As diversity increases, so, too, does the notion that every individual has the right to never — and I mean never — be offended. It’s an ironic societal occurrence that leaves one scratching his or her head, while wondering if there’s a larger-scale cultural problem at play.
Here, you have the most technologically-advanced nation, comprised of people who are regularly exposed to divergent ideas and cultures through social media and every day life, yet there’s an expectation that opposing views should, in many cases, either be silenced or tamed. Individuals’ failure to even allow thoughts and ideas that hold the potential to offend, while oft-times seeking to silence detractors, is fascinating.
Take, for instance, gender specific events (father-daughter dances and mother-son baseball games, to name two examples). While these have been staples in communities across America, one Rhode Island school district will no longer be allowing them. Why, you ask? Because they’ve been ruled discriminatory and, thus, offensive. Earlier today, I covered this story on TheBlaze. Here’s an overview of some of the factors at play:
Rhode Island dominated headlines earlier this year after a teen atheist successfully sued to have a prayer mural removed from Cranston High School West in Cranston, Rhode Island. Now, there’s two new targets within the very same school district: Father-daughter dances and mother-son baseball games.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has now successfully stopped gender-based events from unfolding. An effort to halt these practices took form after a mother, upset over the fact that her daughter doesn’t have an active father in her life and, thus, feels left out of the aforementioned dance, complained to the civil rights group.
In the end the ACLU was successful in nixing the dances and baseball games, as the school district very quickly bowed to its demands and cancelled both traditions. Cranston Public Schools Superintendent Judith Lundsten said that the events were being halted so that the district would be in compliance with state-gender discrimination law.
Certainly, one can sympathize with the young woman at the center of the debate. So, too, will many feel for those families that would have enjoyed these continued traditions, but will now no longer be able to. One wonders: Is this inability to allow oneself to feel left-out or sidelined indicative of a greater problem in our culture?
After all, children, teenagers — even adults — have much to learn from life’s trials and tribulations. While feeling excluded is never a particularly positive experience, sometimes it’s a fact of life (and one that can help people learn and progress as individuals). In the end, we can’t all win all of the time. Is it realistic to teach children that they have a right never to feel like the odd man out?
While some will dismiss this father-daughter case as absurd, others, like the ACLU will herald it. Either way, these culture debates aren’t likely to ramp down. In fact, much of what the atheist activist community advocates for is based upon this very same argument: Being left out simply isn’t permissible in today’s society. By having a nativity scene on public property or a cross inside the 9/11 Memorial Museum, non-believers feel offense and, much like the young woman in the aforementioned story, they feel excluded.
The question is: Should these cases and others like them be settled to benefit the minority or should the majority have its voice heard? While it’s certainly a tough discussion, some of the cases, as seen above, seem to take the principle of inclusiveness a bit too far.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments section.