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  • LOTD

    Filed at 4:02 am under by dcobranchi

    Maybe we should ALL drive around with gay rights bumper stickers. These folks need some waking up.

    Defeat of anti-bullying bill was a win for society

    We wish to offer a heartfelt thanks to the N.C. Senate for scuttling the pro-homosexual “bullying bill,” HB 1366, in the form that was so desperately being pushed by Equality North Carolina (a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender lobby), Rep. Rick Glazier and the editorial board of The Fayetteville Observer.

    Special thanks are also due to the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the N.C. Christian Action League, who with others, marshaled opposition to this stealth measure that would have, by enumerating “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” among more than 15 characteristics which could make students targets of disrespect by peers, assuredly put us on the slippery slope to an even more pervasively homosexualized society than we endure today. All one needs to do is look at the state of affairs in Europe, Canada, Massachusetts, California, etc., to see what could ensue here.

    Even state school board chairman Howard Lee told the News & Observer of Raleigh that he disagreed with a laundry list of “victims.” “Bullying is bullying. I don’t care who it is against and under what circumstances.”

    Brenda High, founder of Bully Police U.S.A., said the most effective anti-bullying policies are those that apply to all students and do not list subgroups.

    Gender confusion is not innate and fixed at an early age as your editorial asserts. It is a transient condition in a minuscule percentage of the population at any given time.

    Jeffrey C. Long, trustee, N.C. Christian Action League
    Fayetteville

    UPDATE: The two LttE immediately following the one quoted above are also about the same issue. The third in the series is equally vile. Read ’em and weep for any LGBT kids living in Fayetteville.

    34 Responses to “LOTD”


    Comment by
    Lisa Giebitz
    August 1st, 2008
    at 11:12 am

    Wow. I’d say talk to any transgender, transsexual, or genderqueer person, and you’ll hear how NOT INNATE it is. (/snark)

    Why can’t these people just leave well enough alone? They think the queer folk are going to come in the night and steal their babies or something?

    Worst case for them: They have to live around people who are *GASP* not like them!
    Worst case for queer folk: They get killed by bigots or live a half-live trying to hide.

    Ugh. I’m going to stop now before I get really riled up.


    Comment by
    Rob
    August 1st, 2008
    at 2:51 pm

    Nobody ever gave a real answer to my question in the other thread, so I’ll ask it again here:

    So, is it ok to beat up kids that don’t fall into the classes you want to protect?


    Comment by
    StarGirl
    August 1st, 2008
    at 3:58 pm

    >>>So, is it ok to beat up kids that don’t fall into the classes you want to protect?

    No Rob, it isn’t. The argument for hate crime bills is that a hate crime is actually two crimes – one against the targeted person, and another against the targeted group at large.

    If someone paints a swastika on a Jewish family’s house, the crime is not just vandalism – there’s an implied threat there that applies to all the Jewish families in the neighborhood. It’s very different than if someone paints a “Kilroy was here” drawing on the house. One is just vandalism, the other is much more serious.

    If someone beats up a gay kid *because he is gay* (as opposed to because they wanted his iPod), then there is a crime against that kid, *and* an implied threat to the other gay kids in that community.

    If someone beats up a kid in order to take his iPod, then other kids with iPods can take sensible precautions – keeping their iPods secure, out of sight, etc. However, characteristics like religion and race are so much a part of an individual, our society does not feel it’s right to ask people to try to hide or disguise these characteristics.

    Justice Talking did a nice piece on hate crimes a few years back. It’s worth a listen – there are good points made on both sides.

    justic...ID=199


    Comment by
    Rob
    August 1st, 2008
    at 4:23 pm

    “If someone beats up a gay kid *because he is gay* (as opposed to because they wanted his iPod), then there is a crime against that kid, *and* an implied threat to the other gay kids in that community.”

    Ok, fair enough. It doesn’t really answer my question, it just alters it slightly:
    So, is there no implied threat to unprotected classes, if a kid in an unprotected class is beaten up *because he’s a member of the unprotected class*?

    I’ve never been able to see the ‘protected class’ forms of legislation as anything other than unequal protection.


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    August 1st, 2008
    at 5:30 pm

    So, is reminding kids that gay bashing is not cool really such a scary idea?


