Wednesday, February 7, 2007

How are you wrong? Let me count the ways

Oh man, this is awesome, awesome, awesome. Here's an article about Tonia and David Parker's lawsuit in Massachusetts by those parents who didn't want their kid to have read King and King. OK, the lawsuit isn't awesome, but at least this time they're on the defense, not us. But here's a fun quotation from the plaintiffs' lawyer:
What they fear is that their children are being brainwashed.
Brainwashed, of course, into thinking that GLBT people are full and equal human beings.

Since everyone in this "debate" thinks that the other side is actually insane, I'm going to try to avoid labeling this family as insane. Let's just say that they're coming from a very different place from very different experiences than I am. So let's try think of all the assumptions that are necessary to go into a statement like that, ignoring the legal issues and thinking of it just as an intellectual argument.
  1. In a hierarchical relationship like student/teacher, it is possible to avoid indoctrinating kids.
  2. The kid cannot think for himself when he gets to be a bit older.
  3. It is impossible for parents to brainwash their kids. (Their word, not mine.)
  4. Avoiding discussing GLBT people at all is value-neutral.
  5. Their kid isn't queer.
  6. No one in their family is queer.
  7. No one in the classroom is being raised by same-sex parents.
  8. The kid will not know any queer people until he is eighteen.
  9. The parental right to teach their kid their morals always trumps any obligation for him to learn to be a good citizen.
  10. There is something inherently wrong with being gay.
  11. There is something inherently wrong with gay people.
  12. Same-sex parents don't have the same parental right to remove their kids from the classroom when anything related to heterosexuality is being discussed.
  13. Morality is relative. (This is funny considering how often GLBT folk get accused of being relativists, but this whole parental rights thing is really just saying that two individuals should have the right to tell their kids whatever and there's no need for it to be right or wrong and no one can interfere.)
  14. It is possible to make every statement value-neutral to all kids in a classroom.
  15. It is practical to have a revolving door for kids to leave and enter the classroom whenever there is material being presented that their parents don't agree with.
  16. Class material can and should be separated into neat categories of "straight" and "not-straight". (Like, think about when they have to learn about Alexander the Great or the song "America the Beautiful", which was written by a lesbian.)
  17. Straight people can lay claim to the first category and exclude the latter from everyone's experience.
  18. There isn't a legitimate interest in fostering diversity in schools.

OK then! I think I'm out, how many can you think of?

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