Teach Your Children Well

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Teach Your Children Well

Post  Richard on Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:41 am

In "South Pacific" there is a terrific song, "You Have To Be Carefully Taught" where a Lt. and an army nurse discuss the way racism is carefully taught to children in the USA. He gets killed before he can marry a Pacific Islander woman - she accepts the mixed race kids of her beloved - a great bass singer.

The parents in a small town in Mississippi are carefully teachng their children in 2010 - to hate people who are different.

An 18 year old lesbian, Constance McMillen, wanted to take her girlfriend to her senior prom. When she asked permission, the school said "no." The American Civil Liberties Union reminded the school board of federal law. The school board canceled the prom.

A local federal judge ruled that Constance's constitutional rights HAD been violated ... but the judge did NOT force the school district to hold a prom ... after all, local parents had stepped up to the plate and decided to put on a prom for the kids - AND Constance was invited to this private prom.

Yeah right.

The parents put on TWO proms - one for the "right" kids and one for the "wrong" kids.

Constance, her date, three kids with learning disbilities and special needs, and two others were told the "prom" was at the lcoal country club. Seven kids showed up for this prom. The rest of the entire school went to the secret prom.

What in the world are these PARENTS thinking? Why go to such extreme measures to teach their kids to hate? To hate anyone who is different? Grrr!

Constance's court case is not through. There will be a trial AND damages will be assessed against the school district. And the tax payers will have to pay for years to come for their hatred. I sincerely hope the fines are in the billions. This is an outrage of the first order. I know we are talking about a "prom" but what is really at stake is the ability of parents and school districts to violate a person's constitutional rights to free expression. The ability of a school district and parents to teach HATE to their kids against the tenets of the US Constitution. A fine in the billions would suit me just fine.

Constance will do fine - she is an amazingly strong young woman. Ellen handed her a $30,000 scholarship raised online. She will do fine.

It is the REST of those kids who concern me. I am certain they have learned their lessons well - different people are to be put down and hated. THIS is a lesson that will cripple them in the world outside their small town in Mississippi. Cripple them. These parents are creating kids who cannot live happily outside a small town in Mississippi ... and THAT is a true tragedy.

I am real fired up and upset about this situation. But I am intersted in what this board thinks. Do the rights of the parents to teach their kids anything they want supercede the rights of kids to freely express themselves (wear a tux and take a girlfriend to prom)? Do the rights of parents to teach their kids include the right to teach that kids with special needs are to be ostracized and hated? Are there any limits to the rights of parents to teach hatred of anyone?

I have to admit that I taught my daughter well. She is not too fond of a certain political party, nor of racists, homophobes, or sexists. And she adores musicals and the stage. I taught her to hate too - racists, sexists, and homophobes. She picked up a dislike for religious fanatics on her own. So Iam as guilty as these parents. EXCEPT I did not violate the US Constitution. THAT is a huge exception in my eyes.

What do you think? What did you carefully teach your children?
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Re: Teach Your Children Well

Post  theresae on Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:51 am

hi there Richard, crikey what a carry on, i wonder how much say any of the kids had in the two seperate proms, or whether they had to go to the one that the parents choose,

we have such a broad cross of people, in our towns and cities around us that we (as in my family) havent really come across such a divide yet, my mantra to my kids (who are 9 and 12) at the moment is "well god made everyone different and as long as the people in question treat people how they would like to be treated it doesnt really matter", my kids are taught not to be nasty unless its in self defense, then i do advocate giving as good as you get im afraid, and i teach them that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that doesnt mean we have to agree,

i do remind them that we are lucky to be able to express our views in the uk as many people in other countries cant, the same goes for havin an education, healthcare, food on table etc, my husband and i both work in environments where we meet people from all backgrounds, religions and political persuasions, so have learnt never to judge a book by its cover, and most importantly everyone is entitled to be treated the same, thats not to say we always like everyone but they are entitled to the same amount of respect as the next person,
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Re: Teach Your Children Well

Post  estre004 on Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:06 am

If you believe in God, there is nothing to explain. We are ALL God's children and loved equally I would suspect. So if these racists claim to believe in God, they should feel like fools. For those that do not believe in God and are also racists it isn't so easy to force change. I would think people that go to that extreme (the prom parents) have to be quite miserable to show such hatred.