    Comment by
    speedwell
    August 1st, 2008
    at 10:22 pm

    Daryl, you know damn well that it is not necessary to pass a LAW to “remind” people of things. Do you need to pass a law to “remind” children how to spell? And yet good spelling is almost as important and pervasive to getting along and prospering in decent society as is acceptance of other people with differences. (Says the spelling champion and ex-proofreader.)

    Rob’s point is valid and simple to understand. Giving some people special protection leaves others without special protection. Why do you think the First Amendment says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion?” We should likewise make no law respecting an establishment of a caste system. Because that is what it is when some members of a society enjoy institutionalized special privilege over others.

    Protect all the kids.


    Comment by
    COD
    August 1st, 2008
    at 10:49 pm

    This argument is moot, The ass clowns in NC that opposed the bill were not concerned about protecting heterosexual white Christian Protestants from violence. They don’t want the state doing anything that gives the appearance that the state officially recognizes gay kids as equals, because that might undermine the hate and prejudice that passes for official church policy.


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    August 2nd, 2008
    at 12:41 pm

    After all these years, I have gradually shifted from Rob and speedwell’s argument to COD and Daryl’s, in terms of which takes priority. The former is true but in practice doesn’t protect all the kids, just the ones who had the advantage all along.

    For the same reason — because in practice it serves best those least in need of protection, the fading majority who can’t or won’t see past their own fists to other people’s noses — I used to be much more protective of property-rights and even parent rights as bedrock political principles, than I can stomach now.


    Comment by
    StarGirl
    August 2nd, 2008
    at 6:37 pm

    I think the answer is to write the law to include both the enumerated classes in the law, and others that meet certain criteria. If a kid gets beat up because he has freckles, and you can make a serious case that he was indeed beat up because of the freckles, and that other kids or adults in the community with freckles have to endure a hostile environment because of it, then freckles ought to qualify *in that case* as a protected class. See what I mean? No need to restrict the law to only the enumerated classes.

    But it’s especially important to enumerate perceived sexual orientation, because not everyone would consider it to be something you *are* (or are assumed/perceived to be), rather than something you *do* (or are assumed to do). Putting it in the law makes it clear that it is indeed one of the protected classes.

    It’s NOT OK to beat someone up because they’re black. There was a period in our history when that wasn’t an obvious thing to some people, and that’s why there are laws about it.

    Remember that to class any crime as a hate crime you have to have evidence that the victim was targeted *because* of his membership in the protected class. Just being gay and being beat up doesn’t make it a hate crime. If you got beat up because you scratched some guy’s Harley, it’s not a hate crime, even if you’re gay.

    I really don’t understand how these laws give special privileges. If I’m beat up because of my race, it’s a hate crime. It’s a hate crime if I’m black, it’s a hate crime if I’m white, it’s a hate crime if I’m Asian, it’s a hate crime if I’m Maori – whatever. If my house is vandalized because of my religion, it’s a hate crime. It’s a hate crime if I’m Jewish, it’s a hate crime if I”m Hindu, it’s a hate crime if I”m Catholic, it’s a hate crime if I’m Protestant. I may be less likely to be a victim if I’m white than if I’m black; I may be more likely to be a victim if I’m Jewish than if I’m Protestant, but the law applies equally to all. If someone is super-unlikely to need the law – white, male, straight, Christian, able-bodied, etc. – well then they should count their blessings, and speak out against beating-up in general!


    Comment by
    speedwell
    August 3rd, 2008
    at 2:25 am

    StarGirl, your suggestion is quite on point, except for one thing: it’s still racist.

    Suppose we amend your suggestion so that we protect children from violence, no matter what the reason for it? See? No racism involved, no special privileges, victims protected, purpose served.


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    August 3rd, 2008
    at 10:36 am

    If this nonspecific law would even protect against what Warren Jeffs, Michael Pearl and their ilk do to children and families (surely religion-motivated violence and oppression!) I might have to consider it. . .


    Comment by
    speedwell
    August 3rd, 2008
    at 10:48 am

    To me, the best law protecting children from violence at school is the one that allows them to leave and find a better atmosphere to learn in, such as the home. The best law protecting them from institutionalized religious violence is the First Amendment, which enables them to seek the aid of a secular government. Say we work on shoring those up before we start handing out special privileges to the flavor-of-the-month spotlighted sufferers.


