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  BOYS IN THE HOOD

Homophobic Kids Write The Darndest Things

In a story that ran on Huffington Post, J.W. Harvey recalled how he and his roommates recently opened their door to find anti-gay graffiti scrawled across it in sunblock. Apparently, a neighbor’s son had written “U Gay bitches, LOL” on the door, with an accompanying illustration of a male member.

U gay bitchesRather than call child services (our first thought), Harvey composed a letter to the tots’ parents:

Dear Residents of Apartment 24,

We would like to (finally!) introduce ourselves as the residents of apartment 21, or, as young Cazen and his young friends so accurately vandalized on our door the night of March 2nd, the “gay bitches” of apartment 21.

The party you were hosting sounded like a lot of fun, so we understand how you may have been too preoccupied to notice that your children were loose in the building at midnight, marking our property with homophobic graffiti.

For months now, we have dealt with your children throwing rocks, CDs, tennis balls, and various other unknowns across the ally at our kitchen window, and we have largely dismissed their behavior as understandably, well, childish.

But now, we need this behavior to stop. As it is yours, this is our building, our neighborhood, our home, and we want nothing more than to peacefully coexist. Well, that’s not completely true; we want to be seen and respected as equals, and we want you to teach your children to accept everyone for who they are, regardless of their minority status, but we won’t demand that. Because what we really want is to live without having to explain our humanity to our neighbors.

I plan to leave the graffiti on our door for two reasons. First, we ARE an apartment of gay men (and can be quite bitchy!), and we are not ashamed to be labeled as who we are. Second, I hope that you will encourage your children to clean their graffiti off of our door themselves.

Don’t forget to buy Cazen more sunblock; sunny weather is right around the corner!

Sincerely,
J.W., Matthew, and Primo

The roommates did, however, call the NYPD and report a hate crime —maybe a bit of overkill, especially since it was Cazen’s birthday. But the cops came to the neighbors at 2:30am and eventually a teary-eyed Cazen shambled down the hall to wipe off the evidence of his bigotry.

Harvey took the opportunity to talk to the young not-quite-a-man.

“Be honest with me. When you throw stuff at our kitchen window, is this what you think of us?”

“I don’t know. I guess.”

“When you look me in the eye right now, is this what you see me as?”

“No. You’re not,” as his eyes started to water.

“Then why? What makes you think that we are?”

“We see you guys dancing and stuff in your kitchen from my bedroom.”

“And if we are, what’s wrong with that? Don’t we have the right to be happy, just like you?”

“Yes,” as he contemplated.

“If you — you missed a spot — if you really think that. Do me a favor. Talk to your friends.”

“Ok,” as he cleaned “lol” off our door.

“The police can talk to them, I can talk to them — you missed a spot — but they will listen to you.”

“Ok,” nodding and holding back tears.

“Thank you,” I said, putting my hand on his shoulder and locking eyes. “This is very serious, and you cannot treat us like this again, for any reason. Even if you don’t like someone, you have to respect them.”

“Yes, sir. I’m sorry. I do.”

“You can go back to bed. It’s too dark right now, but if I wake up in the morning and I see sunblock smudges in the daylight, I will knock on your door and ask you to clean it again,” I said, pretending not to see the greasy smears that remained.

“Ok.”

“Thank you. And happy birthday.”

We have to say, if this story is true, we’re impressed with how Harvey took the time to speak with young Cazen. We might’ve just ratted him out to his mom and let him take his lumps—figurative or otherwise.

Would you have handled things differently? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

 
 

 

By:           Dan Avery
On:           Mar 18, 2013
Tagged: , , , , ,

  • 15 Comments
    • Dakotahgeo
      Dakotahgeo

      JW handled this very effectively! I probably would have wiped the remarks off the door with Cazen’s dead body… but I digress. Seriously , I would have been much sterner with Cazen but then I have a soft spot in my heart for young people who do these silly things, so that would also have kicked in. Let’s hope this ‘from-the-heart’ talk helps Cazen grow up and mature in his young life.

