It's the twenty-first century -- but you wouldn't know it from the headlines
Today's post is all about bigotry. Fun, right? Or it might be morbidly fascinating, anyway, if we were talking about it in the past-tense. Unfortunately, bigotry in many forms is still alive and well in the here and now.
First you have this recent story about a racist gang at Monona Grove High School and continuing racial tension in that school district in general. Then there's this piece about a meeting at St. John's Lutheran Church in Baraboo where women were not allowed to speak. Brenda Konkel attended a meeting of the Board of Estimates wherein the city's uniform rental contracts were brought up -- specifically that none of the bidders for it met both the living wage and sweat-free requirements, so there was talk of waving the former in order to secure one of the bidders. Which -- Hello? -- kind of ignores the point of having the standards in the first place.
And finally you have remarks left on my last post by everyone's favorite TDP nut-right blogger claiming that hip hop is "violent, misogynistic music" and "filth" that leads to "bad vibes" spilling out of the venues that play it. There's some decent discussion of the issue in the comments section--none of it coming from Blaska of course-should you wish to join in.
And speaking of comments, you've only to look as far as those left on the WSJ article about the racist high school gang for yet more evidence that we've got a long, long way to go on the peace, love and understanding front.
It's depressing, to say the least, to see how much bigotry and jumping to conclusions is going on. From what I can tell, this is a case of the usual high school dumbassery going uncorrected and, since we live in a time when images of frothy mouthed protestors calling our president the n-word are broadcast almost daily, too often the conflict mutates into flat-out racist rhetoric and action.
Because that's how we solve our problems now. Disagree with or misunderstand the person in office? Call them Hitler (done to both Bush and Obama), accuse them of being a secret communist, maybe make bad Photoshop illustrations of them as ignorant stereotypes having to do with their race. Disagree with or misunderstand the kid at the next lunch table over? Well, what examples do you have to base your behavior on?
We can do better. It takes a village to raise a child, after all, and if that village is too busy watching Fox News, hoarding guns, calling names, and making gross generalizations about groups of people based on things like race and gender and sexual orientation, then what more do we expect from our kids?
Parents need to step up and take a more active interest in the lives of their offspring. Stop plopping them in front of the TV instead of talking to them. Hold them accountable when they mess up and give a crap when they do right. Set a good example.
Teachers and administrators need to stop ignoring problems until they turn into truly dangerous situations like this stupid "Hicks" gang. Be on the lookout for bullying-no matter the gender, race, or sexual orientation of the perpetrator or victim. Do something about it, for crying out loud.
Stop blaming music. Stop blaming clothing. Turn your gaze a little more inward already and start dealing with the real problems, no matter how icky and difficult they may be. We've got a lot of work to do in this country and this community, so it's high time we stopped looking for easy scapegoats and really got to it.
As for the no-girls-allowed meeting at St. John's Lutheran Church, no one but the members can tell them what to do. From the sounds of it, certain members are angry enough that they'll be pulling their kids out of the school. As for the rest of us, we can certainly call the offending officials out for what they are: bigots.
Continuing to defend a doctrine of gender superiority and exclusion in this day and age is simply inexcusable (not to mention more than a little baffling). If you want your club or religion or bath house to be male or female exclusive that's your prerogative. But allowing anyone to join, expecting all of the same monetary and service-based contributions from them, and then telling them they can't be part of the decision making process? That's just effed up.
The Wisconsin Special Committee on Ethics has deadlocked on whether or not to recommend to the State Assembly that Rep. Jeff Wood be expelled. Wood has been charged with five OWIs and three of them happened while he held his current office.
I believe strongly in prevention and good rehabilitation for people with drug problems (which it seems clear Wood has, in this case with alcohol). But I'm also for holding people accountable for their mistakes. Getting behind the wheel of and operating a heavy machine after drinking is so monumentally irresponsible that I am continually baffled by how dismissive so many of my fellow Wisconsinites are of it. Wood clearly needs time to work on his problem. He doesn't need to be working as one of our political representatives while doing so. Expel him and see that he gets proper help.
Making some sales of raw milk legal in Wisconsin is one step closer to becoming a reality. "A Wisconsin Senate committee has advanced a bill that would for the first time since 1955 allow direct sales of raw milk to consumers, but only by sellers with permits that conduct testing and provide warning labels on the product." It will be interesting to see how this progresses. It's a contentious issue and not likely to be settled entirely any time soon.