Imagine a world without these political cartoons. Would life even be worth living? Obviously not. We’d all just sit around staring blankly at our piles of unwashed dishes and laundry waiting to die because nothing means anything. Oh, and, uh, patreon support blah blah blah.
I’ve made fun of the “civility” issue before, and I’m sure I’ll do it again. It’s just such an irresistible lump of hypocrisy. Plus, people being overdramatic means fun facial expressions to draw.
I’m an extremely civil person, outside my cartoons. Even on Twitter, I work hard to be polite, even when I’m arguing with right-wingers. In college I was on the debate team (my only sport!), and being polite is crucial in competitive debate.
So I’ve got a lot of sympathy for people who call for civility because that’s their aesthetic preference (which is where I’m coming from). Or because they believe that being civil goes hand in hand with kindness, and kindness is good, even when dealing with jerks (also where I’m coming from). Or because they personally have issues dealing with other people’s anger and contempt, and so they’re able to function more comfortably in an environment with politeness, even if it’s moderator-enforced politeness. (For a third time, that’s me.)
My eyes only start rolling when calls for politeness are used as a partisan cudgel, Because there are rude people on all sides, and anyone who can’t see that is either being disingenuous, or is so far sunk inside of a partisan bubble they probably won’t see sunlight until the asteroids wipe us all out and dinosaurs take the Earth back.
This one was so simple (only two panels!) that it was a pleasure to draw. I got to spend a lot of time trying to make her hair look lively and right, and working on her expressions.
The next cartoon I’ll post is a nine-panel strip. I usually have multiple strips written and waiting to be drawn. So I’ll tend to do the relatively quick to draw strips alongside ones that take forever, and hopefully it averages out to something like a reasonable workload.
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has two panels. Both of the panels show a white woman with a stylish haircut, wearing a striped shirt with a calf-length skirt and black tights. She speaks directly to the reader.
The woman looks sad and distraught. She’s holding one palm up in a bewildered fashion, and has her other palm pressed against the side of her face.
WOMAN: I was arguing with a liberal and she said…
WOMAN: I can hardly even SAY it, it was so AWFUL!
WOMAN: She said my argument was “RACIST.”
WOMAN: She actually used THAT word! About ME! How can anybody be so MEAN?
The woman now looks angry, her hands balled up into fists.
WOMAN: Why won’t these lying libtard soyboy cuck groomer baby-killing totalitarian leftists just be CIVIL?
Why Won’t Leftists Just Be Civil? | Barry Deutsch on Patreon
“there are rude people on all sides”
It is true, there are rude people on both sides, but let’s not pretend that the two sides are equal when it comes to civility.
We owe civility to everybody who meets a certain minimum standard of behaviour. But when people advocate for genocide, mass murder and the elimination of human rights, thy fall beneath that standard, and our obligation to be civil to them disappears. I certainly admire those who can be civil to them, but I don’t feel bad about it if I can’t. (Spoiler – I can’t)
There is money to be made off of the ‘civility’ racket, usually by using it as a cudgel as you noted. There is even a sub-genre of “If you won’t be civil, you’ll only radicalized them!” For some reason, this type of civility scolding always strikes me more as a justification for paths already decided upon rather than a warning.
A lot of people agree with you. Including those who view abortion as encompassed within the first two qualifications you name and restrictions (de jure and de facto) on free speech and the right to keep and bear arms within the third.
Those people are wrong Ron
There’s a chicken and egg element here, except that some of those words definitely predated others.
Progressives have been baselessly calling people racist for decades. I’d say Mitt Romney was the tipping point for this… Romney was arguably the most bland conservative ever nominated for the general, and he was still smeared an an insane, evil, racist misogynist with binders full of women. Then when someone with serious moral failings hit the scene, there was nowhere left to go… How do you differentiate between Romney and Trump when you’ve already called Romney all the worst names you can think of? Nazi, apparently. Not because Trump was actually Nazi-ish.. But just because Nazi was worse.
I’m sure people will disagree, that they’ll be willing to list all the ways that Trump was Nazi-ish. Like the gas chambers, the wars of conquest, the tens of millions dead, and his fondness for dogs.
I don’t care. I’m not asking an opinion. I’m explaining that it was a gross, offensive exaggeration, it was applied to anyone who supported him, or his party, or just disagreed mildly with Democrats. And it did nothing except ramp up the temperature on discourse.
Would someone like to forward what they think was a more offensively inappropriate label that Republicans hoisted at Democrats? Bonus points if it was common before “Nazi”? I think “Baby-killer” might have been close, but your mileage might vary, and I’m not going to try to gauge your level of offense.
I heard all of these in the 80s if not the 70s. Pretending like this was started by Democrats in the 21st century is astoundingly audacious.
Like I said, I’m not going to question what you say offends you more, that’s subjective and personal, but I just want to be clear: You think these are comparable to or worse than calling someone a Nazi?
Insults are as old as politics. I can give Canadian examples going back to the 1860’s, when Sir John A Macdonald, a notorious drunk, threw up on a debate stage and blamed it on the his opponent’s odiousness. But it does feel like things are getting pretty hot right now, and I really do think that the Romney campaign was where the current ramping up started.
“Commie” from the 50s through at least the fall of the USSR is equivalent to “nazi”, for sure. People on the right using any or all of those terms definitely wished death on the targets of those slurs. These were all insults that could end careers, result in violence or death, and were certainly meant as earnestly as any of the slurs used today. This is fact.
But maybe you weren’t a conscious person before the 21st century and that’s why you don’t know this. Nevertheless, you’re making a claim for which the evidence against is overwhelming. A simple search of yon intertubes will show this.
“Pedophile” certainly is.
(Posted before I saw Jackie O’s comment, which I agree with.)
Hm. Like I said… No answer is wrong, but it’s interesting.
I think I agree more with Jackie than I do with you @9. Even if the people being called Commies were actually communist (and they often weren’t), McCarthyism was a force that destroyed lives. It was cancel culture before the internet, and represents a truly low point in American politics.
“pedophile” and “groomer” I rank, and take that for what it is, as kind of similar to “racist” or “sexist” in usage, offensiveness intended, and likely outcome.
