so many outlets on the internet to allow for communication, but most times it fails to be recognized. It is a shame to see that we have to search the internet to find out about these suicides because they are not publicized. It is time to get it together America; we need a stable system to react to issues of heterosexism. Society continues to allow historical precedent rule America and it needs to be changed. Some people need to learn to break out of the narrow scope that continues to limit their understanding of identity. With that, we can move past being reactive and learn how to be more proactive.
Rest in peace Tyler, Raymond, Billy, Asher, Caleb, Seth, Harrison, and Felix, you will always be remembered as the boys who opened the eyes of many Americans to the injustices of heterosexism. We are praying for justice to prevail.