In Emily Bazelon‘s new book Sticks and Stones, she writes about the issue of bullying, why it’s a big deal now more than ever before, what bullying is and isn’t, etc.
To no one’s surprise, she spends some time talking about the bullying of gay and lesbian students and suggests that one way to fix the problem is by introducing children to books such as Heather Has Two Mommies and My Princess Boy — both of which depict LGBT people as perfectly normal — at a younger age so that they see LGBT classmates as peers, not victims who deserve to be bullied. (Even if you’re not fans of those particular books, the idea is that we need to educate all students to be respectful of those who may be different from them in some way.)
… When it comes to the bullying of gay or lesbian students, for instance, she writes, “research shows that schools have to teach not just tolerance of an alternative lifestyle — the old code for keeping homosexuality at arm’s length — but acceptance. They have to teach, early and often, that there is nothing wrong with the sexuality of gay students or with the lives they lead.”
To do that, she argues, we should start them young, putting “books such as Heather Has Two Mommies or My Princess Boy on the kindergarten or first-grade bookshelf.”
You’ll have to excuse me for a moment, as I believe few dozen capillaries just ruptured inside my head. I think we can all probably agree that the bullying of gay and lesbian students is unconscionable. I also don’t care what consenting adults do in the bedroom, and I don’t think the government should care either. But I certainly do care if you try to promote sexual content to my 5-year-old while he’s at school. (I guess the good news, if one can call it that, is that many government schools can’t teach kids to read. Take that, Princess Boy! You might as well be written in Farsi!)
This is really the problem with conservatives talking about homosexuality: We see these books as promoting love and respect and strong families… and Wilhelm sees sex. Only sex. Nothing but sex. (Though, she later contradicts herself by saying “This isn’t, of course, really about sex.”)
Then, just to dig herself into an even deeper hole, she keeps going:
Do we also need a copy of “Bobby’s Daddy Hasn’t Showered in Sixteen Days, and He’s Bingeing on Cheetos, and That’s OK”? (By the way, I am by no means equating being gay with being overweight or odorous. This should be obvious, given the large number of gay people who are trim, well-groomed, and well-dressed, but you never know.)
It’s a good thing she added that parenthetical or I might have accused her of being a bigot who generalizes from her own ignorance.
Eventually, she says we should teach kids that all human beings are worthy of respect — and she’s right — but that’s exactly what these programs are trying to do. The problem is that LGBT students (or children of LGBT parents) are disproportionately bullied — and the umbrella approach to tolerance has left them out far too often. What’s more, many religious parents and pastors — especially evangelical Christian ones — go out of their way to preach against homosexuality (and, whether they admit it or not, homosexuals), making it very difficult for children to be both respectful to everyone while harboring some sort of irrational fear of same-sex relationships.
Wilhelm even admits as much when she refers to one passage in Bazelon’s book:
“You’re asking a school to do something differently than what’s done at home and church,” Whitney Pellegrino of the Justice Department tells Bazelon. “It’s a long process.”
If that quote doesn’t scare you, nothing will…
See?! The government is indoctrinating your children and turning them into kind, loving, decent human beings. WE CAN’T HAVE THAT!
This whole idea of accepting and respecting homosexuality at a young age, says Wilhelm, is just an example of liberal/government overreach:
You could also teach kids that all human beings are worthy of respect and love and should not be tormented, but that might be too simple for the people who brought you Obamacare. Plus, it’s just not as fun as social engineering.
Obamacare! Yes! Somewhere, Wilhelm is checking off a box on her list of Things All Conservatives Must Mention in Every Article, Even if it Makes No Sense. (I’m amazed she didn’t find a way to work “Solyndra” in there.) I wonder what else she can check off…
It’s about the government’s incredible and growing reach into our lives (Michelle Obama at the Oscars, anyone?) and a prime example of classic governmental “problem solving.”
I remember that moment. Michelle Obama appearing on the Oscars ruined my life. How dare she appear on TV. She was in my newspaper the other day, too! And on the Internet! When will the madness stop?!
It must have slipped Wilhelm’s mind that Ronald Reagan also appeared on an Academy Awards telecast… I’m worried about her. She might want to get those capillaries in her head checked out. They’re hurting the way she thinks.