Archive for tolerance

What Message Are Police Sending To Young Boys?

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Boy

The Boy Scout Oath:

On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.

Who can argue with that? Who can refuse promoting those solid, non-sectarian beliefs?

Ben Wolfinger

Evidently the police in northern Idaho. Ben Wolfinger, the sheriff of Kootenai County, just decided not to renew his department’s charter with a local Boy Scout troop. He had his reasons. How valid they are is another story.

He made his decision to refuse sponsorship for this national organization for one reason and one reason only. It wasn't money. It was that the Boy Scouts of America lifted its ban on gay members. According to Wolfinger, his Christian faith and reliance on biblical teachings led him to his decision. How unchristian of him. He chooses bigotry over charity.

Now sponsoring a worthwhile program like the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts of America seems like a pretty nice thing to do. Generous and uncontroversial as well. Considering the benefits to the members, the kids, the parents and the volunteers, it's to be lauded. Unless you're some kind of right-wing religious zealot.

Is this community leader, a police officer sworn to uphold the law (and that means anti-discrimination and hate laws) withholding his support? He's hiding behind the religion wildcard. Is he really saying that he can't be any support to any group that promotes equality?

According to the US Scouts Organization, the BOY SCOUT LAW:

A Scout is:

  • Trustworthy,
  • Loyal,
  • Helpful,
  • Friendly,
  • Courteous,
  • Kind,
  • Obedient,
  • Cheerful,
  • Thrifty,
  • Brave,
  • Clean,
  • and Reverent.

I don't see anti-Gay in there. So what's the problem?

Unless the narrow-minded Sheriff sees something there that I don't, I suggest that he turn in his badge and refuse to take his pension on religious beliefs. The police help people of all colors, races, creeds, and orientations. Sheriff Wolfinger wishes to exempt himself from that on religious belief. If that's the case, let him go.

People around the country must stop this nonsense of selectively picking and choosing which religious interpretations they want just when it suits their bigotry. This is another one of those cases and sadly, it's a black eye for law enforcement both in Idaho and in the rest of the country.

If police want to benefit from an improved community recognition, cooperation and acceptance, if they want regular people to appreciate the fine job many of them do, then giving something back to communities is just such a move. Refusing aid, help and the backing of their departments just makes them look on par with the criminals they are hired to apprehend.

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Bigotry And Sexism All Under One Tent - The Tea Party

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racism

MSNBC and Reince Priebus had a little skirmish around the time of the Super Bowl. It had to do with a questionably accusatory statement released on a tweet by an employee of the cable news outlet. In that twitter remark, the staffer implied that Republican right wingers might not be happy over a new, interracial commercial for Cheerios, to debut during the big football event.

Via Talking Points Memo:

Last year, the cereal brand Cheerios released a commercial that featured an interracial couple and their biracial daughter. The racist backlash against seeing a black man with a white woman was so severe that Cheerios had to disable comments on its YouTube account. During the Super Bowl this year, the brand double-downed on its efforts to be reflective of a diverse nation and released a second commercial featuring the same family.

So based on history, the staffer made his/her comment. Phil Griffin, the head of MSNBC apologized in print and over the phone with RNC Chair, Priebus. He also fired the employee.  I'm not sure why Griffin felt this was necessary as history had spoken on this issue. But being the man he is and feeling it was in everyone's best interest for the network not to appear insensitive by painting all right-wing conservatives with the same brush, Griffin did what he did. Sadly, Priebus wasn't quite so gracious in his handling of the apology. He accepted the actions, but with strings and a stern warning attached, "We'll be watching you."

If only that were true -- maybe the troubled GOP would learn a thing or two.

Well, the Super Bowl comes and goes, and there were some rumblings about the inter-racial family once again, but nothing like the last time. There was more of an outrage over America The Beautiful, just a song, not an anthem as many have claimed, sung in different languages. Somehow, the self-stamped,  true-blooded Americans were outraged that the song could be co-opted for singing (respectfully) by anyone other than a card carrying American citizen. I'm sure many of those same folks might take offense at Obama singing this song as his origins are still fodder for many right-wing discussions and accusations.

So, getting back to the racism issue and the TPM article -- there's a bit more to this undercurrent. It seems that there are levels of implied tolerance.

The American public seems more willing to accept (or ignore) seeing a black woman with a white man than a black man with a white woman.

So how's that match up with society as it really is?

