Earlier this month over dinner, one of my dear friends told a story of hers that I’ve heard many times over the years. It involved a friend of hers and her longtime significant other, a black physician. For a bit of background, the woman involved in this interractial relationship was white. In any event, my friend asked her friend what it was like for her significant other to adjust to having money. My friend was embarrassed to learn that he had actually come from money. In other words, my friend assumed that all black people come from a low socioeconomic background. Furthermore, it was my friend who had come from a low socioeconomic background.
She repeats this story not because she enjoys embarassing herself, but to inform people of the negative assumptions we make when we are uninformed.
When I grew up and attended public school in Beverly Hills, we were taught about black civil rights. Although, I don’t recall having been educated about black positive role models other than some of those involved in the civil rights movement. However, some of my classmates were black and they were my classmates because their parents resided in Beverly Hills. In addition, Tom Bradley served as the Mayor of Los Angeles from 1973 to 1993. He was the first and only black Mayor of Los Angeles, as well as Los Angeles’ longest serving Mayor, having served five terms in office. Keep in mind that I was eight years old when Bradley was first elected to that office. In addition, my parents were personal friends with him and his wife, Ethel. As such, I never made any assumptions similar to those made by my friend.
Nevertheless, when I saw Hidden Figures earlier this year, I felt ignorant that I was hadn’t been aware of such positive and important black figures in our country’s history because they were — well — “hidden.” I don’t like being uninformed because I am well aware that it leads to myths, lies and distortions. This is particularly true among those who aren’t exposed to positive role models from groups different from their own.
As such, I couldn’t be more proud of California for having enacted the “Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act, which requires classroom instruction in the state to include information about the contributions of a wide range of Americans, including Native Americans, LGBT people, and people with disabilities.”
I also felt a great deal of anger, frustration, concern, injustice, disrespect, and sadness when I learned that many parents intended on homeschooling their children or sending them to private school so that they won’t be taught such information. I engaged in one-sided arguments on Facebook with parents who themselves exhibited sexual prejudice against the LGBT community. They argued that as a result of the FAIR Education Act, California and its public schools were doing the following:
- “Indoctrinating, not educating, our kids"
- “LGBT people are pushing and forcing their agendas onto everyone else.”
- “This is not right and disrespectful!"
- “Don't tell me how to live my life cause I don't tell you how to live yours!”
- “It's like pushing religion that you don't believe in or don't want to be a part of.”
- “It’s like forcing Jews or Muslims to practice Christianity. One may respect it but not necessarily would want to be a part of it.”
- “We can coexist without invading each other’s space."
- “It’s fascist for the government to legislate and impose morality on people."
- "WOW !!!! 3% of gays DICTATE to the remaining 97% of people how to live their lives!!!!!!!!”
- "How can they assume someone was gay if they 'never married' lol?
- “Distorting historical truth to push a certain agenda.”
- “It's completely irrelevant, defamatory and erroneous to discuss sexual preference as part of history."
- “Sexual proclivity should not be a subject in school books at all when describing historical figures.”
- “Shoving such information down childrens’ throats via history school books is WRONG!"
- "History like science is based on data and facts you can't just make things up to fit whatever agenda suits you. There are great historical figures of every kind why do you need to invent gay ones and misinform kids whom based on current stats already don't know shit about history!!!!"
- "How’ is it important what sexual orientation a NASA Astronaut is?? I think we are supposed to be indifferent to sexual orientation. Why does that even need to be brought up??"
- "Out of one side of the mouth is, ‘Stay out of our bedrooms. What is done in private is none of your business!’, but the other side is saying, ‘Hey look at all these people. Let's talk about their sex lives!’”
Then came the comments that parents, not schools, should be responsible for teaching children character development and social skills, even though the research shows that they aren’t doing any such thing.
So, let’s discuss these points, other than those linked to outside material because they’ve been previously addressed by me.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines “indoctrinate” as follows:
That, I’m afraid, is what’s known as accepting something on faith, as people do with their religious beliefs. I’m at a loss to comprehend how teaching children “about the contributions of a wide range of Americans, including Native Americans, LGBT people, and people with disabilities” is in any way indoctrinating them into anything. I don’t hear anyone complaining that it “indoctrinates” kids into becoming Native American or disabled. Why is providing similar information to students with regard to LGBT people indoctrinating them? Oh, yes, it’s because of the myths, lies and distortions created and purpetuated by those with the highest levels of sexual prejudice. In fact, it’s religiously-based. You know, created and purpetuated by those who have been indoctrinated to believe such things. In fact, it’s been almost a year since I published an article in which I shared information as to the horrific things many such indoctrinated people were doing to LGBT people.
In October 2017, Donald Trump said, “Don't ask that guy [pointing to Pence] — he wants to hang them all!”
As they say, there is some truth in every joke. Pence's sexual prejudice against the LGBT population is well known and well documented.
Yet, when the government enacts legislation in an effort to break down the myths and destroy the lies and distortions, many people contend that they are instead indoctrinating youth. Surprisingly, youth who aren’t taught sexual education manage to engage in sex. In fact, there is a correlation between teenage pregnancies and lack of sexual education. There’s also a correlation between the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseaseses and the lack of sexual education.