Romney was arguably the most bland conservative ever nominated for the general, and he was still smeared an an insane, evil, racist misogynist with binders full of women
Romney made the comment about having “binders full of women” himself, so I don’t think bringing that up is really “smearing” him.
Then, too, the famous “47%” quote: “There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what … who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims. … These are people who pay no income tax. … and so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” Romney said.”
If this is the most bland conservative possible then conservatism is pretty racist, sexist, and out of touch with reality. (I’d rather you avoid “insane” as an insult given the reality of mental illness.)
Corso@five: as for ways that Trump is Nazi like, how about racism, using fear of the “other” to gather like minded supporters, purges of those who disagreed with him, dismantling of civil service, instituting policies that led to millions of deaths, running concentration camps, encouraging violence against political opponents, claiming that the press was lying if they disagreed with him in the slightest and encouraging violence against them, and trying to overturn a legitimate election. Okay, I’ll give you one difference: Trump doesn’t appear to like dogs. Okay two: I’ve never heard of Trump pretending to be a vegetarian.
I mean… Mathematically, it was impossible for that comment to be racist and sexist. Women make up 50% of America and Black people make up something like 17%, of which only half are women. Really, what he was talking about was economic… He was talking about poor people. I’m not defending that comment, I’m not saying he wasn’t out of touch… I’m saying he was unfairly smeared as a sexist and a racist. Thanks for exemplifying my point.
And to the label for mental maladies…. It’s literally what was being said.
Let’s say… Rhetorically… That all that was true. I disagree emphatically, I mean… Concentration Camps, my God that’s dense. But let’s say that everything you just said was true.
Is that really what Nazis were famous for? Is the dismantling of the civil service the first thing that pops into your mind when someone mentions Hitler?
My mention of dog above was supposed to invoke the “Hitler had a dog too” meme, alluding to how shallow and facile the Trump-Nazi comparisons is.
Trump is not Hitler. The Republicans are not Nazis. Thanks for exemplifying my point. I can always trust on you.
And I can’t get past this… I’m really sorry for gumming up the comments here. But in the middle of a debate where Romney had already been smeared as a sexist for not having enough women on his staff, he very clumsily explained that he was trying to promote diversity on his staff, and to further that goal he had binders with women’s CVs. I know that “Binders full of women” was laughable… But that’s not what started the smear.
Romney poorly explaining how his office pioneered a DEI initiative isn’t exactly what I would consider proof of sexism.
Concentration Camps, my God that’s dense
Oh? What do you call the “centers” that were established at the borders? They’re not death camps, but the Nazis didn’t go for death camps until quite late in WWII.
People in the border centers during the Trump years reported things like having their children taken away for “showers” and never seeing them again. They were probably just kidnapped and put out of adoption by “good” (white) families, but who knows? That’s just one example.
I notice that you aren’t even trying to defend Trump against the charges of attempted electoral manipulation, railing against the “lying press” (a direct translation of “luegen press” in case the comparison isn’t clear enough), using racism to consolidate his base, or dismantling of civil service. That is wise of you, since those charges are pretty irrefutable, especially since Trump essentially bragged about doing so. The concentration camps one could argue are not specifically Nazi, since they were, after all, used by the British in the Boer War and the US in WWII, but still the most famous example…
Mathematically, it was impossible for that comment to be racist and sexist.
I am not sure what your point is. Some of the people he slammed are not black therefore it can’t be racist?
The ones that Obama built? The ones that had progressives threatening to boycott Wayfair for the high crime of dealing with the administration when Trump’s administration tried to furnish them with beds?
I call them detention facilities. The administration didn’t comb the American population for undesirables, jail them without a hearing, and kill them with gas. The administration didn’t starve them to death. The administration didn’t put them to work with hard labor. The administration didn’t medically experiment on them.
I’m just beside myself that you’re so far into the weeds that you thought that was an intelligent comparison to make. I get it. You don’t like America’s border policy, you don’t like the child separation policy, you think they’re cruel… We actually agree up to that point. Where we differ is that I don’t think that everything bad is the worst thing possible.
Basically. Here’s the thing. Romney didn’t mention race. You assumed it. And it’s a bizarre assumption because more than half of the people he was talking about, mathematically, had to be something other than Black.
This might be a difference in how we process information. When I’m talking about a group of people, and less than half of them share a certain characteristic, I don’t assume the defining characteristic of that group is the minority defining feature. Because why would I?
My point… Kind of from the beginning, is that progressives have a tendency to assume bigotry and worry about finding evidence for it later. “Romney is racist! He said something about poor people, and Black people are disproportionately poor, and so he was talking about black people.” is a hell of a reach.
So if I said “there have been times when I’ve been racist and sexist” – which is true – to you that’s the same as if I said that at times I’ve been a pedophile?
From where I stand, the evidence doesn’t seem to bear this out.
Corso, you wrote:
This is so breathtakingly callous and, willfully or not, ignorant of the way charges of pedophelia and grooming–though perhaps not by that name–are rooted in the profoundly harmful belief way too many people still hold, even if it is no longer sanctioned by the medical establishment, that any sexuality/gender identity other than cis heterosexuality is clinically diseased, not ideological, that it’s hard to know where to start, so I will start with where your statement hit me first and say, simply, this:
Your statement–especially the way you acquiesce in the co-opting of language meant to make visible the methods used by those who sexually victimize others; and those methods do not include simply existing as who they are–is an insult to those of us who have been groomed, or trafficked. You create with this statement a false equivalency that trivializes my experience and the experience of countless others, of all genders. It is, in other words, quite personal, and while I am commenting here after a very long time away, and I have not been part of this conversation till now, I make this point to say why the way you have said this, and I speak here only for myself, makes it difficult to want to engage with you–and I have read your comments–regarding anything else you might have to say.
This is going to be cultural. And I’ll get more into it when I respond to Richard. But more than you might think.
What progressives have never understood is that Republicans are not indifferent towards racism, we disagree with you as to what racism is, and our definition is much more serious. We might be indifferent to what you’ve decided, relatively recently, to include in the definition of racism… But we don’t belong to your church. We don’t believe what you do.
