What is going on in our society with all the “We’ve overcome” language and actions? It seems like people have come to be happy in their choice to become/remain blind to the harsh realities we are doing little to change. I came upon two articles today which scared and enraged me. The first article I will discuss is about a high school in Indiana. There are students, parents, and even a teacher who are fighting for a ‘Traditional Prom,’ which excludes LGBTQ (which they refer to as ‘Gays’). Sound familiar? There has been such a backlash to all things queer recently within our society. It’s like second-wave queerphobia panic. What is frightening about this is the language that is used to dismiss and denigrate people. How can someone say, “I ‘like’ you, but I despise and think that how you live isn’t socially, legally, or politically acceptable,” without seeming like a complete ignoramus? Another scary thing is the fact that there are more people that hold those same convictions, who are not as overt as those in the article I’ve posted. This reminds me of the backlash against miscegenation and integration. This might seem like the proverbial beating a dead horse, but I WOULDN’T HAVE TO if this wasn’t happening so brazenly RIGHT in front of our faces. What can I do about this? I know as Dan Savage suggests, “we can make a noise so loud enough that all the queer kids at Sullivan High School hear it. Those kids need to know that there are people — a lot of people — who think this sh*t is wrong.” REALLY though. If they were able to see that there are a lot of people who are outraged at how discriminatory and bigoted this group for ‘traditional prom’ statements are, I believe it would be life altering. Savage followed the development of this story pretty closely, but I would like to point out one other thing about the development of this story that is getting under my skin. In response to the backlash against this Indiana high school group, members of said group posted on their FB page that they were not a hate group, and that, “We do not hate anyone, we are not judging anyone. We are choosing to stand on the word of God.” I don’t see the logic behind this statement. How in the world are they not judging anyone? Also, stating that they are simply following “the word of God” is a very cowardly defense for such an overt and brazen bigoted act. “Jesus made me do it,” just doesn’t cut it. Of course, there is a HUGE digression about religion that I will simply allude to here…
The second article I came upon is concerning the issue of rejecting the teaching of critical thinking skills in Texas. Here it is:
“Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”
People in the Republican party in the state of Texas are opposed to teaching critical thinking as it will undermine parental authority and CHALLENGE student’s fixed beliefs. My initial response: WHAT?! Isn’t critical thinking something that allows one to interpret situations, makes tough decisions, and allow for intellectual development (among other things)? How is there not outrage in the state of TX? I KNOW there is backlash outside of the state. It is in the books, however erroneously. They claim that it wasn’t supposed to be included in the Republican 2012 platform, but now that it is, it will take A LOT to change what has already been approved. The type of education the GOP is advocating is one that has an, “emphasis on the Judeo-Christian principles upon which America was founded.” There’s even questions on whether teaching critical thinking is even possible, as it is not something like a skill to be learned (e.g., riding a bike, learning to swim, or dancing a tango). The article raises the critical point that even so, that is NOT why the TX GOP is rejecting it. They are rejecting it because it THREATENS hegemony.
So what’s happening here? In both of these situations I see perpetuations of power and control over ANY threat to the ruling class. LGBTQ threatens the traditional heterosexual narrative; there is a bigoted group formed in the name of god to “stand on the word of God,” in order to affirm ‘tradition,’ which is ACTUALLY standing on the backs of already discriminated and marginal populations. Critical thinking challenging the status quo? That’s okay, we will ‘accidentally’ write an overt rejection of it into our platform, which has been approved. These things paired with NC Gov. McCrory’s discussion of the allocations of higher education funding, and the lack of safe spaces for LGBTQI I have been observing within my own community are all SO disparaging to me that I needed to make this visible. I want to make it known that SO many more situations like these are happening, but are falling below the radar. I would love for more people to discuss situations they come across, and challenge it. The more light shed on these situations, the more likely that people will no longer be able to wear the blinders of “We’ve overcome” rhetoric. These are just two examples of a SOCIETY of hate, discrimination, and preservation of the ruling class. From this, I KNOW I will keep writing, researching, and acting out!
Last thing, if the Indiana high school issue (Sullivan High School) has outraged or offended you, here is a petition that you can sign for there to be some punitive action taken in regard to the teacher (Diana Medley) who is advocating the hate group.