My daughter goes to a school that does not discriminate against anybody period (including kids that do not have a date to prom). My daughter, who has been asked by multiple boys to be their date has chosen to go by herself because she feels bad for the ones that do not have a date. In fact, a whole crowd of her friends are doing the same.

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Re: Teach Your Children Well

Post  alli on Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:09 am

This whole situation is so ridiculous that I am at a loss for words at times. I've taught my children that everyone is different and that they are all entitled to their opinions. They are not racist or sexist and take people for who they are. That this town got so up in arms over this girl taking her date to the prom is so sad. My daughter went with another girl to her prom and nobody said a word. They are not homosexual but that is beside the point.

This girl was attacked in so many ways just because of her orientation. The comments made online at msn were scary. Thankfully is was about 3/4 positive and 1/4 negative so more people supported her than not. The scare tactics were ridiculous. As if this girl and her date were going to be inappropriate or moreinappropriate than straight girls dancing. Have you been to a dance or a club where girls are letting loose? They can get pretty darn wild but that is ok, they are straight.

Jeez... it makes me sick. But sadly, that town will continue to be bigotted and their children will either learn better as they move out into the world or they wil live their small lives in hate. That they had two proms is so sad. I hope those kids realize (the ostracized ones) that they are the adults in this situation and that the others are acting like kids in a playground hoarding their toys.[i]
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Re: Teach Your Children Well

Post  Guest on Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:32 pm

i think kids should learn on their own. respect, honesty, integrity, stand up for those that cannot stand for themselves.

life's experiences over time should build a kid's brain and thoughts.

a sidenote.....

when i was in the hospital, i had a really cute nurse. i told her that she needed to be careful taking out the IVs because i faint easily. she goes, well just think about "b00bies" and a really hot chick wearing a thong. yes, i did start to laugh, and no i didn't faint.

from an HR perspective and patient relations protocol, i did think it was a bit out of line, but....... no complaining came from me.

but the double standard goes....if it was a guy nurse, or even a girl nurse and they said think about a guy wearing a thong, that wouldn't make me laugh.

but on her defense, she was trying to prevent me from getting really sick on them, and them calling a code--so her distraction did work.

did i mention she was cute? Cool

sorry....but yes, here's a bit of a double standard with an offshoot.

people being mean, arrogant, boneheads, or flat out they can be highly educated and form their own opinions based on their own knowledge, moraies, etc. can build some pretty bad feelings that come out in ugly ways.

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Re: Teach Your Children Well

Post  Richard on Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:52 pm

I have been thinking about this today. I honestly belive it WAY OK for people to have racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-disabled, any kind of hateful THOUGHTS. I also believe in my heart of hearts that it is WAY OK for people to write or speak those hateful thoughts aloud. I value the freedom of speech and the freedom of expression - no matter WHAT the person seeks to express.

Where I have BIG problems is when those hateful thoughts translate into action.

A man who believes women are good for sex, procreation, child rearing and housekeeping ONLY (I have met these guys) can speak or write his thoughts all he wants. He can attempt to convert others to his sexist ways. What I honestly believe he can NOT do is to act on these thoughts against the will of any woman. He can NOT refuse to hire to promote a woman in the workplace. He can NOT refuse to honor a woman's saying "no" to him in a sexual situation. He has every right to believe anything he wants. However he can NOT disadvantage women based on his honest beliefs.