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    August 3rd, 2008
    at 11:19 am

    Speedwell,

    Would you concede that those kids considered GLBT have historically been more likely to be bullied in school?


    Comment by
    speedwell
    August 3rd, 2008
    at 1:46 pm

    More likely than who? Autistic kids? No. Fat kids? No. Kids with a speech impediment or a mental illness? No. Quiet nerdy kids who break the curves? No. Black kids in the lily-white Georgia high school I attended 20 years ago?Definitely not.
    My heart bleeds for kids who are targeted for bullying because of their orientation. But I’m not going tell a group of bullied kids, “I’m going to devote more time and resources to those gay kids than I am to you other guys who are getting picked on .” It’s not right to play favorites when it’s your own kids, and it’s not right to play favorites when they’re school kids, either. It foments resentment. It makes it seem like gayness is the problem, when in fact bullying (by other kids, teachers, and administrators) is the real problem.


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    August 3rd, 2008
    at 9:23 pm

    Or maybe SCHOOL is the problem . . .


    Comment by
    Nance Confer
    August 4th, 2008
    at 3:15 pm

    Rob: So, is it ok to beat up kids that don’t fall into the classes you want to protect?

    ***

    No, Rob.

    Nance


    Comment by
    Nance Confer
    August 4th, 2008
    at 3:21 pm

    Rob: So, is there no implied threat to unprotected classes, if a kid in an unprotected class is beaten up *because he’s a member of the unprotected class*?

    I’ve never been able to see the ‘protected class’ forms of legislation as anything other than unequal protection.

    ***

    Yep, I think we got that — that you don’t approve of the whole protected class idea.

    The beauty of the idea, though, is that if straight, white guys start being beaten up BECAUSE they are straight, white guys, they too could become a protected class.

    Do let us know if that becomes a widespread problem.

    Nance


    Comment by
    NMcV
    August 4th, 2008
    at 6:00 pm

    Strangely, this sounds a bit like the justifications I heard when I was trying to push my walker across the parking lot past the car parked illegally in the Handicapped Only spot.

    Those cripples, they think they ought have special rights or something…


    Comment by
    StarGirl
    August 5th, 2008
    at 9:25 am

    >>>>StarGirl, your suggestion is quite on point, except for one thing: it’s still racist.

    How? I don’t get it. If I go to another neighborhood, and someone beats me up because they feel that someone of my race doesn’t belong in their neighborhood, and they want to send a message to other members of my race to stay out of the neighborhood, then it’s a hate crime. This is true *regardless of my race*. If it happens to you, it’s a hate crime, *regardless of your race*. The law applies equally to everyone.

    Interestingly, if you look at the hate crime statistics, there are victims who are white, who are straight, etc.

    >>>>Suppose we amend your suggestion so that we protect children from violence, no matter what the reason for it?

    Obviously, beating someone up is already a crime. Hate crime laws are in addition to the underlying crime. Thus assault can be a hate crime *if* it is done because of race, religion, etc., vandalism can be a hate crime if it is done because of race, religion, etc., and so on. If it’s not a hate crime, it’s still assault or vandalism and it’s still against the law. Hate crime laws provide additional penalties because there is an additional crime – the implied threat against the rest of the targeted class. I think perhaps you misunderstand – hate crime laws don’t mean people who beat up kids don’t get punished *unless* the beat up kid is black, gay, etc.

    >>>>See? No racism involved, no special privileges, victims protected, purpose served.

    Except that without hate crime laws, the implied threat to others in the group goes unpunished. If a black family moves into my neighborhood, and someone throws a brick through their window with “you don’t belong here n-” on a note wrapped around it, the victim is not only that family, but anyone else who is black and considering moving to the neighborhood or already living there. This crime is not just simple vandalism – it’s something much, much more scary, to more people than just the targeted family, and should be punished that way.


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    August 5th, 2008
    at 10:52 am

    AND – besides punishment and the justice system, that kind of destructive ignorance is the underlying justification for most social policy including public education. Not saying it’s done well, but it IS important.


    Comment by
    Rob
    August 5th, 2008
    at 2:45 pm

    “The beauty of the idea, though, is that if straight, white guys start being beaten up BECAUSE they are straight, white guys, they too could become a protected class.
    Do let us know if that becomes a widespread problem.”