Our (the royal our, including the majority of Republicans, but not the people we both think are truly odious) definition is limited to what the dictionary said ten years ago, that it is that racism is the belief that 1) There are races. 2) The races are inherently different, and 3) Some races are inherently better or worse than others.
Our definition manifests as overt racism, as people hard-r-ing at people, when people assume that black people cannot succeed because something inherent to their race keeps them from success. Racists are the purveyors of phrenology and genetic determination. The people who want to build a white ethnostate to keep the bloodlines pure. We say that racism isn’t as big a problem in America today as it had been previously because it isn’t. There are some bitter holdouts, and yeah, a lot of them are Republicans, but America today is better than America in the 80’s, which was better than America during slavery, and our kids will do better than we did. We would never say that we’re a little bit racist because we would be mortified at the implications. And we see the admissions of progressives as confused, or dishonest, or some kind of self-flagellation kink. It’s weird to us.
We *do* see an accusation of racism as similar to an accusation of pedophilia. You’ve just never understood.
I find this sentence interesting in this context:
Ad-lib a few words, and progressives did this with racism.
Again… I know that you will disagree vehemently. I don’t think I’m going to convince you of anything. But I believe this, I don’t think that I’m crazy or stupid, and I don’t think that I’m special.
You very conveniently elided my main point. So be it. You’ll notice that I did not generalize about what conservatives do or do not understand about progressive beliefs or attitudes; notice that I did not condescend to suggest that you or conservatives “have never understood.” I spoke specifically to your comment, to the content of your comment, and the only specific reference you made to mine was to suggest that you you could revise it to show that progressives and conservatives employ the same strategies to make their points. With all due respect, Duh!
“Going meta” in the way your response did–and when you moved the subject to racism as a comparison, you did go meta, despite the concrete examples you gave regarding racism–is a convenient way of not having to tackle the way the issues under discussion here impact real people in real ways, in ways that do not always fit neatly into the conservative/progressive pigeon holes you keep drawing in your comments. I’ve been around this blog for a long time, recently mostly as a reader, and no one here is afraid of wading into that kind of complexity. Your response to me, however, avoids it.
I’m sorry… But I’m having a conversation specifically on the comparison between accusations of racism and grooming. That’s not “going” meta, this is you trying to argue by anecdote. I don’t owe you a dialogue on your tangent.
You don’t owe me anything, Corso. That, too, was not my point. If you don’t, won’t, or can’t see how my original comment is relevant to the conversation you are trying to have, then there is no point in our responding to each other any further.
Maybe I’m wrong.
What I think you’re doing is taking my point that the “groomer” accusation has some basis in reality, by explaining the difference between what I see as genuinely problematic behavior and baseless accusations, and trying to tie those baseless accusations back into the argument to make a point about my character with a side of personal anecdote.
If I’m wrong, please explain clearly what your point is and tie it to something I’ve actually said.
I will come back to this, Corso, when I can, hopefully later today, since my response will take some time to lay out. For now, I will just say that I was not making a comment about your character–I don’t know you well enough, not even as a commenter on this blog, to have any opinion about that–but about the way in which you said what you said. I hope that distinction makes sense to you.
Fair enough, thanks.
I’d also like to go back to this, because I think you misunderstood my point. I said that what conservatives are doing with “groomer” is basically what progressives did with “racist” starting around the turn of the century. What I was trying to do requires a little bit of empathy… Consider that the outrage you feel now might be similar to the outrage we’ve felt for the last 20 years as we’ve been called racist for ever smaller infractions.
At the end of the day, I’m fully aware of the tit-for-tat tone of my argument. I do think there’s an amount of rhetorical petard-hoisting here, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to an amount of amusement. But… And this is important: I’d love for my side to stop calling people groomers. I don’t think it’s true, most of the time. I think that it’s counterproductive. And I think it’s inflammatory.
I just don’t think that progressives have much standing to make that argument.
MAGA=a shortening of Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again.”
“Binders full of women”=statement Romney made to bolster his claim to being a good person for women to vote for.
Nazi=nickname of the NSDAP. As far as I know, one they embraced.
If these are all ending up sounding so horrible that you’re willing to consider “groomer” as the equivalent, maybe that says something about conservative ideology and how it ends up being viewed by history?
The ones that Obama built?
Yep, US immigration policy has been pretty crappy for decades, possibly centuries. If you’re saying that Trump was not the first to do horrible things to people trying to immigrate to the US, I’ll agree with you.
The administration didn’t medically experiment on them.
I guess that’s technically true (as far as I know.) Hysterectomy isn’t an experimental surgery. Does that make hysterectomy without informed consent okay?
If you want to claim that the detention centers in which people were put for years for committing a crime no more severe than speeding are more along the lines of the Boer War/Japanese internment camps than the death camps the Nazis ended their reign with, okay, I suppose that’s a reasonable argument. Ish. Still, that doesn’t deal with the promoting riots, attempted overthrow of the government via falsifying an election, encouraging violence against the press and minorities, sexual assault, etc. So I think you’re going to have to fall back on the arguments that Trump doesn’t seem to like dogs much and never claimed to be a vegetarian to differentiate him from Hitler.
I agree, not the first and, unfortunately, not the last.
Trump was horrible, but the ongoing problem is bigger than any one President.
Admittedly we have had the occasional problem with foreigners illegally entering the US, committing acts of political terrorism, and expressing the desire to commit further violence after they were caught. Maybe we should solidify our border with Canada a bit.
(Note: It’s clear that the suggestion was sarcasm, right? I don’t actually hold all Canadians accountable for this guy and see no real reason to inconvenience innocent people because of his act. But then again, I didn’t see the point of killing innocent people in Iraq because of the WTC attacks, so I’m probably pretty out of step with the US.)
Build The Wall, Make America Pay For It! /s
Nazi Concentration camps and death camps weren’t notorious for medical experimentation (outside of Mengele) according to the 9 years of Holocaust history classes I had at the Conservative synagogue my family belonged to.
But what we’re seeing is a combination of goal post moving (masterfully, I’ve gotta admit) and minimization from a guy spreading the libel that child sexual abusers are plentiful and protected in the American public education system.