Racists can have websites and preach "white power" all they want. What they can NOT do is intimidate, harass, or act ciolently towars people of different races. They can NOT treat people of different races differently at work or in business or in government. Believe what you wish. Preach it loud and proud. But if you act on those beliefs, you will be arrested or sued or fired - and that is just.

People of faith and homophobes can put down gays and lesbians and transgenders from the pulpit, from the web, from YouTube ... they are free to express themselves allthey want. What they can NOT do in California and many other states is act on their internal homophobia - religious based or not. And what they ought not do is bully glbt youth (or adults). Today is the one year anniversary of Carl (aged 11) hanging himself as a result of homophobic bullying. What a tragedy - with feelings the kids learned at home and in church.

So these Mississippi parents had every right to teach their kids to hate - it cripples the kids in America's business world and with government jobs - but it is the parents utter right and privledge to teach their own children to hate. Where they move for "civil rights" to "civil wrongs" is in creating two proms to discriminate against lgbt youth and the disabled. In creating two proms, these parents moved fro teaching their own kids to hate into the realm of stomping on the civil rights of the disabled and lgbt youth. their discrimination is wrong AND a violation of these seven kids' federal rights to expression. I hope the court figures out a way to teach these parents a lesson in civics.
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Re: Teach Your Children Well

Post  Annika on Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:08 pm

We can only expect people to act in accordance with their own beliefs. In theory, everyone should have the right to believe whatever they want. In practice, beliefs correspond to personality. If people continually have to act in a way that does not support those beliefs, resentment can very easily build up. Resentment can lead to very angry people and very angry people can become violent. Is it really fair to expect people to work with groups they hate simply because they are free to hate, but not free to act upon their beliefs? To force people to do something that contrasts so completely with what they believe is right?

It's all very well and good to believe that people have the right to hate who they want, preach hate to who they want, but the fact is that people will always act according to what they believe is right or wrong. We cannot expect it to be another way. If we want to eradicate hate, we cannot preach it.

Freedom to believe what you want is an incredibly important part of the United States, but it's also the part that has led to the most conflict. The right to teach others to hate certain groups, or all groups, of people cannot lead to anything good. I understand completely the importance of freedom of speech, but I also see the damage it can cause.

When the news broke last week that the judge had ruled in favor of Constance, the news story in the rss feed for a major new station read something along the lines of "Judge Rules Against Lesbian." The comments to the story were very supportive of the judge. People were thankful that a judge finally saw the right way and understood that the Constance had no right to attend the prom with her date wearing a tuxedo. These were the comments that were posted. The title was very misleading and was later changed to reflect the fact that the judge ruled in favor of Constance. At this point, the comments changed to disdain for the judge's decision. Conclusion? People weren't reading the story. They were grabbing this tiny bit of information and expanding on it within their own minds. They were reaching their own conclusions based upon their own beliefs. People like me who were shocked with the title read the article and saw that it was clearly a very big blunder. My point here is that people will believe what they want to believe. Anything that does not jive with their own belief system is ignored. Eradicating hate will never be as simple as teaching equality, not everyone will listen.

My 9 year old daughter wrote a letter to the Governor of California about a year ago expressing her desire to see all citizens able to marry. I couldn't have been more proud of her.

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Re: Teach Your Children Well

Post  Richard on Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:39 pm

I have no problem with people acting in accord with theri beliefs ... most people do so. BUT people ought to understand that acting in accord with theri beliefs, when those ACTS are against the law, will have negative consequences. So it is in the case of Constance. The parents have acted in accord with their deeply held beliefs ... AND they will pay a high price for their civil disobedience, So be it.
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teach your children well

Post  Chinookgrl on Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:54 pm

I find this story shocking, and so sad. I have a really difficult time comprehending the actions of these close minded people. Unfortunately they have passed on their ignorance to a new generation. I have grown up with such different attitudes that it is beyond me that this could happen in this day and age. I have been exposed to so little sexism or racism for that matter that I am flabbergasted. Though I sadly know these types of things happen all the time. I feel for this girl and her loved ones. The parents ,who by omitting certain kids from their own prom discriminated against these children, and should be held accountable.