Since the FAIR Education Act is new legislation, the information that will be taught to students in California’s public schools in accordance with that Act is information that’s never before been taught in public school. Furthermore, California is the first and only state to have enacted such legislation so far. In fact, they will be presenting on that topic in Washington DC next week. Interestingly enough, gay people, lesbian people, bisexual people, and transgender people already exist. In other words, they existed even though they weren’t taught about the fight for LGBT civil rights and information and contributions made by LGBT Americans. LGBT people who took sexual edcuation in school also didn’t become straight and cisgender as a result. Parents with LGBT children didn’t pull their children out of school because by previously keeping LGBT history and LGBT figures hidden, the schools were trying to indoctrinate their kids into being straight and cisgender. Parents of LGBT children didn’t pull their children out of school because they feared that teaching them sexual education would indoctrinate their kids into being straight and cisgender. You know why? Because that’s not how human sexuality works!
How is providing children with LGBT history, previously hidden LGBT Americans who’ve made important contributions, and informing them about previously hidden aspects of historical figures’ sexual orientation and gender identity “telling anyone how to live their life”? Oh yes, it’s once again because of the indoctrination people received through religious and societal sexual prejudice.
In what way is providing such information “invading anyone’s space”? In fact, considering the myths, lies and distortions created and purpetuated by those with the highest levels of sexual prejudice, failing to provide such information makes coexistence extremely challenging.
How is providing such information “imposing morality on people”?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines “morality” as follows:
“Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour.”
The schools will be providing the same type of information about LGBT history and historical figures as they will with Native Americans, people with disabilities, and others. Where’s the morality aspect? Oh yes, it’s because of the religious indoctrination people have received that sexual orientation and gender identity are choices, which is why many religious people instead refer to it as “same-sex attraction.” In fact, the comments referring to it as “sexual preference” and “sexual proclivity” reflect nothing more than sexual prejudice based upon the myths, lies and distortions created and purpetuated by those with the highest levels of sexual prejudice.
And, for what it’s worth, the Oxford English Dictionary defines “fascist” as follows:
“An authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization. Extreme authoritarian, oppressive, or intolerant views or practices.”
As such, what California is doing is not fascist, quite the contrary. I’m afraid that’s an example of the pot calling the kettle black.
The comment about not being able to assume someone was gay if they “never married” is my favorite because gay and lesbian people weren’t legally permitted to marry until very recently and such a right is an example of the battles LGBT people have been fighting to obtain civil rights — rights that members of the majority take for granted because they receive such rights merely by virtue of not being members of minority, marginalized and oppressed groups. So, if people didn’t marry members of the same-sex, we can’t assume that they are gay or lesbian, is that right? Let me clue you in - we also can’t assume that people who entered into “traditional marriages” were and are actually straight. I guess gay and lesbian people didn’t exist before they could marry and only those who enter into same-sex marriages are actually gay and lesbian. In other words, this is what is known as a red herring, “an unimportant fact, idea, event, etc. that takes people’s attention away from the important ones.”
The arguments that such education is “distorting historical truth”, “making things up”, “inventing great gay historical figures to misinform kids” is inconsistent with the name of the Act itself, the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act. The “distortion of historical truth” is continuing to deny the history and contributions made by LGBT Americans. How, exactly does this in any way involve information as to what such LGBT people did and do sexually, by the way?
Is “shoving information down childrens’ throats via history school books” or otherwise only wrong when it’s information people would rather keep hidden?
Now let’s discuss the final two comments:
"How is it important what sexual orientation a NASA Astronaut is?? I think we are supposed to be indifferent to sexual orientation. Why does that even need to be brought up??"
"Out of one side of the mouth is, 'Stay out of our bedrooms. What is done in private is none of your business!', but the other side is saying, 'Hey look at all these people. Let's talk about their sex lives!'"
Are people who believe such things of the position that positive LGBT role models should be kept hidden and information shouldn’t be provided in response to the false and harmful information conveyed by those who would like to see all LGBT people put to death. I wrote about this in my article titled "Evangelical Christians Evangelizing Hate Must Be Stopped."
What makes the prejudice against the LGBT population so particularly challenging is that it involves their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Education has been found to reduce prejudice, but those who are sexually prejudiced against LGBT people oppose such education. And, apparently, when LGBT people come out and advocate for civil rights (equal treatment under law), they are told that they are hypocrites for the reason stated in the second quote set forth above.
Now, I didn't realize that by knowing someone is straight, that I'm somehow entering their bedrooms and learning about what is and isn't done sexually behind closed doors. And, over 95% of the population identifies as being straight.
Let me be the first to state that I don't try and envision what straight people do sexually with each other behind closed doors. In fact, being gay, I have absolutely no interest at all in such things and the thought of my engaging in straight sex disgusts me. However, it doesn't disgust me that straight people engage in it because I give no thought to what they do sexually with each other.
That being said, I think it's important that I know how human sexuality works because otherwise I would be ignorant about such things.
Educating people about LGBT history and providing them with positive role models is not indoctrinating them any more than having such history excluded from my education didn't indoctrinate me into being straight. Sexual orientation and gender identity aren't learned; rather, they are aspects of a person's self.
People shouldn’t unnecessarily embarrass themselves as my friend did, when she made a comment based upon her belief that all black people come from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines ignorant as follows:
“Lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated.”
Isn’t school intended to provide knowledge and awareness in general through education?
People shouldn’t want their children to be ignorant. In and of itself, ignorance merely means being uninformed. There is nothing wrong with being uninformed about something because none of us can know everything. However, willful or deliberate ignorance is something completely different. Parents aren’t helping their children by willfully keeping them ignorant.