I had to look up why it was that Kevin Hart stepped away from hosting the Oscars. I hadn’t been aware of the story as it was unfolding. Once I caught up a bit, I assumed the comments in question had been made recently, but then I discovered they were years old, that he’d since apologized for them, and that he had intentionally stopped making jokes at that particular group’s expense.
As a minority myself, I am all for inclusivity and sensitivity. Everyone at the table should have a voice, and everyone who wants a seat at the table should have the opportunity to get there. However, it seems to me that there are two mutually exclusive trends vying for dominance in American society — or at least on social media, which I suppose is what passes for society these days. On the one hand, there is this lioness level of defense declaring that all choices are valid and must be respected — and that no one is permitted to pass judgement on anyone else. If you want to change your name to something unconventional; if you want to live a polyamorous lifestyle; if you have a gender identity or sexual orientation that some find confusing, sinful, or otherwise bothersome; or if you claim to need a turkey, peacock, or partridge in a pear tree as your emotional support animal, all of these are to not just be tolerated, but embraced, accommodated, and never disparaged by society.
On the other hand, while one faction actively asserts that all groups and individuals are entitled to live according to their values and identities, there also seems to be a very vocal contingency throwing judgement and outrage at anyone who appears to be judging. But what if your group or identity has outlined parameters for right and wrong and certain acts fall on the side of wrong? Are you supposed to pretend that isn’t the case? Are you supposed to deny what your religion says? If everyone is free to be who they are, where is the freedom for the religious, the sheltered, the innocently ignorant as well as the homophobes and the bigots?
I wish everyone would choose love and kindness and a genuine desire to understand differences and extend compassion over divides instead of hatred, outrage, or violence. However, I also believe everyone is entitled to their opinions and feelings — even if they run counter to social norms, my own, or those of the most popular celebrities — even if they are inconvenient or distasteful to some, most, or almost all of society. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You’re allowed to be…