I don't feel I have to make a point of teaching these things directly to my children. They are surrounded by all different beautiful kinds of people in their daily life. My children don't question an individuals differences because they have never seen it done. I guess my husband and I try to lead by example most of the time. If something, an issue or question comes up it is explained in the simplest way. We cherish everyone and everything that makes them who they are, and we stand up for each other.


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Re: Teach Your Children Well

Post  Annika on Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:32 pm

And that's what makes you a far more tolerant and a better person than I am, Richard. I do not pretend to have any desire to allow people to teach hate. If it were up to me, they'd lose the right to teach the new generations hate.

Hate was not a word that was allowed in my house growing up. My mother believed it was far too strong of a word for daily use. It wasn't until I was 14 (I was gang raped because I was not born in the US) that I really noticed the hate in the world. People were just people to me as a child. I do not get along with my family now, but I will always be grateful for the total ignorance of hate in the world as a little girl.

There are several people that have been a part of my life that I hate more than I would like to. I am not a kind and loving person to all humanity, I don't have it in me. I don't hate groups of people, I hate individuals. I suppose I can pretend that there's a difference, but hate is hate.

If we had a group of people touring the country holding seminars on the reasons to hate little girls, preaching the reasons that little girls should not be allowed to live, you better believe that people would do something to stop them once that first little girl was injured or killed ... never before, we never put an end to something before it's too late.

Yet, when it comes to gays, religions, and "races", we accept hate as a part of life.

Allowing people to hate, yet not act according to their beliefs only adds fuel to the fire. Laws cannot be held as the ideal because laws change according to a societies beliefs over time. If we don't destroy ourselves, I really do believe that people will stop hating groups of people because of differences. As the world becomes more and more connected, it's painfully obvious that no one group could ever be inherently better than another.

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Re: Teach Your Children Well

Post  Paradox on Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:28 am

The song "You've Got to be Carefully Taught"

This song had a huge impact on my life. I did not realize my parents were racially prejudiced until I was in college! I was taught that everybody was equal, and as a young girl listened to my Dad argue with a neighbor that he would have no problem if either of his daughters dated a black man.

How did I find out the were prejudiced? In college I was going to date a black man. I asked my folks why their opinion changed. They said it didn't, they had always been prejudiced but that they knew it was WRONG. South Pacific came out when they were 16 years old. They were very musically inclined and they were enthralled with it. They were dating at the time and they decided that if they had kids, they would not teach their kids the way they were taught. And they didn't.

I admire them so much for setting their feelings aside.

I am horrified that this has happened in 2010. Let's just hope that acceptance continues to spread when people like my folks can put their personal feelings aside. Because of those two people, my sister and I (and my Hubby, he was pretty red behind the neck when I met him. He's not anymore), her two kids and my two kids have grown up to believe that everyone is equal. And I know my grandchildren will be raised that way as well.
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Re: Teach Your Children Well

Post  Ivy on Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:57 am

Going back to middle ages again.....
So sad after years of steps forward...
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Re: Teach Your Children Well

Post  Almostangela on Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:11 am

((((((Annika))))) I have to hug you first for your pain that brought you here.

I agree that teaching hate only breeds more hate and it shouldn't be taught. The government can't do this, or mandate it, or control it, as it has no emotion or common sense.

On the side of speaking no evil, I was married into a religious family, that was so politically correct and spoke of no hate or racist remarks. Not a bad word out of their mouths but they were terrified of people who were different and not white or straight. How much of hate is fear? I'd say 100% when push comes to shove. Suppression is a breeder of anger.

When I left that mess and moved to a beer drinking multicultural blue collar neighbourhood, the racist inappropriate words are mumbled regularily in all directions, but everyone seems to get along just fine. My oldest son is called the token white guy amongst a certain group of friends and he see nothing wrong with that. Some might see this as an offensive comment to point out his difference but he knows he is loved by his friends and they are only chiding him because of his obvious difference. He pokes fun back at their differences and then they play hockey.