As someone who’s attended both public and private schools in the US and has become much more aware of the problem due to events at their own private school, the numbers of and protection of child sexual abusers is a huge problem in private schools and not much of one in schools that are accountable to the public. If you want to start learning about this just look into what’s happened over decades at Horace Mann. The same thing happened at the private school I went to for over 8 decades. It was founded by and for child sexual abusers and took generations to end that culture, if it really has.
But spreading the dangerous lie that public schools allow and protect “grooming” is such an outrageous claim that nobody should take folks spreading this groomer libel seriously. It puts actual teachers in danger and distracts from the very real and pervasive child sexual abuse still happening at private schools across the country.
(Amp, this turned out to be a much longer comment than I anticipated. If you think its length means it should be turned into a blog post, by all means…)
Broadly speaking, this is what I understand you to be saying: Over the years, progressives have turned words meant to describe and critique overt, willful, operationalized, and institutional inequality, like sexist and racist, into what I call “totalizing accusations,” labels that, when applied to an individual person, reduce that person’s entire being to the meaning of that label. You then go on to suggest that the conservative use of terms like pedophile and groomer is a congruent, parallel phenomenon by which progressives should not be surprised and that, given what progressives have done with the labels we have applied to conservatives, we don’t really have much standing to complain, much less critique conservatives on these grounds.
If I have that more or less right, let me start by saying that I would agree with anyone who said it would be good to find more nuanced ways of talking about the different ways in which, for example, racism manifests itself, both in institutions and in people, as long as that nuance did not end up rendering invisible the fact that all of the ways racism manifests itself are still part of the same system. If finding that kind of vocabulary/language genuinely made it possible for us to talk about race in a way that did not devolve into the tit-for-tatting that you agree has been going on in this thread, I can’t imagine any progressive refusing it legitimacy. I recognize that statement needs a whole lot of unpacking–whose responsibility, for example, should it be to define that language?–and that this unpacking is unlikely to happen in the space of a blog thread. I do think, however, it might point the way to the beginning of common ground, which is why I am including it in this response.
That said, while I can understand–though I don’t agree with–why you see an equivalency in motive between the progressive and conservative usage of terms like racist and groomer, I would argue that the equivalency between the terms that this, almost by definition, implies is a false and dangerous one. RAINN defines grooming in the context of sexual abuse as “manipulative behaviors that the abuser uses to gain access to a potential victim, coerce them to agree to the abuse, and reduce the risk of being caught.” It is, in other words, predatory behavior rooted in the desire to commit sexual violence against another human being. More to the point, the term has been profoundly useful in making that behavior visible in a way that protects people, especially children, from sexual predators.
When conservatives call people who are trans and/or gay “groomers” simply for being trans and/or gay, I do not think they are suggesting that trans and gay people want simply to rape children, for example. Rather, I think what they mean is what Anita Bryant meant in her day by the term recruiting, which she explained this way,”The recruitment of our children is absolutely necessary for the survival and growth of homosexuality…[S]ince homosexuals cannot reproduce, they must recruit, must freshen their ranks.”
Bryant’s Save Our Children crusade was rooted in Christian beliefs about the sinfulness of homosexuality, and it was explicitly a response to a 1977 ordinance passed in Dade County, Florida that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, which itself was a response to the removal of homosexuality from the DSM in 1973-4. Conservatives, in other words, have co-opted a concept designed to protect people from sexual predators and used it to brand people as sexual predators based on nothing other than their gender and/or sexuality. More to the point, it ties those identities to the pathological view of homosexuality and trans identity that many people still hold, despite the long-standing changes to the DSM.
This is dangerous for two reasons. First, by turning “groomer” into an identity rather than a description of behavior, it gives predators something to hide their behavior behind and it falsifies the experience of people like me who were groomed by sexual predators. Second, it turns gay and trans people into social and cultural pathogens that we would be better off without. You might think I am being hyperbolic, but there is an actual body count. Homophobia and transphobia lead to the killing of gay and trans people. I don’t think you can tie terms like racist and sexist to the killings of people so labeled in the same way. This does not mean, of course, that there aren’t people who’ve been labeled racist or sexist who suffered unfair or unjust consequences as a result, but the difference, for example, between losing one’s job and losing one’s life is not one of degree. It is one of kind.
Okay, it’s late and I have written a lot more than I originally intended. So I will end here.
I don’t think this is quite right, but it’s a good attempt, and close enough that we can build on it. The one thing I would say, and I know this is rich coming from me, but there is some nuance in who is using the terms and where. Twitter is not real life, or even close to representative, and yes… I know… The congresswoman, but we’ve been dealing with “racist” and “sexist” in this context for so long that it’s almost institutionalized and I still don’t think you’ve entirely grasped what progressives have done.
I think the better comparison is between sexist and groomer. This discussion is interesting… I think if the rhetoric even just slightly little less inflamed, I could walk away with this conversation easily… There’s 20 years of history on the progressive abuse of labels. There was an entire wave of sex negative feminism that called all penis in vagina sex “rape”, which inferred that all fathers were rapists. There was a push to educate boys not to rape, which implied (if it didn’t just straight up say) that all men were rapists looking for an opportunity, because they’d just never been told rape was bad. There was the #MeToo fallout… Which some of this commentariat very recently displayed very callous attitudes towards. There is a history here so broad and deep that entire books will be written on it.
My problem is that I agree with you that groomer is a serious charge, and that it does some damage to use it the way that it’s being used. And so here we are.
Basically, but I think you might be overthinking it on the back-end there. I don’t think that there are a lot of the people using that term, that way, who have thought it out like that. YMMV, but I think it’s important to remember that aside from a few notable exceptions, most of this rhetoric is happening online. As opposed to an overt, or even subliminal assumption that gays are trying to replenish our ranks, I think that a whole lot of them are just trying to be as offensive as possible. I don’t know if that’s reassuring or not.
And now we’re done agreeing!
