A survivor, not a victim

Sometimes the deep, gnawing, overpowering doubts and fears and shame of a hate crime are what really does the greatest damage. In this case.

The Houston Chronicle says his death may yet provoke the passage of the hate crimes bill in the Senate (though Bush says he will veto). Hopefully, some good will come yet.

* Just sent off this email to the Chronicle. Hopefully they will print it.

It is important that we realize that David Ritcheson was not a "victim of a pipe attack," as the Chronicle has decided to refer to him in all of its articles on his untimely death. Rather, Ritcheson was a survivor of a hate crime. Like many survivors of trauma, some of the worst pain comes in the ensuing years as one struggles to process the experience and its attendant humiliation, guilt and shame. The Chronicle, and the city as a whole, owe it to Ritcheson to remember him not as a victim of a pipe attack, but rather as a strong, compassionate survivor of an awful, hate-fueled attack.

Update: A phone caller from the Chronicle informed me my letter would be published on Thursday.

*** Update II: The letter is published on the Chronicle site here. Not sure how long that link will work. Even though Ritcheson didn't make it in the end, language is critical in how we remember what happened to him and how we think of him as a human being.

4 comentarios:

ranger dijo...

I was so sad to hear about this but not at all surprised. I've been thinking about it off and on since I heard the news.

JP, sorry for scaring you yesterday!

Emmy dijo...

thank you, j.p., for posting a link to an online petition.

LA dijo...

The politics of the everyday. There is always an opportunity to speak up and have our voices heard, if only we will stop being sucked in by consumerism and bad media and look around us. IF YOU AREN'T OUTRAGED, YOU AREN'T PAYING ATTENTION! Thanks, jp, for doing your part today. xoxox

chuck dijo...

read about this while here in the NW US. h. and i are both so saddened and disturbed. thanks for this letter --super-smart and much needed. paz.