I read the article from the Safe School Czar “Be A Man” with an admitted distaste, just based on what little I’ve heard of the guy. The mindset that just telling a kid to wear a condom when informed about a teen going home with a stranger he’d met in a public restroom creeps me out a little. This isn’t the kind of guy I’d want around my kids if I had any.
But the point of his story, and what first led me to it was that somehow he felt that violence was a normal behaviour for boys. He was being portrayed as advocating violence against people who tease, however, it was, as was pointed out to me, more a case of the author saying “we shouldn’t be surprised” when boys kill those who tease them. Society raises boys, according to the author, that killing is a way to prove their manhood. Or some such rubbish.
What I read from that was: “If a boy kills those who tease him, it is society’s fault.”
Clearly, the guy has struggled with his gender role identity. In that respect, I pity him. But he’s so wrapped up in his homophobia-phobia that he truly misses some major points.
A little more than six months after “Be A Man” was reprinted, the Columbine massacre happened. Initial accounts, at least, seem to point to two students acting out in violence at the more popular kids in school who may have teased them, or something along those lines. Other than the intensely focused homophobia aspect, “Be A Man” is almost prophetic.
In the author of “Be A Man”‘s view, it’s extreme gender role imprinting that causes kids to tease mercilessly. But, instead of teaching kids appropriate responses, his goal is to teach everyone to be gay friendly. I mean, this guy is extremely focused on his narrow agenda. By doing so, he pretty much excuses the behaviour of kids who act out violently as the fault of society. And this is the critical error in his, and many like him’s thinking. Instead of teaching that it’s not okay to respond to name calling violently, he wants to sensitize the name callers to not be name callers. Understandably, in itself, that’s fine. But it’s also incredibly unlikely to succeed outside of a closed system.
So, the first thing I would suggest, is instead of blaming society for making kids want to act out violently, let’s start by teaching them that acting out is a personal choice for which there are consequences. It is not society’s fault there are mean people in the world, it’s just reality. Start by teaching more appropriate responses, not expecting the bad guys to play fair.
This is also how I feel about hate crime legislation. How is creating protected classes of people who have their own set of rules when it comes to crimes against them supposed to do anything, except have more people crying “hate crime” whenever they feel they’ve been wronged. That and create resentment from the less protected classes.
About 20% of violent crime is inter-racial, of that number it is disproportionately crimes against whites. Yet whites are charged twice as often with hate crimes. When you come up with a way to jibe those two numbers, let me know.
Instead of creating more victims, let’s call a heinous crime a heinous crime. But if burning a cross on one person’s lawn is a hate crime, it damn sure better be the same crime as it is on the next person’s lawn.
Special protection by laws that are unequally administered artificially increases the number of victims, it doesn’t reduce crimes. Unless you’ve solved the puzzle from a few paragraphs back about why the group that is proportionally more often the target of violent crime is also the group that is disproportionately charged with more hate crimes.
I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that an unequal administration of justice is the only way those two numbers make sense.
There are two things that strike me as similar in the gay rights school czar story, and the hate crimes bill. Name calling as a crime. I was taught that certain words were so taboo that you must never say them. If you said them, you could expect violent reaction.
Here’s the rub. Name calling is not justification for violence.
So, in addition to not blaming society when someone teases you, my second suggestion is this. Stop pretending there are protected classes that are immune to getting teased. Stop teaching your kids that it’s okay to react violently if someone says your particular keyword that historically has justified violent behaviour.
Got it? Two things: One, Be responsible for your actions and don’t blame society; and two, don’t react to name calling with violence.