Sure, but that’s not what I’m doing. I’ve tried very hard to differentiate between the identity and the behavior by explicitly explaining what I think are problematic behaviors. I don’t understand the wagon circling here… If you’re so interested in drawing a clear distinction and validating victims, shouldn’t you also be interested in rooting out predatory behavior, even if the predator happens to be gay or trans? Worse is that instead of taking my offer of differentiation for what it is, you (and others here) have insisted on tying the behaviors to the identity in order to make your argument, and then blamed me for it.
If someone wanted to make the argument that the label was being inappropriately used, I’ve been clear: I don’t think that all of it is incorrect, but I think we need to do a better job in differentiation, and we should treat abuse seriously. Progressives are generally unqualified to make that criticism however, given their history of being loose and uncareful with terms, but we could definitely use some rhetorical chilling, and I would prefer that conservatives find a different slur.
If someone however wants to say that I’m “spreading the libel that child sexual abusers are plentiful and protected in the American public education system”, I would suggest that they’re either being deliberately obtuse and dishonest in service of their narrative, or would benefit from the Hooked on Phonics program.
Whereas I would suggest that the gentleman spreading the groomer libel read what he wrote, stop denying what he wrote, and admit those rare cases (like the decades long and documented history of the right wing’s use of pejoratives like “commie” and what those pejoratives meant and mean) where he is clearly in the wrong rather than yet again moving the goalposts.
As I both recall and have copied from the other thread, the gentleman from the far right wrote:
This is fairly read as suggesting that child sexual abusers (those people who are perpetrating these carefully unspecified “grooming activities”) are plentiful enough in public education to be a clear and present danger. This is fairly read as a statement that these child sexual abusers in the teaching profession aren’t facing consequences for their illegal, immoral, and damaging, yet carefully unspecified, “grooming activities” from school administrations.
And if the gentleman from the very far right would also quit his trolling – as highlighted in the quote I pulled to begin this comment – I’m sure the rest of our colleagues would appreciate it as much as I would. As hilarious as it is that, while in a difficult time of my life, I’m unable to resist responding to your trolling it is also unkind, uncouth, and uncalled for. One would have hoped being granted the last word – a last word that was joyfully and enthusiastically taken – would have been enough for my colleague from the depths of the farthest right. One would have, alas, been disappointed in that naive hope.
I yield the thread to the gentleman spreading the grooming libel for the far right and hope he’ll restrain himself from further trolling those who wish to both read the comments on this blog of which they’ve been a part for 2 decades and not interact any longer with his harmful, propagandizing, libelous rhetoric.
For someone throwing around terms like “libel” as if it were ticker tape at a Gawker Parade, one might try to stop lying about their subject.
Would you like concrete examples? Would they sway you? I said “I think the teaching profession is far too cavalier about cutting parents out of the lives of their kids. I don’t think it’s healthy to build relationships based on keeping secrets from parents.” and 1) I stand by that and 2) I think that’s specific enough for the context of this conversation, at least so far as it’s obvious I’m not referring to gay people or trans people carte blanche for being gay or trans.
Please spare us all the feigned ignorance. You either know exactly what I’m talking about at this point, or have so little conception of the conversation that you shouldn’t be in it.
I assure you of two things:
1) That I am arguing in good faith. And
2) If you think I’m “the very far right” well, bless your heart, but I’d love to hear back from you when you actually meet an extremist.
I’m amused… How do you think a “last word” works?
You might have noticed, by this point, although… Who am I kidding. Regardless: My tone to you is different from my tone with Dianne, which is different from my tone with Amp or Richard. This is because I respond in kind. You have never been respectful to me, you constantly read what I write in the most negative connotation, and that’s only when you aren’t just making shit up or attributing the worst excesses of conservatism to me. It’s no surprise you think of me as a far-right extremist: I’m your personal personification of a conservative strawman.
If you find my tone wanting, the feeling is exceptionally mutual.
[Comment edited for clarity. RJN]
Some discrete responses, since I am about to start grading and prepping classes and I might not get back to this for more than a couple of days:
I grasp what you think progressives have done; and while I have some sympathy for why you might see things that way, I don’t agree with you. Moreover, I would argue that you don’t grasp the degree to which conservatives’ defensiveness prevents them from wrestling with legitimate social critique simply because it makes them uncomfortable. I am willing to acknowledge that the truth might be somewhere in the middle–tit-for-tat gets us nowhere–but I don’t think, based on the rest of you what you wrote, that you do.
Fair enough, but I wasn’t talking about Twitter per se. On the other hand, when the spokesperson for Governor DeSantis tweets this:
we’re not talking about a Twitter bubble; we’re talking about real life making itself felt on Tiwtter.
Aaaand we’re back to tit for tat. Leave aside the fact that I don’t remember anyone ever trying to pass a law that defined penis in vagina sex as rape, or even to label all men as rapists. At no time in all the years that I have been involved with feminism and feminists have I ever known that position to be the mainstream feminist position.
What has been more or less mainstream within feminism is that it behooves women to see men as potential rapists. The distinction is important. When I talk to my students about this, I pose to them this scenario: Imagine you’re at a bar and a woman you know, someone you care about, tells you she just met this really cool, really sexy guy and he’s invited her back to his place, where she anticipates that she will “get lucky,” which is what she wants. She asks you if you think she should go with him. Would you enthusiastically encourage her to go, without further comment? Would you encourage her not to go at all because it’s the first time she met the guy and she doesn’t really know him well enough to trust him? Would you, at the very least, question her about her perceptions of him? If your answer even leans towards the second two options–or towards any option that suggests she should be careful–ask yourself what you would be suggesting she should be careful of? If the possibility that he, whoever he is, just some random guy at a bar, might rape her is not among them, frankly, I think you are not being honest with yourself.
First, see the text I put in bold. I just want to confirm whether that’s a typo or not. Not that it makes a difference in terms of the substance of our discussion, but it does make a difference in terms of any assumptions I might have made, consciously or not, about who you are.
