HATE IS NOT A FAMILY VALUE
September 22, 2002
(A reflection essay)
If hate is not a family value, then why do people choose to hate? I was walking down the hallway at school and
was hearing nothing but hateful words come out of the mouths of my peers around me. It amazes me at times how
mean people can be to each other. Bitch, slut, fag, pussy, Jew bagel are just a small percentage of some of the
hateful words kids say to each other.
Hearing words of anger only reminds me of when I was a kid and was called quite a few of these words myself. As
far back into my childhood as I can remember, it was in third grade when I first started experiencing being bullied
and made fun of. I was very fortunate to have an older sister in the same school to stick up for me but on the
other hand, I was very unfortunate because I was picked on and made fun of by the other kids because I had a speech
impediment and I couldn't read or write until around the sixth grade.
I can remember my teacher calling on me one time and saying, " Steven can you please read the next passage
on this page for the class?" I began to shake and I almost peed my pants and had a heart attack because first
of all, I could barely read and second of all, I could not even speak correctly. As I was reading, I came to the
word wolves and accidentally said, "woofs". The kids broke out into a stomach jarring laugh and I laughed
with the kids acting like I meant to say it that way so I could be funny. Noticing that I looked a little embarrassed,
my teacher said, " I would like to speak with you after class." Deep down inside, I felt the hurt because
I knew that I had a learning disability and that I was different compared to other kids. After speaking with my
teacher, she finally recommended that I be tested. I pretty much earned the right to be in R. S. P. Being in
R. S. P. didn't really help me at all. It just gave kids another thing to make fun of me about.
One day, I remember during recess time, a friend of mine and I decided we wanted to play basketball with the sixth
graders. Well, that didn't end up being such a good idea. These mean kids said to my friend, "Well you can
play, but your friend, who is in the Retarded Special People's class, can't. He is too dumb to hold the ball."
This was when I knew I had made a bad decision. My dad would always say, "Stick up for yourself and others
in need." Well, that's exactly what I did and I ended up being picked up by my shirt and pinned up against
the fence by a kid about twice my size at the time. I can remember the bully saying, " I hate stupid retards
like you and I am going to beat your ass if you come near our game again." The big kid dropped me to the
hard black-top ground and kicked me once in the ribs. I picked myself up and decided it wasn't worth the fight
and walked away. So why do people choose to hate? I never had hurt anyone else and I still was stepped on for
whom I was. After many years of being made fun of and called names, I finally realized it wasn't me who was the
problem it was the bullies who made my childhood a living hell. As I look back at when I was a kid, I realize
the bullies at my school, where just insecure about themselves.
They needed to make themselves feel good by picking on someone that seemed less than them.
I believe hate was never meant to be a family value. Bigotry, Discrimination, and Homophobia are also not family
values. They are the values of those who are ignorant and who are guided by the darkness of their own fear and
insecurities. The Boy Scouts of America clearly now champions the fear many have and uses that fear to support
their own discriminatory and bigoted policy. Boy Scouts of American you no longer help kids. You hurt kids. You
are hurting many of my gay friends. And you don't seem to care. You told me in a recent letter from your national
office, " Now we just want to put this issue behind us..." How
can you make such a statement and pretend that you are a program for youth? My gay friends and nontheist friends
are people just like you.
Who gave you the moral right to judge them and then kick them out of scouting or deny them membership? You (BSA
National leadership) remind me of that bully I faced in the school yard when I was young.
Steven Cozza, Eagle Scout