EDITORIAL: Look beyond the rhetoric, initiate change

Editorial Board

We’d like to take this opportunity to clear up a few important things. First and foremost, the opinion section, and the Daily as a whole, do not condone racism in any way.

When we published Trevor Boeckmann’s column Wednesday we may not have made that abundantly clear. We’ll take some of the blame, certainly. Our goal is to make readers think, not squirm, and we apologize for all the squirming we’ve caused.

However, in the interest of generating the debate that Boeckmann hoped for, we’d like to clarify our rationale. It was not published for its “shock value,” nor was it “carelessly reprinted” — the disclaimer on the Northern Iowan’s website was added later.

It was published because it raised valid points and turned the tables on us. It challenged us to approach something with an open mind and objectivity. It used “archaic” arguments against something deemed perfectly normal, to expose the blind hate and fear still facing minorities.

At its core, it wasn’t as much about marriage as it was about hate. It compared the changes we’ve made to those that we still face.

To those of you personally insulted or offended by the column: Maybe that’s how it feels to be gay — only, all of the time.

As evidenced by the impassioned letters we’ve received, interracial couples have come a long way since the civil rights movement. Not only have they gained acceptance, but they’re largely supported by our society. This wasn’t the case 50 years ago, and that same level of acceptance is what the LGBT community aims, strives, pleads and longs for.

Take that rage, anger and hurt felt after reading Boeckmann’s column and direct it toward those that continue to propagate and intensify the hateful rhetoric used against interracial couples decades ago.

Boeckmann’s article shows that hate is outdated, but only certain kinds of hate. When we recognize it, we stand up against it, yet few people responded to the column by saying, “Wow, maybe same-sex marriage isn’t all that different from interracial marriage after all,” or the equally valid converse, “Boeckmann is full of it, it isn’t the same at all.”

Despite the buzz, that relevant and important debate was conspicuously absent.

Briefly set aside your beliefs on marriage rights and note that the stigmas, stereotypes and slanderous comments about the homosexual community are parallel — if not identical — to those used to attack other minorities, including interracial couples, years ago.

As time passed, our society discovered that such assumptions were false and moved past them. As a generation, will we do the same? Should we? Is it the same?

Seriously, look at the progress we’ve made. Our nation has come a long way from the woman-hating, slave-trading days. We elected a black president, and we saw a woman on the presidential ticket and likely will again soon.

Could a homosexual be elected president? Could a transgender individual be elected?

If the answer is “no” instead of, “I don’t see why not,” then we still have change to instigate. At it’s core, this isn’t about marriage, it’s about equality. Boeckmann’s column wasn’t about interracial couples, it was about the evolution of hate.

Until we direct our anger toward the instigators of injustice, “liberty and justice for all” will remain a privilege for “certain” kinds of all.