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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Seeds of Hatred

You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward.
James Thurber (1894–1961), "The Bear Who Let It Alone", Fables for Our Time, 1940.

Massachusetts has certainly been in the news lately, and none of it has been flattering. Two young men are making headlines, and Porcupine wonders if there isn't a line that can be drawn between them.

Jason was a deeply unhappy and troubled eighteen year old, who became attracted to a white supremacist mentality and began a tirade of hate and loathing, ending in a hatchet attack upon the patrons of a bar and the death of a police officer in Arkansas. His ideas and actions were reprehensible, but Porcupine wonders why such extreme attitudes grew in one so young.

Then, Porcupine learns of another young man who has been suspended from his Brockton school at the age of five for sexual harassment for touching a young girl in his class. The suspenson is ludicrous upon its face, as harassment requires a sustained pattern of abuse rather than a single incident, but pause to consider if Jason Robida was also told about his intrinsic unworthiness at a very young age.

The only real unforgivable sin in our culture anymore is to be white, healthy, straight, and male. If you are rich too, then a pact with Satan is obvious.

Christina Hoff wrote about this phenomenon in 2000 in her book, "The War Against Boys", and was soundly trounced for having bizarre and incorrect views. Her book was summarized with a 2000 New York Times piece, which questioned a spate of feminist books claiming that girls in school needed special attention (link
HERE). Four years earlier, she had written an article with the same title for the Boston Globe about an incident in a Worcester school (link HERE) which bears a striking resemblance to the current situation in Brockton. One telling paragrah reads as follows:

While the boys need re-education, the girls need all the help they can get to survive in the "patriarchy." Consider the girls-only holiday "Take Our Daughters to Work Day," an annual event organized and run by the Ms. Foundation. Reacting to growing protests over the boys' exclusion, the Ms. people decided to initiate "Son's Day," an annual holiday for boys. Among the suggested activities for "Son's Day" are:

* Take your son to an event that focuses on ... ending men's violence against women. Call the Family Violence Prevention fund at 800 END-ABUSE for information.
* Make sure your son is involved in preparing the family for the work and school week ahead. This means: helping lay out clothes for siblings [and] making lunches ...

In short, this punitive little holiday was contrived by women who are convinced that what our male children need most is indoctrination.

She further explained, "For the past 10 years, groups, such as the American Association of University Women, the Ms. Foundation for Women and the Legal Defense and Education Fund have been successfully lobbying the federal government to impose strict harassment codes in the schools. In August (of 1996), the US Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights issued a 26-page guideline on the subject of "peer harassment." No age limits were specified." In 1996, at the begining of the enforcement of these policies here in Massachusetts schools, Jason Robida was eight years old.

Porcupine expects to be excoriated for writing this, but please consider. While positive role models are presented for every minority, such as persons of every color, women, and the disabled, positive protraits of 'dead white men' have been given a shorter and shorter shrift in school curriculums and socitey at large. Porcupine finds it interesting that here in the blogosphere, where we are all disembodied voices, charges of racism, sexism and predjudice are flung around quite freely, when those making these claims has no idea of the race, gender, age or inclination of the writer.

In the conclusion of her book, Sommers writes, "In our schools, therapeutic practices have effectively supplanted the moral education of yesterday. Ironically, those who pressed for discarding the old directive moral education did so in the name of freedom, for they sincerely believed that moral education "indoctrinated" children and "imposed" a teacher's values on them, something they thought the schools had no right to do. In fact, the "therapism" that took the place of the old morality is far more invasive of the child's privacy and far more insidious in its effects on the child's autonomy than the directive moral education that was once the norm in the every school."

Porcupine has long contended that we have changed in this country from a patriarchy, brusquely ordering from the top down, to a matriarchy, intruding into and drearily attempting to regulate every facet of life and thought. As our Cape towns become 'No Place for Hate', it is to be hoped that young straight white males do not come to feel that they are the only true Judas goats left.

That may have been how Jason Robida felt.


Blogger marybeth said...

Regarding Take Your Daughters/Sons/Children-Who-Prefer-Not-To-Have-a-Gender-Label To Work Day - One day a year to introduce girls to the opportunities available to them and to teach boys to be more concerned with their family obligations away from work is silly. Finding the right balance between career and family is something both sexes need to learn and it's a year-round project.

I don't need to take my sons to a Family Violence Prevention event to teach them (and my daughter) that they should do what they can to aid and protect the weak from bullies. Bullies come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and sexes. Focusing on just one type is (again) silly.

Your post also made me think of a couple of questions. First, if Robida had been from Arkansas, how likely would it have been that his actions would have been used to claim that all of the south/Biblebelt is bigoted? I'm willing to bet that the evil, bigoted ways of the red states would have been a hot topic of discussion but I seem to have missed the same correlation being discussed about Massachusetts/blue states.

Second, (veering off on a tangent) I wonder if teaching young men and boys that white men are the root of all that is wrong with the country is, in part, responsible for the hip-hop, gansta wanna-be behavior I have seen in teenage boys. I've wondered before why white, middle-class suburban boys would want to dress, talk, and act as though they grew up in an inner-city ghetto. Maybe the marginalization of white males is part of the reason.

1:46 PM  

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