    The problem has to become widespread in order to do something about it? So, folks in the minority (in this case, straight white guys who get beat up because of what they are) don’t get equal protection under the law?

    Madness.


    Comment by
    speedwell
    August 5th, 2008
    at 5:30 pm

    “The problem has to become widespread in order to do something about it?”

    Yes, apparently it’s open season on straight white boys until someone notices they’re getting mistreated “disproportionately.” And with the play-favorites attitudes around here, that could take a while.


    Comment by
    Nance Confer
    August 5th, 2008
    at 6:25 pm

    Boo-friggin’-hoo!

    Poor straight, white guys. Always getting the short end of the stick. Always getting pushed around. Riiiight. . .

    Reminds me of those Christians who complain of persecution every time someone tells them to back off.

    What kind of person has to shout “me too” when persecution is being acknowledged?

    Nance


    Comment by
    speedwell
    August 5th, 2008
    at 11:10 pm

    Oh, are you accusing me of being a straight white schoolboy? How ridiculous.

    Or maybe you think I’m advocating special rights for straight white schoolboys? If so, your reading comprehension has gone way down. Every word I’ve been saying has been dedicated to the idea that playing favorites is wrong. I’m sure you’re happy with yourself advocating “fairness” on the basis of “some people are more equal than others,” but others of us have more integrity than that.


    Comment by
    speedwell
    August 5th, 2008
    at 11:22 pm

    Look, this is getting ludicrous. One additional thing about bullying that everyone is missing here is that you can be a member of a persecuted class and simultaneously bully somebody else in another, or even the same, persecuted class, or even someone in the “privileged” class. This is not so clear-cut that we can define bullies over here and victims over there. Bullying is the problem and not anything else.


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    August 5th, 2008
    at 11:45 pm

    Speedwell, what if bullying is another symptom and not the disease?


    Comment by
    speedwell
    August 6th, 2008
    at 7:34 am

    Symptom, not disease? Well, that’s an interesting question and I spent some time thinking about what you could legitimately have meant by it. Wisecracks about “all have sinned and fall short” aside, I don’t believe that you blame the natural innate rottenness of “human nature” for it.

    Having been the constant target of school bullying myself (as a nerdy, socially backward little Jewish girl with her nose constantly in a book), I also spent some time wondering why mean people were mean. I noticed that I wasn’t the only target of mean people. Also having to cope, unsupported, with sexual harassment (before it was the cause of the day) from a mentally unbalanced, slightly older boy in my class taught me that most people truly don’t know what they’re doing or why they’re doing it, especially when they’re not fully developed themselves and are thrown into an unnatural, collectivized environment.

    This goes for both bullies and victims. Bullying goes on wherever bullies become persuaded they can get away with bullying and victims are persuaded they must allow themselves to be victimized. But it’s not good enough to put victim groups on a pedestal. It gets pretty crowded up there and there’s still jockeying for privilege, and soon you wind up with separate pedestals for everyone. And when everyone is special, nobody is… apologies to the Incredibles.

    I’m getting off on a tangent. The real problem with our approach so far is that we are looking at groups, not at individuals. There are no clearcut bully groups and no clearcut bullied groups. There are only individual cases of bullying. It’s compassionate and effective to identify a specific bullied child and take appropriate steps to protect them. It’s ignorant and contemptuous to lump everyone into a bully/bullied group, ignoring individual behavior and circumstances, and to apply some sort of omnibus one-size-fits-all “solution” that really doesn’t solve the problem.


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    August 6th, 2008
    at 7:55 am

    It’s ignorant and contemptuous to lump everyone into a bully/bullied group, ignoring individual behavior and circumstances, and to apply some sort of omnibus one-size-fits-all “solution” that really doesn’t solve the problem.

    Ignorant it may be, but the law was not about punishing some groups or rewarding others. It just specified that kids who were perceived to belong to certain groups (gays, etc.) had been subject to bullying in the past and that the schools would make a bona fide effort to teach the kids in their charge that bullying was wrong, even IF the kids are gay (or whatever). The “Christian” groups around here had no problem with listing groups of kids who had been bullied in the past, as long as those lists did not include GLBT.


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    August 6th, 2008
    at 4:50 pm

    I appreciate you taking my question seriously,speedwell, thanks — and thanks for mentioning sexual harassment as yet another form of class-based bullying because it scarred me too. (Sixteen, working at a Bonanza steakhouse in a short-skirted uniform, attacked by the older married boss in the back office, too ashamed to tell anyone because I thought I must’ve brought it on myself somehow.)