Second, words have histories, and they carry those histories with them even when they are not used with those histories in mind. I have no problem distinguishing, in terms of how I or anyone might/should approach someone who uses groomer simply “to be as offensive as possible” and someone who knowingly uses the term. The user’s intent does not change the cultural significance of the word. Moreover, I could make a similar argument regarding all-men-are-rapists. I have never met a feminist who honestly believes that statement to be true of all men; I have met and read feminists who use the term to be offensive, in the sense of a shock-and-awe approach to consciousness raising about the ubiquitousness of rape as a problem. Nonetheless, I would agree that the intent of those feminists does not change the cultural significance of what it means for a man to labeled as a rapist. You see harm in one case despite intent, but not in the other because of intent. Why? (I obviously do not think the two cases are precisely parallel, my question here is why you are willing to use intent as a mitigating factor in one case and not the other. Again, I am pointing out that both sides can be described as using the same strategies. Tit-for-tatting like that gets us nowhere.)
Of course a predator is a predator, whether they are gay, straight, bi, trans, nonbinary, whatever. But none of those identities is what makes them a predator. I have not insisted on “on tying the behaviors to the identity in order to make [my] argument, and then blamed [you] for it.” I have tried to point out to you that the term groomer, whether you intend it or not, makes that connection, and that hand-waving the term away because of progressives'”history of being loose and uncareful with terms” is irresponsible in that it perpetuates the connection whether you want it to or not.
I do not doubt that you think we should treat abuse seriously or that you think “we need to do a better job in differentiation,” but I have not seen in anything you’ve written–and I have may have missed it–a serious proposal for how that might be achieved. All I have see in this regard is your argument that “[p]rogressives are generally unqualified to make that criticism,” and your wish that conservatives would “find a different slur.”
If you think that there is a way in which current laws against child sexual abuse, particularly in schools, are not well enough written to catch abusers who are gay and/or trans, maybe that’s the substantive place to start this discussion. How would you change those laws? If you think that the current definitions of grooming that are, in part, used to teach kids how to protect themselves against abusers are not broad enough to catch grooming when it is done by gay or trans people, how would you change that definition in a way that does not make gay/trans identity part of what it means to be a groomer?
If you’ve got something substantive to say about that, that seems a discussion worth having. [Edited to remove unnecessary snark. RJN]
You are a master at moving the goal posts. I salute you, sir. Of course, I never said that you were referring to gay people or trans people with this particular groomer libel. As you may recall, and you can confirm this by reading that other thread in which we wrote, I said that you were endangering teachers by spreading the vile lie that teachers are grooming their students to be sexually abused.
Your concrete examples are, once again generalities that leave the questions of how (or even whether) teachers are “cutting parents out of the lives of their kids.” How, precisely do modern modes of teaching do this? How, exactly, are teachers “building relationships on keeping secrets from parents”? Can you provide specific examples of the policies or methods that do such a thing?
Until you do, your accusation that the teaching profession (not individual abusers who are teachers) promotes and performs “grooming activities” leaves those activities carefully unspecified.
You can pretend to be offended that your vague descriptions of “grooming activities” are vague or you can be specific. That’s your choice but I’m going to insist you identify these common teaching practices that are grooming children for sexual abuse by, presumably, the teachers doing said “grooming” or I’m going to believe and state clearly that you are spreading the Grooming Libel and you’re going to get teachers killed by doing so if you succeed in spreading that libel widely enough.
I’d be far more likely to believe that you were arguing in good faith if you didn’t constantly move the goal posts. It’s not a thing you do only with me, I’ve been watching you do it for years. I’d be far more likely to believe you’re arguing in good faith if you didn’t accuse me of “making up shit” when I quote your own words and respond to those words. I’d be far more likely to believe you were arguing in good faith if you didn’t repeat far right talking points consistently.
I’ve met extremists and you are certainly among their fellow travelers and enablers. You’re just a little more polished and seemingly reasoned but you say the same things that they say. You minimize the violence inherent in their writing and their speech and so you legitimize it.
People who spread the Groomer Libel – no matter against whom they’re making that accusation – are far to the right.
But, yes, you trolled me and here I am. You can deny it all you want but there it is up above in the last paragraph of comment 37 (a long, long response to… not me) for all to see. Eventually you’ll get me to use profanity and, my! Won’t that be a fantastic victory for you. You’ll have truly gotten to someone on the internet by continuing to spread lies that are going to get innocent people hurt and killed. That’s surely something we can all agree is something to be proud of. A righteous act, for sure.
Hey Richard, I think we are winding down, I’ll try to tailor as well.
I don’t really think we ever left, if we we’re trying to compare or contrast a couple of things to see if they’re similar, we were always going to have that back and forth. As for legislation… I think you’re underestimating the impact of feminists like Mary Koss, and how her work with the FBI molded future waves of legislation. Not all of it was bad, but what was bad was very bad.
37 year old gay man, first generation immigrant, might not have been considered white a couple of generations ago. I don’t try to hide it, I just don’t think it matters much.
I think this is a tragic misreading… I’ve never said that I don’t see the harm. I’ve actually explicitly said the opposite a couple of times. I’m not even saying that the harm being done is acceptable. I’m saying that, with precious few exceptions, progressives are the worst vehicles I can think of for that specific message. Maybe I’m implying that we should all be the change we want to see in the world.
That’s not the issue. I may not have explained the connection properly.
Just like there was nothing inherent in the Catholic Church or the Boy Scouts that logically led priests and scoutmasters to become predators, there is nothing inherent to being gay or trans that leads to predatory behaviors. That said, predators seek out employment that has access to children. They will move to neighborhoods with schools. They actively seek out their prey.
Problems arise when you combine positions with easy access to children, positions of trust, cultures that aren’t particularly accountable, and administrations that are more interested in protecting internal interests than their charges. I’m not saying that every queer educator is a predator, I’m saying that there are some that are, and that the system isn’t really prepared to deal with them, specifically. I’m also going to say that while in a country of 350 million people you’re never going to eliminate abuse, but we could do better.
I’m officially failing to keep this short.
Because education is split between private organizations, state and municipal governments, and local school boards, policies aren’t even consistent on the same street, so I’m not sure it’s possible to build serious universal policies or legislation, but if I had to take a stab at some rough outlines that I think are probably doable:
1) Recognize that teachers can barely teach. I know that’s a little snarky, but test rates have been falling for a generation, and I don’t know why or how, or even if, we started to expect that teachers take on a counseling role, and yet… they seem to be in it. They’re not trained for it, they have no special, universal, expertise, we need to offload that job from educators to people actually certified to help. This is true of a lot – We ask too much from teachers. They need to be able to teach.