      Mar 18, 2013 at 12:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eric Auerbach
      Eric Auerbach

      Calling the cops was not overkill. They handled it perfectly.

      Mar 18, 2013 at 12:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Merv
      Merv

      What is with these phony-baloney folksy readers digest stories? In real life, the homophobic parents stormed over, pounded on the door, and screamed “you perverts better stay away from my son!”

      Mar 18, 2013 at 1:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ricster
      ricster

      Id have hung him by his balls, the little sod !

      Mar 18, 2013 at 1:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jwrappaport
      jwrappaport

      What a model citizen – and a better man than I am. I’ll be honest, I would have reported it to my building’s management (they know me well…) and initiated a war of written words with the parents. Definitely not courageous enough for this, but someday I hope. Kudos!

      Mar 18, 2013 at 1:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • redcarpet
      redcarpet

      This guy sounds like a better parent for this kid than the ones who actually birthed him.

      I like that he handled it in a classy way, but I’d resent having to parent a child like this when his mom and dad should have had this exact discussion with him long ago.

      Mar 18, 2013 at 1:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hf2hvit
      hf2hvit

      He should be waterboarded in the name of Jesus Christ!

      Mar 18, 2013 at 2:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • LaTeesha
      LaTeesha

      @Merv: I’m guessing you don’t have teens. It’s quite possible that the parents are accepting of gay people. Teens are very susceptible to mob mentality. If the teen had acted alone then I would have been more suspicious that was behavior learned at home.

      Having a 24 year old son & a 23-year-old daughter, I’m well aware that during their teen years, kids will do and say things when in a group setting that run contrary to what they’ve been taught at home. This is why it’s critical that parents watch their teens like hawks & remain active in their lives. Teens will act in ways that will utterly shock you (as their parent) when left to hang with other teens, unsupervised.

      Mar 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cee
      Cee

      @Merv: Gays want to believe so badly. I can’t believe anyone believes this story lol

      Mar 18, 2013 at 3:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MuscleModelBlog.com
      MuscleModelBlog.com

      I think that this was handled well. Although some may say that calling the police was a bit much, it would make a legal record of what was going on (in case the harrassment escalated).

      Mar 18, 2013 at 6:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kieran
      Kieran

      Sounds like the kid got off easy. If he had put a swastika on the door of a Jewish family, he’d be writing a 100 page essay on anti-semitism and the holocaust.

      Mar 18, 2013 at 10:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hamoboy
      hamoboy

      @Cee: You have a history of showing up on positive stories and questioning their truth. Is that really all you have to contribute to a conversation? I wonder at the world inside your head, that demands that all good things be false in order to give you peace.

      Mar 19, 2013 at 2:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Martini Guzzler
      Martini Guzzler

      I sincerely doubt that young Cazen was really homophobic. More than likely a confused young teen who was being silly. Could as easily been directed at anyone, whether it be for colour, creed, religion or disability.

      The point is that instead of being confrontational, this matter was handled in a way which has forced young Cazen to contemplate the rather primal urge that we all have to shun or exclude anyone who is different. If the young man has learned this important lesson in life, and how silly childish pranking can ruin someone’s life,surely the world is now a slightly better place.

      Mar 19, 2013 at 6:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dakotahgeo
      Dakotahgeo

      @hamoboy: Hamboy, there is a group of people, much against their deep desires, that see nothing but ill in the world. Any positive light gets the shades and curtains slammed shut on it. Their underlying motto/theology in life is “No good deed goes unpunished,” and they live and die by this false premise. Pity them, pray for them… then kick them where it hurts! We don’t want to disappoint them!

      Mar 19, 2013 at 11:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hyhybt
      hyhybt

      Sometimes things do work out this way.

      One odd thing: there’s an unusual misspelling in the quoted material here that also appears in a comment on a different topic I *just* read on Box Turtle Bulletin, which makes me wonder if perhaps both were written by the same person.

      Mar 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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