When I was nine, I was beat up on a school playground. It was summer, so no teachers were there, or I know they would have intervened. At one point, as I kept refusing to fight back, the girl yelled, "That's what you get! I hate your mom's face!" I went home missing a basketball, with a black eye, and a bloody nose. After that, when school finally started, that girl (an 11-year-old) would flip my mother off at drop-off every morning.
When we take ignorance and run with it, ugly things happen. That little girl needed to hate my mother. She needed to hurt me. She needed to feel that there were others she could disdain. When her father hurt her, she needed to think, "At least I'm not them." It doesn't make what she did right, but it makes it easier for me to understand.
Today my friend Duane Quintana, an openly gay man who is HIV-positive, will host Social Justice Sunday at Exposure alpha Interchange, a downtown thrift store. Today's topic is hate crime - something that is, sadly, on the rise in Idaho. We'd come so far in the last few years, too. Now we're regressing into ugliness. We can stop that backslide. It's never too late.
I hope I see you there.