2) Whoever the counselors end up being, whatever process we eventually enact, it includes the parents. None of this “the parents might not be supportive, so out of an abundance of caution we’ll lie to them” – If you suspect abuse, report it to the police. If you don’t, you don’t get to make decisions regarding the sexual health of a minor without their parents. Period.
3) This is more specialized, but I think it’s probably a good idea: Set up anonymous reporting of abuse, sexual or otherwise. My understanding is that it’s not uncommon for a large number of people to know that abuse is happening, but they don’t want to report it for a myriad of reasons… Maybe they don’t want to get involved, maybe they think nothing will happen, maybe they think if they know, everyone else must know as well. This would have to be done cautiously, because you can’t derail someone’s life over an anonymous accusation, but I think it would be useful as a dowsing rod for problems.
4) Less likely for privacy and financial reasons, and I can absolutely see room for abuse in this so I’d want to be careful, would be cameras in the classrooms. Frankly, we already have this, in the form of the 30 or so smartphones the other students have, it might be beneficial for both the student and teacher to have a record of what actually happened in their class. Schools already have recorded camera systems, this would just move them from the hall to the classroom.
And 5) I don’t know how you legislate this, but administrators need to develop some internal consistency and moral courage. I think that there is behavior out there that administrators understand at least edges towards inappropriate and would probably address under normal circumstances, but are accepting only because the educator is out. Being gay or trans isn’t a “lets be sexually weird around kids” pass. I’m not saying that queer educators can’t “say gay”, I’m saying that we should deal with the low-hanging issues, and work towards the center.
There’s a lot of room for interpretation in this single sentence. A lot, in particular, hinges on what “sexually weird” means. It’s apparently different than being abusive, since you use that term consistently up to this point. So, please clarify.
How about we make the age of consent for basic healthcare lower so that teens can get medical care (including access to birth control) without their parents’ permission? That is a solution that works in other places that removes schools from the equation. It does, however, assume that teens can make decisions in their own interest.
Where I live, this is the case for 14-17 year olds, and includes vaccination, birth control, and counseling. The US pretty much acts as if kids have no rights at all until 18, so this is probably a non-starter. Also this is much easier without the batshit crazy system of paying for healthcare that is used in the US.
In my 6th grade science class in the 77/78 school year, Mr. Lindsey molested my friend in front of the whole class. Multiple times. Every kid in the class knew that something was NOT. RIGHT. But none of us said anything because this wasn’t a situation that we’d ever been spoken to about. We didn’t know how to explain what was wrong or who we should explain it to.
This is far less likely to happen 45 years later when we teach kids about improper touching as a matter of course in our public education systems. Teaching children about improper touching is an explicitly anti-grooming policy. This is a specific example of an anti-grooming teaching method or policy.
I see that I’m not the only one who would like to learn what policies explicitly or implicitly encourage grooming behavior in teachers so that we can see if there’s any actual substance behind these grooming accusations. Since there’s been nothing specific put forward by these anti-Satanic, er, anti-grooming crusaders, I have my doubts that we’ll see specific pro-grooming policies (that aren’t misrepresented by the grooming accusers) here, either.
Later, if there’s a clamor for it, we can review what policies promoted and protect(ed) child sexual abusers in the Catholic Church and in the Boy Scouts for centuries and decades, respectively. There’s plenty of documentation of those policies available to the person with access to google or any other competent search engine.
First, I refer you to this comment by Chris on another thread. It demonstrates why it is important not to cherry pick in making an argument.
More to the point of this discussion, though:
True, what I remember you saying, though not in so many words–and I’m not going to search for this now; so if I misremember, I withdraw the point–is that you don’t get why people are so hung up on words–eg, groomer–when there is a real issue–eg, child sexual abuse–to worry about. If I remember correctly, then I will withdraw what I said about your not seeing the harm and simply point out that you have been rhetorically minimizing/trivializing it through this thread, regardless of what your real-life position(s) might be.
As to your five proposals. Your words are in bold, my response followed:
1) Recognize that teachers can barely teach: While I don’t see how this connects to the question at hand, I doubt there is a progressive who would disagree with you. However, would you be willing to support the kinds of employment contracts (union negotiated or not), salaries, workload policies that would be required to make this happen and that would inevitably mean an increase in taxes–since that is how public education is funded in the United States.
2) Whoever the counselors end up being, whatever process we eventually enact, it includes the parents. What do you do when you know parents will likely be a danger to their children? I teach college and I have had students who were reasonably and deathly afraid to disclose their sexuality to their parents. How would you handle a situation like that, or any situation where parents could potentially become a danger to their children, in high school, or earlier?
3) Set up anonymous reporting of abuse, sexual or otherwise: First, there are mandatory reporting laws in all 50 states. I teach college and I am a mandatory reporter. So there is already a legal mechanism in place for the kind of thing you’re talking about. My understanding is that it’s not uncommon for a large number of people to know that abuse is happening: I know this a blog comment, so I don’t blame you for this, but these are weasel words. It is true that in the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, and any number of other institutions worldwide, large numbers of people knew about sexual abuse that was happening and did not report it, but simply having an “understanding” of that without accounting for the massive effort that was made in those organizations to circumvent reporting mechanisms and cover up the abuse is neither an argument nor a proposal.
4) Cameras in the classrooms: As you yourself point out, this is highly problematic and opens the door to so many different kinds of abuse, it’s not worth saying more about right now.
5) I don’t know how you legislate this, but administrators need to develop some internal consistency and moral courage: As an abstract principle, I doubt anyone would disagree with this. I wonder how far you’d be willing to go in interrogating the extent to which conservative ideals/ideology contribute to this lack of moral courage you’re talking about when we’re talking about sexual abuse and violence that does not involve gay or trans perpetrators.
