Searching for the right response to hate

Say my name,

it’s not that hard.

Accents aren’t what bother me,

except, I’m not sure it’s your accent that forces your pronunciation

of my name to sound like a three letter word

that starts with F

and ends with ag.

          That’s not my name.

My name begins with a V

chased by a double e,

it ends with an r.

Our names are different,

I’ve heard you pronounce others’ names the same way,

but even with them, the syllables don’t quite line up.

When my Australian friends call me Veer,

it’s different from the way my American friends say it.

Yours doesn’t quite add up.

Call me by that name and I’m no longer just a boy walking to the music room, I’m an

Empty body walking?

Confused teenager

Lost

Not Veer

Not a person

Not happy

Just a

          Fag.

What do you want?

Attention

A response

My tears

?

I’ve done it all, given you all of them.

And again, here I am, again.

Enough writing opinion pieces about the gays.

Why?

How do I stop, when you don’t

Stop.

When did my name become yours

to change?

Brave.

Veer means brave.
__

Shyla_Veer

Illustration by Shyla Robinson

Ignore the sad spoken-word esque piece above. I was upset with something that happened today, and as usual, I tried to release those feeling through that piece (when did I start becoming apologetic about my feelings?). I have a question (well, more than one). Does standing for rights and minorities mean that I must hide my feelings? Can I, may I ignore the bigger picture and just stand up for myself?

When called a slur, what is someone supposed to do?

I ran all the scenarios in my head:

I punch him. This wouldn’t play out well, me getting physical would be my fault and not play well in the eyes of authority or the general public. Besides, I’m not a violent person. Punching him would just complicate the situation more.

I explain to him why what he said is wrong. Why should he listen to me? There is clearly no respect, who am I to him anyways. He could retaliate, things could escalate, and I could end up crying. Looking weak, making the community that I’ve been made to represent look weak. Setting an example for everyone out there, that what he said was right.

I do not react/I walk away. This scenario is not hard to imagine, as it is the one that happened. Head down, pace steady, I walked away. It wasn’t until a couple of feet away that I realized what had happened. What could I do now? It was too late.

I blame(d) myself:

It’s my responsibility to stand up for what I believe in.

How can I let him get away with this

But now I sit here, hours later, reflecting.

Wow, I’ve really been made to believe that I am holding the burden on an entire community on my back, huh?

Yes, maybe I should’ve said something, maybe I should’ve retaliated physically.

Silence is death.

And remaining silent is the last thing that I’m going to do. Maybe, for now, an opinion piece is how I try to make a change, to have something happen. But enough, maybe I can’t change the world, but I sure can start with Woodstock.

So tell me, what should I do?

Let the haters hate, or try to make a difference?

I’m just not quite sure how I can do either at this point.
Author’s Note: After I got, as the kids say, triggered, about an insensitive comment today at school, I wrote the first part. The second part is a reflection hours after the incident.

2 thoughts on “Searching for the right response to hate

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