There’s a story (can’t find the reference right now, so treat is as apocryphal) of a psychologist in the early 70s, back when homosexuality was considered a mental illness. He treated many gay patients, all of whom were pretty screwed up, and he concurred with the popular opinion that homosexuality had serious negative effects. He himself was gay, but he kept it quiet and figured he was an aberration. As pressure was increased to declassify homosexuality as a mental illness he came out to a few of his colleges, confessing that he must be some strange breed of gay. To his surprise, several of them were gay as well, and had thought the same thing. It soon turned out that actually homosexuality didn’t contribute to deviance – they simply had a very skewed sample. Every gay person that he saw was already fucked up some way, or he wouldn’t be coming in to see a psychologist. He perfectly normal, regular gay folk went unnoticed because they were in the closet, and since the psychologists classified their illness on what they could see they didn’t realize the two were unrelated. Even the gay ones were fooled.
It’s often been said that the greatest tool for gay acceptance has been the massive coming-out campaign. You can argue with people forever and they’ll never change. But when their sister, their son, or their dear family friend comes out as gay, they suddenly realize that they know and love perfectly normal gay people. That gays are not deviant outsiders to be shunned – they are some of the people you love most.
Six percent of the population are regular marijuana users, and ten percent of the population have used marijuana at least once in the last year. Yet there are still people who lose their shit about pot-heads. People who think they are all criminals, junkies, and degenerate freaks. They often think that because that’s the only kind of smoker they see. My parents have a relative with emotional troubles who can’t hold down a job. He is out about his pot smoking. I know that they’ve met at least a couple people who are fine upstanding members of society, but who are closeted about their marijuana use. With full knowledge, they would see that function pot-smokers outnumber dysfunctional ones. But instead they have a well-supported 100% correlation between pot use and dysfunction.
So if you’re a fine upstanding member of society, and you smoke pot on weekends, or at parties – let the world know. Or, if you’re worried about losing your job, at least let your close friends and your family know. (It’s not like they can un-family you, and they already see you’re doing fine in life). Don’t let the only people who represent you be the scum of society. Be the light that illuminates their minds!