Over the past few weeks while watching two television programmes on major networks, I saw two males engaging in a passionate kiss on two separate occasions, as well as two women kissing each other on another popular prime time show. I think the most shocking thing about this homosexual contact was the fact that I wasn’t shocked; a bit taken aback, but not shocked.
My reaction made me think about the fact that when we see something over and over it loses its effect. The sad truth is that homosexuality is no longer “in the closet” and because it is seen and heard so much in the media, we are no longer shocked when we see it.
However, because we may not be shocked, it should not be concluded that we are indifferent or accepting of this behaviour. The point is that our reaction or instinctual response button has been reprogrammed.
I can clearly remember the first time I saw any kind of homosexuality; it was on a street corner in Montreal, Canada in the summer of 1983. It was there that my innocent eyes saw two men with arms entangled and tongues fully engaged, and not engaged in talking.
I pointed and shouted out that two men were kissing as we passed in a moving vehicle, but that did not deter the suitors nor our driver, who seemed totally unmoved by this public display of affection.
Since then, most of the homosexual content I have seen has been in the media and the more I see it, the less shocked I become. And, so it is with us human beings. We ride an emotional wave for a while, then get off the ride and continue with life as usual; no better no worse.
However, we are the worse for it because behaviours and attitudes that should shock and unnerve us do not even move us anymore. The truth is that it is not only homosexuality to which we have become so desensitized. I can remember when the average person was shocked whenever there was a violent crime reported on the news. And the story was even more shocking if it occurred on one of the Family Islands.
We have similarly become desensitized to the everyday criminality among our people. The amount of thievery that occurs in many businesses seems to have become almost expected whenever a new person is employed.
Even “sweethearts” who once “knew their place” are airing their business to the world, and confronting the wives. While “sweethearting” is something that has been going on in this country for generations, some may say it is a part of our way of life, it was still somewhat taboo for people to be so open about it.
That has all changed. There are some women who openly confess that they prefer being the other woman and have no problem letting the wife know that she exists. This kind of behaviour does not shock the average person anymore.
So what will it take to cause a shock wave in this country? Various political leaders, religious leaders and business leaders have had scandals broadcast in the media and on the street, but that has not rocked anyone. The crime rate continues to escalate, but even that is not sending shivers down anyone’s spine.
The truth is that the expediency in which news can travel has taken away the element of surprise and any possible shock. The age of communication in which we now live disseminates so much material so quickly, that we don’t have time to be shocked. The minute we begin to form an objection, something more atrocious pops up on the screen and we only shake our heads.
We may gossip about an incident for a few days, but then it becomes old news and we move on to something juicier. So when people say that we have become desensitized, does this mean that we are without feeling? Does this mean we have become like robots, walking and talking on command?
The fact is that we have become so immersed in the world of technology that we have lost some of our senses and in effect cannot feel the way we used to. We move to the ring of our cell phones or the chime of an instant message alert. So, yes, we have become desensitized. We are walking, talking, breathing robots moving to the beat of Motorola, Sony, Nokia, Apple and Hewlett Packard.
About the author:
Joye Ritchie-Greene is an Educational Consultant, Writer and Martial Arts Instructor. She is the owner/operator of The Bahamas Martial Arts Academy; president of Time-Out Productions; and is also a columnist for the Freeport News. She has a B.A. in English and an M.S. in Human Resources, resides in Freeport, Grand Bahama with her husband and enjoys playing tennis. Joye can be reached at