True Tolerence?

Ok, so there’s a website called truetolerence.org. It looks like its promoting tolerence. Well, let’s look.

The whole website is devoted to the concept of bullying in schools, and that all bullying needs to be dealt with appropriately. This is something I can agree with. However, it then goes on to say that schools and gay activitists are trying to push acceptence of the gay lifestyle on the children. Well, I guess that could be successfully argued, but by doing that, you’d have to also admit that the schools are also trying to acceptence of the black lifestyle, the female lifestyle, and the hindu lifestyle. These are all things in which tolerance training focuses on.

Let’s look at their page about the problem with politicizing bullying policies.

Well, they start off by making the claim that “approximately 30 percent of American children report being bullied or having been bullied themselves.” It’s also cited. So I went to the bottom, and checked out their reference. It was three different links. The first two were to news articles where this statistic is mentioned. The last one was to safeyouth.org faqs. That link was dead. So I typed in just safeyouth.org-nothing. This is no meaningful citation. When doing research, citing a second hand source, like a newspaper that just states a claim without backing it up, doesn’t qualify in the least as credible evidence. In my opinion, this statement was cited just to make it look important. But there’s nothing to back it up with.

So, I  moved on. The cited statement is: “In fact, whe you look at the more objective data sources, and not just the information coming from gay activist groups, physical appearance–or the general concept of appearing different than one’s peers–is actually the most common reason reported for why victims are targeted.” This cites a press release from UVA in 2009 at it’s refeence. Well, I check it. This is the section they acquired that from: “Overall, about half of the teachers regarded bullying as a problem at their school, although a large majority reported that new students are made to feel welcome and that students from different neighborhoods get along. More than falf reported that students tease one another about physical appearance and sexual topics, but fewer than on-third reported that students are often put down because of their race or ethnicity.”

Now, if you’ll notice, they said two different things when talking about appearance and race. For the appearance, they said that more than half reported teasing. Now, that’s a pretty broad term. At DT’s there is often jokes made about one another. They are often made about physical appearance or sexual topics. By the statement given above, this would qualify. However, it would be hard to prove this is teasing, because we are doing friendly to one another, like friends often do. We comment about grey hair, beards, bald heads. Also, the students tease one another. That implies that its a trade of insults. Like intellectual sparring. However, when they spoke about race and ethnicity, they specifically pointed out that students felt put down. That explicitly implies what would be considered bullying.

A second source was cited also. This was done in 2007 and in Sweden. It’s listed on PubMed, which is a huge database of published medical studies. Since I don’t subscribe (fee), I can only read the abstract (summary). Now, the first thing that pops into my mind is how is this relevant to American schools? Do we have the diversity we do? Here, in some areas, it would be very difficult to find people who didn’t know a family of a different race or religion/denomination on a personal level. If their culture is more homogeneous then ours, then outward appearance would make someone stick out like a sore thumb. However in a place where everyone is different, then maybe the bullies have to get more imaginative with why they pick on people. This came from the Journal of American Psychiatric Nurses. Again, it was a paper. In the abstract, it says, in its results that “”Sources of teasing and bullying were physical appearance, personal behavior, family and environment, and school relations. ‘Being different in any way’ was the underlying theme”

Call me silly, but wouldn’t being an effeminate boy, a tomboy girl, or having two same-gendered parents be considered…different in any way?

Another citation for this statement comes from The International Child Care Network. They conducted a study in the midwest to see if inner-city schools had more bullying that suburban or rural schools. Not only was this hypothesis incorrect, but the top reasons, not specified which were the most dominate, were physical appearance and socio-familial status, Basically being fat, being poor, or having a weird family.

The next cited statement is: “In fact, statistics indicate that race, ethinicity issues, and even opposite-sex harassment actually accounts for more bullying problems, than do homosexual-related issues.” This citation comes from the New York City Board of Education. They studies “bias-related” bullying, and found that 55% were race based, 21% were gender based, and 13% were orientation/gender identity based. Now, I will conceed that this statement is mostly factual. They have the citation to prove it. However, the way this is stated, it makes the argument that since its not the single biggest reason for bullying, it doesn’t need to be address. Now, bear in mind that, assuming the statistics from NYC are in order of most to least, bullying based on orientation/gender identity was the 3rd largest reason. The way they have framed the argument leads you into what I call a “Bigger Fish to Fry” fallacy. This is because you are saying because there are problems bigger/more pressing, you shouldn’t worry about smaller problems. Worrying about one doesn’t mean that you can’t worry about the other. Technically, it’s a False Dichotomy. Taking care of each problem isn’t mutually exclusive. Also, race and gender are included in diversity/tolerence training. If (shorthand) GLBT topics are number 3 on the list, maybe you should serious consider adding it.

Now, this next quote is delicious. “So an effective policy should be designed to address the widespread nature of the problem; It (sic) should not be a policy that mirrors, or is designed to appease, a narrow political agenda. But unfortunately, in too many schools and legislatures across the land, just the opposite is occuring. This issue is being hijacked by homosexual activist groups who have a more radical goal at heart than just protecting kids.”

So, let’s take this apart. Bullying is widespread. This is accurate. All schools have bullying. What have we learned so far in this post? Being an outsider, for any reason at all, will make you a target for bullying. If you want to create a policy that addresses the whole problem, then you have to look at all the different causes. Race, gender, physical features, wealth, and sexual orientation. Each of these are causes, in and of themselves, of bullying.

Funny this group chooses the phrase “narrow political agenda”. This group, which is a front for Focus on the Family, feels that we need prayer in schools, and will support any administrator who does so. Now, here we have a massive misunderstanding of the Constitution and what “prayer in schools” mean. Prayer in schools was never taken out. It still goes on today, and no one can say a single word about it, because it is student originated. They want administrator originated prayer in schools, which has been struck down for about 40 years.

And finally, they are right, we do have a more radical agenda than just protecting kids. Wanna know what it is? It’s allowing children to be themselves. Allowing them to feel comfortable in their own skin. Not having them be afraid to go to school, and not worrying about what other people think of them. If that is radical, then you ain’t seen nothin yet.

So, this concludes my rebuttal…to page 1. There are 5 pages of argument. I’m not sure if I’ve got the stamina to go through all pages. The stupid, it burns.

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