According to reports, black men have a higher rate of interracial marriage than black women, which means it’s more common, and yet it also launches more racist backlash.

Backlash? By whom? Who has the right to criticize?

While bigots focus on tearing down the significance of the family in the Cheerios commercials, advertisements featuring white men with nonwhite women are overlooked. Commercials with white men coupled with black women don’t cause nearly as much disagreement as the inverse.

interracial family

How interesting. So race and sex are intertwined when it comes tolerance. What's okay or "allowable" for one combination is seen as more offensive for others.

Maybe it’s because white men are seen as improving a black woman’s life, saving her from black men who are more interested in dating white women, if various statistics are to be believed.

I have to say, I don't believe this kind of thinking is coming from liberals. If this is the conservative way of thinking, who votes the conservative path? Mostly Republicans. And which branch or wing of the GOP holds racial feelings the strongest? If you ask me, it's the Tea Party.

So this brings me back to the MSNBC apology that the interracial Cheerios ad might have been offensive to right wingers. Well add a sexist angle to this as well. Racism is wrong on every level. But when you add sexism to the conflagration, watch out. Hatred is being fanned, and not by any one group -- though if you look at the statistics, you can see where it's festering the most.

GOP, you want to bring more people to your party, especially women, immigrants and people of color? Maybe start taking some responsibility and speaking out against ignorance. Reince, instead of feigning hurt, look into the accusations leveled at you and address them from within. Obviously when criticized from outside the party, the Republicans drop to the fetal position and sob they're being picked on unjustly. Look around you GOP. Where are your women, your people of color, your immigrants? They're under the Democratic and Independent tents seeking shelter from your rain.

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"Rare black Santa... our children can relate to." Oh, and Megyn Kelly "would not have been considered 'white.'"

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Santa

black Santa

Melissa Harris-Perry wrote an astute, thought-provoking letter to Santa Claus in response to the ongoing mind-boggling controversy that is still all too prevalent in the year 2013:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Additionally, the Los Angeles Times devoted quite a bit of well-deserved print space to a heartwarming piece about a beloved Los Angeles mall Santa Claus, a 77-year-old man named Langston Patterson:

For nearly a decade, Patterson has been the main attraction at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza during Christmastime: a rare black Santa Claus in a sea of white ones.

The mall, located in the heart of black Los Angeles, is one of the few in the country with a black Santa Claus. Some say Patterson is the only black shopping-mall Santa Claus in the Los Angeles area.

As visitors approached him on a recent afternoon, it was hard to tell who was more excited: the youngsters or the adults. The parents are the most loyal. They return with grandchildren, passing on a family tradition with a deep personal meaning.

Better not tell Fox's Megyn Kelly; she might "jest" about it.

Speaking of the Megster, check out this Moment of Must Read from Juan Cole:

So while St. Nikolaos would probably be considered “white” in today’s America, he would not necessarily have been in the early twentieth century.

Likewise, a Jew from Nazareth would definitely not have been considered “white” by many Protestant Americans in the early twentieth century. There would have been social clubs he couldn’t have gotten into.

But here’s the kicker. Megyn Kelly has an Irish name, and if she is Irish-American, then she would not have been considered “white” by many Protestant northerners in the nineteenth century.

So let's get a few things straight:

Everyone is born covered with skin whose function it is to keep our blood, bones, and organs in place, and that skin has pigment, sometimes more, sometimes less. More pigment means more protection from the sun and inexplicably, more contempt and inequality. Less pigment means more vulnerability and requires a higher SPF, and inexplicably, less ridicule and torment and more privilege.

Religion is "belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods." Belief in a god or some other higher power is not innate, it is taught. We are raised a certain way, trained, and eventually accept or reject our religious/non-religious upbringing.

Prejudice, bigotry, racism, discrimination are also learned and cultivated; toddlers are not racists. Babies do not shun other babies based on their skin tone, nor are they repulsed by anyone's sexual orientation.

People are different. Their world views are different. Their colors, languages, appearances, physical, and psychological configurations are different. Their experiences are different.

We are a huge and diverse crowd that shares one planet, we always have been, we always will be.

Get over it, people. We are woefully-- painfully-- overdue to finally accept and embrace all of those myriad traits, characteristics, beliefs, non-beliefs, hues, heights, weights, and varieties of human beings that inhabit Earth. We live together in one enormous place, and not one of us is better than the other because of where we were born, who we love, what we do or don't believe in, or our genetic make-up. Not. One.

