Friday, April 17, 2009

Day of Silence

Today was the national Day of Silence. How did our good friends at American River College, about whom I've written before, handle the day?

Student leaders at American River College passed a resolution Thursday opposing today's nationally organized demonstration in support of gay rights.

The resolution asserts that "the Day of Silence has been used to silence and harass religious students at local public schools for expressing their viewpoints," and instead calls for a "peaceful discussion of controversial issues instead of intimidation and censorship of opposing viewpoints."
Lest anyone misunderstand me by reading my comments above literally and not checking the links, I do not support the Day of Silence but I'm also very critical of the American River College student government.

10 comments:

mazenko said...

I've read your posts before, and I understand that you do not oppose homosexuals' rights to be free from harassment. So, why is it you oppose the Day of Silence? Just curious.

Darren said...

It's a "Hey, look at me" show that doesn't do much of anything. If you want to be accepted by the greater population, showing that you're different doesn't strike me as the way to do that. This is "in your face" and that generally rubs me the wrong way.

MiaZagora said...

Why shouldn't the goal be to stop the harassment of any person - the geeks, the homely kids, the introverts, and the kids who are terrible at sports? I don't think schools are an appropriate place for any one group to make a show of demonstrating for their "rights" - after all, the surrounding community makes an investment in the school - not just the parents of one certain group. Hence the name - "public" school.

Anonymous said...

Student government at some colleges-- perhaps at ARC, too-- tends to attract students who are bottom-of-the-barrel, academically. I could be wrong, but I think the reason is that involvement with student government makes certain people feel like they're somebody important. In other words, they want to see themselves as college students, but since academic success often eludes them, they seek a path of lesser resistance.

Every time I've had kids who were involved with student government in my courses, they have been, at best, C-level students. Usually they are D/F-level students; once in a long while, C-level. None of them have ever struck me as having a bright shining future.

Anonymous said...

I shouldn't have to ask for acceptance from society. It either gives it willingly or suffers the consequences.

Darren said...

An alternate viewpoint might be: intentionally separate or alienate yourself from society, and suffer the consequences.

Ellen K said...

If you want the freedom to behave as you want in private, why would it be important to draw attention to yourself? Note: none of my students gay or otherwise chose to participate. This must be something that is only supported in areas where there is a largely liberal population.

Stopped Clock said...

Even gays don't observe the Day of Silence. It's just intended to make all heterosexuals feel guilty as if they themselves are personally responsible every time a person gets beat up for being gay.

Loni said...

The point of the day of silence is commiseration for those that remain in the closet for fear of alienation. It's meant to show support, and since the people that need to know they will be accepted are the one's still undercover, the demonstration is publicly broadcasted.

Frankly there is something to be said for demonstrations that make a visual statement. Part of the reason the civil rights movement started getting support from white western and northerners (people generally unaffected by jim crow laws) was because of the haunting images of children being hosed down, buses being set aflame, ect.

There is an element here of the "hey look at me, I'm an activist" deal, but since the protest calls for remaining silent, I don't see how it affects what are typically lecture-style classes.

I also don't see how the day of silence harasses religious kids with different "viewpoints" (i.e. intolerance of what someone does in their own home with a willing partner). Is someone with a racist "viewpoint" allowed to make a stink about Martin Luther King Day? Intolerance is supposed to be the one thing not tolerated, so why do we entertain bigotry as such.

Someone telling me, albeit politely, that I'm a sick bastard for who I love cannot result in a "peaceful discussion". The protest is to show support, not to educate the hateful.

Darren said...

The one point on which I'll disagree with you, Loni, is that we *should* tolerate the intolerant. Otherwise, you're making the same value judgement that the intolerant are--that someone else is *wrong*.

I'm ok with value judgements. I challenge people who aren't, though, to try to live without them. To paraphrase MC Hammer, "Can't judge this!"