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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