That discussions like these still consume so much media space, debate time, and human energy is bewildering. Then again, that Fox calls itself a news station and continues to draw viewers is equally bewildering.

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Bullying - Learned In School, Practiced In The Adult World - It Must Stop

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bullying

We've all been exposed in real life to bullying -- either as an innocent bystander, perhaps even as a swept-up in the moment participant or sadly as a victim. Let's be real with ourselves, even if we can't be with others. We're more likely to have contributed at some point than to have rushed to someone's defense. That doesn't make us bad. It means we're all human and we're all vulnerable. Nobody wants to be on the outside looking in. There are pressures many times to join in or be ostracized ourselves. So we take the weak or cowardly way out. The course of least resistance.

Like sucking our thumbs or picking our noses, we generally outgrow these dirty habits. Some of them are learned naturally, others in school. They generally start when we're young and vulnerable. That's where they're most likely going to be corrected. Yet for many, the bad habits continue on to later in life when the damage can be even worse.

If we don't find ourselves early enough, if we don't develop the strength to stand up for justice, fairness and tolerance for others not as well off or popular, the future isn't pretty. Below is a video that's worth looking at.

Bullying - Catch it early or it'll catch us: The translation at the end says,

"A day of work doesn't have to be like this. Nor a day at school. Bullying is learned!"

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The GOP Doesn't Have Problems With Women -- It's With Their Men

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Bitch Please

The message has finally started to get through to the Republican party. They have a problem with women voters. A huge problem which if not addressed properly could cost them big time in 2014 and certainly in 2016. Or so women are saying according to the early polls.

GOP men needed to do a better job communicating with women. The obvious gender gap between the parties isn't new. It's just the GOP's disdain for the female species has approached a point of no return. So the Republican men's club has called together a meeting of their misogynist group to address their problems with the chicks. ("Not that they exist, but is't way to shut up the bitches.") We all know those sluts need to be talked down to so they'll understand us. After all, their minds, just like their bodies, are weak and like jello, and don't work as well as the superior men's. (To paraphrase Arnold Schwarzenneger)

So gentlemen of the GOP, when your speakers address the issues of gender equality in communications, platform planks and respectful courtesies within the Grand Obstructionist Party toward women, don't pay attention. This isn't a real issue. If it was, it would be coming from real GOP men, like Todd Akin, Rep. Phil Gingrey, or Rep. Trent Franks.

But for any true open minded GOP-er out there, a rare genus of the species, the first step is to recognize you have a problem. And just attending one workshop isn't going to fix what ails you. Going to one AA or NA meeting isn't going to cure your illness. It'll put you on the road to recovery. Yet over time and with weekly or even daily visits in the beginning, you can start up the 12 step ladder to a healthy existence. Admitting you have a problem is only step one.

I think some of the GOP have now taken that first step. Now assume responsibility and educate yourselves. Stop criticizing the "dames" and those "skirts." Enough with thinking women are here for man's pleasure, alone. And look yourself in the mirror and admit you're not superior, but hopefully equal. Educate yourself. The Democrats may have the jackass as their symbol. But the GOP has the dumbass as their reputation.

I'm not one to offer much advice to the Republican party, but in this case I will. Watch this video. Watch it all the way through. See how many of the successes you and your GOP party are responsible for. Then count how many of the failures you're directly involved with.

You want to know how to reach women? Here's how:

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Kinky Fears On Kinky Boots

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Kinky Boots the Musical 2

Well, it's Monday and we're back to work. Something's been gnawing at me over the long weekend, and it wasn't the long lines for Black Friday, Small Saturday or today's Cyber Monday.

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving, as everyone who's still reaching for some anti-acid knows. Our belts are still let out two notches too many and we're still shaking our heads over some of the conversations with distant (in some cases from reality) relatives that we now won't have to have endure until next November.

A standard piece of tradition fare for me and my family is and has been for over half a century the watching of at least some of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Face it, it's a staple item and as much a part of the holiday as the pumpkin pie, the turkey itself or the tryptophan-induced coma after eating.

In scanning the globe for stories as I do each day, plus monitoring the Twittersphere, looking for instantaneous reactions to the world at large, I was shocked and amazed and the outrage and uproar one of the performances generated from the televised parade.

It was this performance of the Tony Award-winning musical, Kinky Boots.

