Sometimes, it really hurts me how ignorant people can be, especially since I’ve lived my life being a double-minority—a gay, Asian American. And when people say these ignorant things like, “Ching-chong-bing-bong,” or when I’m ordering a sandwich and the cashier speaks to me slowly and in an exaggerated high pitch because she assumes I don’t understand English just because I was in line behind an Asian family that didn’t, or when white people at my school say things like, “Oh, (s)he just got that scholarship cause she’s black/Asian/mexican/gay,” or when I hear guys call each other fags, or the way people stare at my girlfriend and I when we’re holding hands around the city, or even when two men have the audacity to dress up as Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman to a Halloween party, I just want to punch those people in the fucking face.
And then I think of this girl in this picture, 18 year old, Keisha Thomas.
In 1996, 17 members of the KKK held a rally in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Outraged that such a thing would exist in the prime of liberal times, 300 people of the town showed up to the rally to stand up against them.
This man in the photo was one of the 17 members of the KKK. When he was spotted amongst the crowd wearing the Confederate flag shirt, the group of 300 began to chase him. Once they caught onto him, he was beat down to the ground and in that instant, Keisha Thomas separated herself from the crowd and covered him. Something I’m sure that man would’ve never done the same if it were her.
It is said that without suffering, there would be no compassion. It is people like Keisha Thomas who make me realize the ones who have gone through the most suffering are the most compassionate.
With that said, I will strive to not turn my suffering into anger, but into compassion so bold that people will point that out before even remembering to recognize the color of my skin, the shape of my eyes, and the gender of whose hand I love to hold.
There just needs to be more compassionate people in this world.