    Maybe gay bashing is a form of sexual harassment then? Dunno, I want to think more about whether that’s a useful way of categorizing oppression. . .

    Anyway, my question to you was based on the idea that some kinds of bullying are built into the power structure itself, and so those types are especially hard to address, harder to get even the victims much less the bullies, society or the authorities, to do anything about.

    Like domestic violence, say — the cops just don’t take punches thrown against a girlfriend or wife as “criminally” as the same punches thrown at strangers in a bar, at a teacher or at a cop. And there’s child abuse called discipline, date rape etc.

    I’m just thinking there is all kinds of bullying and just because we recognize they aren’t all the same doesn’t mean we don’t try to stop them all, the best ways we can. So before we get to specific solutions, it seems to me we ought to think long and hard about the different causes for letting it go, that’s all.


    Comment by
    speedwell
    August 6th, 2008
    at 7:29 pm

    …that the schools would make a bona fide effort to teach the kids in their charge that bullying was wrong…

    OK, this is right. So long as it is nonpartisan, that is, it doesn’t pre-label some kids or groups as being bullies and others as being victims. For example, I’ve seen a group of five sixth-grade Hispanic girls in a South Texas middle school sexually harass (basically stalk) a rich, athletic, good-looking white boy in the eighth grade to the point where he dropped out of school. I missed him; he was one of the few kids who was nice to me. My point is that anyone can abuse anyone.

    The “Christian” groups around here had no problem with listing groups of kids who had been bullied in the past, as long as those lists did not include GLBT.

    Oh, this is so sad and wrong and blind… it’s a LIE to deliberately exclude a group from protection based on their exercise of a legitimate freedom or any other nonpertinent criterion; it’s deliberate and savage cruelty.

    Maybe gay bashing is a form of sexual harassment then?

    I’ve had two queer (their word!) friends who were seriously propositioned by straight male bosses in the workplace as quid-pro-quo for raises or vacation scheduling, a transwoman friend who was a hooker (her word, again), and a male-identifying lesbian friend who was picked on in the office because she wouldn’t wear makeup or skirts. Yes, it’s absolutely sexual harassment. It’s the attempt to force someone to act according to a bully’s idea of how the bully would like all members of the victim’s ostensible sex to act.

    …some kinds of bullying are built into the power structure…especially hard to address, harder to get even the victims much less the bullies, society or the authorities, to do anything about…stop them all, the best ways we can…think long and hard about the different causes…

    I absolutely agree with you on this. I’m just trying to make sure we don’t cause extra resentment by pretending some people are more worthy of being protected than others, because the flip side of that is the view that some people are less worthy of being protected than others. Fiat justitia ruat caelum.

    I hope we get this point across equally to “religionistas” who put the scapegoat group outside the city walls to be predated upon, as well as to “feminists” who think all boys had it coming, and to “white separatists” who think those uppity Asians and Jews and Mexicans need to be put firmly in their places, and to jocks who harass nerds in high school, and to nerds who harass jocks in the workplace, and any other group that declares war on any other group.

    OK, I’ve made my points and I think we really agree on the important things… that people need to be protected from violence, that some societies ferment the separation of people into bullies and victims, and so forth. Let’s all go have a companionable drink or the equivalent. 🙂


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    August 7th, 2008
    at 8:38 am

    Heck, if we thought and talked through that, we shouldn’t stop with a social evening, we could actually change the world! 🙂


    Comment by
    StarGirl
    August 7th, 2008
    at 9:19 am

    Speedwell, I think you’ve got some good points. I’ve been framing the issue around *adult* behavior & hate crime laws, but the original issue was actually about school kids, which can require quite a different approach. Like you said, we can’t assume kids know why they’re bullying, or even in some cases that their behavior is not OK (depending on what’s been modeled in their home, etc.). It’s tricky stuff. Pass me the drinks tray – I’m choosing something frothy and fruity.


    Comment by
    speedwell
    August 7th, 2008
    at 6:18 pm

    I’ll have a lovely 25-year-old Scotch. And a glass of whisky, too, if you don’t mind… 😀


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    April 26th, 2009
    at 6:28 am

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