Here's a sampling of the uproar of tweets this performance generated:

And then then there was this one:

And this...

Now these are but three samplings of the fear and potential hate that are being demonstrated by some pretty opinionated folks. What are they really afraid of?

They seem to feel that indicating any alternative lifestyle is harmful. What is it in this family-friendly clip they are compelled to explain to their children, or even worse, protect them from?

This is a celebration of  life. Do these shallow people think that LGBT people have an illness? Haven't we gotten past that yet? This is no more a choice than the zebra having stripes or the peacock having feathers. Being gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender is a part of life. A healthy part. And perpetuating fears isn't helping anything or anybody. Being LGBT is not contagious nor are they recruiters to their "sexuality." Recruitment is left to missionaries, sports coaches and the military. Three fears your children should be warned about more than something that's not a choice.

Ignorance is what's at hand here. And it's the tweeters who are demonstrating fear and perpetuating hate. If you want to "educate" your children, or America in general, and protect them, warn them of the dangers of ignorance and intolerance. That's going to do them much more good than scaring and misinforming them.

Don't be a poster child for stupid. Be a leader in smart.

So perhaps if you feel you need to explain anything to your children, it should be tolerance, acceptance and if you're really progressive, a sense of high, snappy, fashion.

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Would Parents Have Deserted Son If He Had Cancer?

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I wish

I wish I was taller, stronger and had more hair. But I don't. I live with what I was given. And there are very few people who I've met who found my limitations (in my mind only) cause for ridicule or mockery. Oh, I've take a few short jokes, a few reseeding hairline quips, but nothing I couldn't handle. I can't remember ever being denied anything other than once, at the Eastern States Exposition when I was a kid, I wasn't tall enough to go on ride. My friends went. I just had to stand and watch. But I wasn't singled out for a random reason. It was a safety issue, and I understood that.

So my life has been a series of choices, based on reasonable logic. No one said "Hey shortie, you suck. Get off my property." Or "hey baldie, the toupee shop's at the other end of the mall." And even with my average looks, I've never been asked to leave Abercrombie & Fitch, though I surely don't fit the profile of the guys on their posters or shopping bags. Hey, we can all dream, right?

I have limitations that are not of my own making. Height. Looks. Middle-aged baldness. My sexuality is not a choice either. I was born heterosexual and am happily married with two kids. I didn't chose that life. It's who I am.

Nick kicked out of house

HUFFPO reports on an 18 year old boy named Nick who's life was turned upside down recently. He was a victim of ignorance, not his choices. Just because he discovered who he is inside, he now faces dire consequences doled out by his parents. Some anonymous person tipped them off that their son might be bisexual. It makes you wonder if he had been stricken with cancer if his family would have treated him the same way. Is human sexuality worse than cancer? Neither are a choice.

When Nick's parents found out their son was bisexual, they threw him out of the house, leaving his belongings on the front yard. They also confiscated all of his savings he earned bagging groceries as a part-time job while attending school. Although his parents did not support him, hundreds of strangers have rallied around the homeless, penniless 18-year-old to offer their support. So far they managed to raise thousands of dollars.

Nick is who he his, not who he chose to me. Becoming a lawyer or an engineer might be something he picks to do, but what he's made of mentally and emotionally, who and what he desires, is outside of that realm choice.

Two things amaze me about this story. First, that one day his "loving" parents accept him, then the next they shun him, literally tossing him to the curb. That hurts to hear. It makes you wonder what kind of folks they really are. After 18 years and no reported problems within his household which includes three sisters, it's rumors of his sexuality that cause his father and step-mother to discard him like stale fish?

The second facet of this event is the outpouring of love and support Nick has received from friends and mostly strangers. This travesty is turning into a cause. The awareness of other torn individuals, of any age, 12 or 82, to come out and just accept themselves and the hand that life has dealt them is uplifting.

Sadly there are the narrow minded among us who don't let love and family rule over bias and bigotry. I certainly don't hate Nick's parents. I don't know them. But Nick does. And when the shock of his displacement sets in, hopefully the outpouring of love and compassion he's receiving will far outweigh any ill thoughts he may have for them.

I know my gay friends always feared their coming out. Yet once they did, they had, for the most part, gained acceptance. Maybe not immediately, but over time. And they were happier for it.

Good luck Nick. Just because you may have discovered you're the "B" in LGBT, you deserve to be happy. We all do. I hope you find it.

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