Humanities Moments

Humanities Moments

We’ve all had “humanities moments” — when our lives were made richer, more poignant, and meaningful because of the insights the humanities provide.

Jim

Contributed by Carolyn Bucknall

Description

When I was a girl, my father hosted big work parties. I loved the parties because I loved Jim, the IT guy. He always smiled at me; he would take me up in his lap and bounce me until we both were giggling too much to continue. I loved Jim, and Jim, he loved me too.
Fast forward: middle school. Not the healthiest of cultures. What I learned there might have been expected, but not excused: It wasn't okay to be gay. Gay people… weren’t normal. They were odd. Inexpiable. It was an unhealthy attitude that I brought one day.
“I keep telling them I’m not gay! Jerks.” I grumble as I walk along side my father. He raises an eyebrow. “Why do you care so much about being called gay?”
“It’s weird Dad!”
My father thought about that for a while. “Carolyn, do you remember those work parties we use to have?” I nodded. “And you remember Jim?
The one that use to bounce you on his lap?” I didn’t answer. “He has a husband.”
That’s all my father had to say. He got the mail and went back inside, leaving me with only the company of my shame.
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Why is this a Humanities Moment?

It easy to hate an invisible someone, a disembodied shadow that lingers on your small corner of reality. I have discovered, however, that it is much harder to hate the person standing right in front of you, their humanity tangible. Ironically, the need for sameness that made the middle school me so homophobic was the exact sameness that helped me realized their worth. In my mind, they were so different from me, but the reality was that they lived life the same way I did.

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About this Moment

Title

Jim

Subject

It easy to hate an invisible someone, a disembodied shadow that lingers on your small corner of reality. I have discovered, however, that it is much harder to hate the person standing right in front of you, their humanity tangible. Ironically, the need for sameness that made the middle school me so homophobic was the exact sameness that helped me realized their worth. In my mind, they were so different from me, but the reality was that they lived life the same way I did.

Description

When I was a girl, my father hosted big work parties. I loved the parties because I loved Jim, the IT guy. He always smiled at me; he would take me up in his lap and bounce me until we both were giggling too much to continue. I loved Jim, and Jim, he loved me too.
Fast forward: middle school. Not the healthiest of cultures. What I learned there might have been expected, but not excused: It wasn't okay to be gay. Gay people… weren’t normal. They were odd. Inexpiable. It was an unhealthy attitude that I brought one day.
“I keep telling them I’m not gay! Jerks.” I grumble as I walk along side my father. He raises an eyebrow. “Why do you care so much about being called gay?”
“It’s weird Dad!”
My father thought about that for a while. “Carolyn, do you remember those work parties we use to have?” I nodded. “And you remember Jim?
The one that use to bounce you on his lap?” I didn’t answer. “He has a husband.”
That’s all my father had to say. He got the mail and went back inside, leaving me with only the company of my shame.

Date

2012

Contributor

Carolyn Bucknall

Identifier

jim

Collection

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