Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Kids Are Funny

Dear Amit Shah,

I want to tell you a funny thing that happened at this place where I work in Delhi. It's a small library and on Mondays I go in to hang out with the members (mostly kids between the ages of 4 and 18), help them check out books and every so often read books aloud to them and have chats.

Every Monday is funny, because kids are funny. Even when they're not trying to be. They have a funny way of observing the world that grown ups built. I'm convinced they've got a whole standup routine running in their heads about the absurdities they experience on a daily basis.

This Monday was no different. Actually it was. Half a world away, an angry man had opened fire on a nightclub full of people, overwhelmingly from the LGBTQ community. They were just there for a good time, but by the end of the night 50 of them didn't make it out alive. Because of that angry man with a gun. So we spoke about it, funny kids and grown ups.

Why do we fear the things we don't understand? What kind of responses do we have to the fear? Do we have a choice in how we respond? Do certain groups of people deserve to live more than others? The funny kids and grown ups decided to make a list of all the different kinds of people that are targets of hate, mockery, disrespect & oppression. The list was long and had all kinds of folks in it: weird shapes & sizes, weird skin colours, weird family names, weird ways of dressing, weird choices of romantic partners, weird ways of speaking, praying and eating food. Just weird, you know?

Finally, when the list was complete the grownups wondered: If we choose hatred as a response, what would happen to these groups?
Kids: They'll all be killed!
Grown ups: If they all disappear who'll be left?

And then an unsure but gravely serious voice offered: "Mmmm...Modi?"

I told you, Amitbhai, kids are funny. You should come hang with us.



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