There are no gangs in this area, you never hear of fights (other than the odd bar scuffle) everyone one has neighbours with different accents that you chat with, and if you are happy in your relationship; we are happy too. (Just shut your dog up and please don't get chickens in your back yard). It's not perfect, it's messy, but it's real.

In an ideal world, everyone can get along, but we are not there yet. However, familiarity brings comfort and the more the world's people mingle amongst each other, the less there is fear of differences. This is where I think hate will be abolished.

Kicking and screaming, we are headed there as the world populations branch out into new areas.

Angela
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Re: Teach Your Children Well

Post  estre004 on Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:00 am

Angela said it perfectly. It is actually fear, not hate. Even for those that aren't racist, how many people in your life have you for some reason didn't actually care for but when you got to actually know them, liked them. I would say it is a pretty high number.

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Re: Teach Your Children Well

Post  Richard on Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:10 am

Wonderful post, Angela. I have lived in multi-cultural neighborhoods and loved every minute of it. Ravenhurst is in a very conservative, very white area of California. People of color are seen working working the fields as migrant workers, but that is about it. I miss the multi-culturalism of San Francisco and Fairbanks AK.

My Mom is racist. She absolutely hates the Japanese - she says you would be racist too if they shot and REALLY tried to kill your husband. My Dad did not share those feelings, but did not try to get to "shut up" Mom either, My Mom lives in a multi-cultural environment. She is so fearful ... when she hears people speaking non-English in the grocery store, she is certain they are speaking about her! Fear and hate (and irrationality) ... you are correct - they are closer than kissing cousins.

I don't know what I fear most - upfront, vocal hatred or silent, in the heart, hatred.

Right now in the USA and Africa, it is popular and allowable to hate gay men, lesbians, and transgender folks. The Mississippi story is good example. So is the Catholic Church saying they have a homosexual problem and not a child molesting problem. Blame it on the queers and all is well. In most of the USA it is socially appropriate - especially for mature folks - to be homophobic AND to openly express their homophobia.

But it is NOT socially appropriate to be sexist and to express and to act on beliefs than women are inferior to men. Yet sexism is alive and well. My daughter got real frustrated one year in elementary or junior high school. The math teacher never called on her or the other girls ... he always called on the boys. AND worked with the boys. After all, everyoone knows that girls are not good at math, right? Wrong. I wanted to enter the school with both barrels blazing. But Carey begged me not to ... she said she would learn math in spite of sexism ... and she did.

As a Union advocate I worked hard to break glass ceilings. I was maybe 20% successful ... which is failure to me. I did a study on pay grades. In the State government of Alaska, job titles held in the majority by men earned $1.00 to $0.76 earned by job titles held by women - jobs with EQUAL education and experience requirements. Even the bosses got screwed. The female Director of Nursing or Director of Public Health earned about $0.75 to the $1.00 earned by the Directors of Oil or Finance or Engineering Services - male jobs. It still drives me bonkers.

Is the blatant and daily homophobia that is socially appropriate easier to deal with than the silent but deadly sexism in USA society? I do not know. And don't get me started on racism in the USA - now it is especially prevelant in attacks on the President and the immigration debate. Have you noticed that no one is objecting to Canadians and Australians taking all the best jobs in Hollywood? Arrrggghhh! Have you noticed that male actors earn millions more than the best female actors? Compare Julia Roberts' income to Brad Pitts or any well known guy ... she and Sandra Bullock and all the fine women earn less.

There, another vent this morning. I am feeling better by the minute. LOL
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Re: Teach Your Children Well

Post  estre004 on Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:22 am

I feel sorry for racist people. They are the ones missing out. They are living in a lot smaller world than they could be living in. They should give everyone a chance. They would find themselves surprised.

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