Honestly, Cos, it seems to me you are arguing with and about a caricature of progressive people and–this a description not a criticism–that you haven’t yet thought very deeply beyond the tit-for-tatting that has gone on in this thread. You seem a lot more interested in playing “gotcha!” than in having substantive discussion. For example, your statement about how Mary Koss’ work shaped legislation in ways that were very bad. For example? How is anyone supposed to have a serious discussion with you when you aren’t willing–since I assume you are able–to engage at that level?
As someone who is very familiar with Koss’ work, I am unfamiliar with any law she influenced that said all sex is rape. Could you specify which law or laws you’re referring to, with a link or links?
Richard @ 47
Part of my argument has been that some of the behavior I’m calling problematic grooming behavior isn’t intended to be grooming behavior, but it functionally acts like it. This might stretch the understanding of “grooming” so maybe I need a new word for this, but I think that someone actually certified to counsel is going to be less likely to make those kinds of mistakes.
As to funding… I don’t know. Probably. I think it’s likely that school administrations could be more efficient, and so in my perfect world, where I set policies and laws, I would probably look at cutting the third assistant principle for the school and hiring counselors in part with savings from that. The amount you spend per student in school should get you more, and I don’t understand why it doesn’t. That said, I’ll admit that I’m not an expert, my impressions of waste are not dispositive, and if I took a deep dive into the books and didn’t think efficiencies were possible, then yes: I would increase funding and taxes. It really needs to get done.
What I think the people who want to exclude parents discount is that once the student has graduated… Those teachers will have to start working on their next class, those counsellors will have to refer them to a therapist, and they still have to live with their family, who they’ve been lying to for years. What was always going to be hard is now set against a backdrop of years of deception… If there was any situation where the parents accepted them, I can’t imagine waiting that long helps.
Genuine question…. If we’re afraid the parents are abusive bigots, if we’re so certain of that that we want to put on a production of deception to keep them out of the loop, why are we sending them back? If you’re genuinely afraid of abuse… How responsible is it to send them back to that household? If you think that the parents finding out will cause them to devolve into a rage and possibly kill them, how is it the best course of action to bank on the hope that their parents never find out? What is the motivation here? Better the parent’s wallet than the states? Better a few years of “normalcy”, faking your identity half the day for years, just to postpone the bottom falling out?
Regardless of whether or not certain organizations have better safeguards than others, it seems like you’re suggesting that there’s nothing else that can or should be done because the schools have stronger controls and healthier cultures than the Church or the Scouts. Or maybe more charitably, that the measures in place are sufficient.
First, I’m not sure that’s universally true. Second, that seems like a very low bar. And third, I’m not sure that’s a good reason not to try to improve.
And whether or not educators are required to be universal reporters, it’s beyond obvious that some people fail in their mandate. If no one else, I think it’s very unlikely that predators will start self reporting their abuse.
Again… it depends. I think if done carefully it could help. Who has access to the feeds? How are they stored? Where are the feeds taking footage? Again… We already have cameras all over the school. We have somehow figured out a way to do that non-intrusively enough that most people aren’t even consciously aware of how recorded they are.
Probably more than you think. I think one of the most tragic casualties of the last 20 years of cultural fighting has been the death of what little parity we had. There’s too many people willing to put up absolutely absurd positions because they feel like being on “their side” requires it is maddening. I can’t think of a better example of this than the number of people on the right willing to support Russia in their war in Ukraine. More, the reduction of damn near anything to a “right” position or a “left” position means that everything is going to be controversial if it gets talked about enough. And I say this fully aware that I get caught in it now and again.
Amp @ 48
That all sex is rape? No. But she absolutely expanded the definition of rape to include things that aren’t rape. And legislation? Her work was cited or mentioned 47 times in the document the Obama Administration used to justify page two of his Dear Colleague letter. Now you could argue that the dear colleague letter wasn’t legislation, and you’d be right to a point, but it did “clarify”, and I use that term very loosely, Title IX, which is law.
The other important note is that Koss was a lodestone for sex negative feminism and she had a lot of institutional power while she was active. More damaging, long term, than the direct actions taken or the specific citations made is the way she changed the culture and conversations surrounding sex and rape. There were states that changed rape statutes in ways that at least look outwardly like they were influenced by Koss’ work, even if there’s no direct connection.
Please name the behaviors that you are calling “problematic grooming behavior.” Provide specific examples and explain how these behaviors groom children to be sexually abused.
You continue to be carefully unspecific in your accusations and that’s obvious to everyone reading this thread.
Okay, thanks for admitting that.
However, the way you brought up Koss, you were definitely suggesting that she was somehow complicit in a law that “defined penis in vagina sex as rape, or… all men as rapists.”
You originally claimed that “There was an entire wave of sex negative feminism that called all penis in vagina sex “rape”, which inferred that all fathers were rapists.” Then you and Richard had this exchange:
So let’s be clear: You’ve moved the goalposts a couple of miles away from your original claim. (Or, in more recent parlance, you’re motte-and-bailey-ing.)
Your new goalposts are less ridiculous than your old goalposts, but I’m pretty sure you’re still wrong.
She’s arguably the single most influential researcher on campus rape prevalence, and the “document” you’re referring to is a 100 page study of rape prevalence on campus. It would be weird if Koss’ work weren’t cited a bunch of times.
But her only “influence” on the Dear Colleague letter you object to is that she’s one among dozens of researchers over the last half-century to establish that sexual assault on campus is a serious problem. Holding her responsible for an interpretation of title IX you don’t agree with, when neither her work, nor the work she was cited in, is about Title IX, is unfair.
I’m not being disingenuous – I honestly can’t think of anything Koss did that did that.
Wait. On second thought, are you referring to Koss’ idea that A having sex with B when B didn’t want to, but but sex happened because A gave B drugs or alcohol, is rape?
We could nit-pick at that (“what if B agrees to sex in exchange for a payment of drugs?”), and in the context of a written law it would make sense to nit-pick like that, and to finally come up with some unwieldy legalistic paragraph-long question that covers all possible interpretations.
But Koss wasn’t writing laws, she was writing a survey. In context, she was obviously referring to unwilling sex via intoxication – which is to say, rape. And we know from validity testing that survey-takers understood the question that way.
I concede that the question could have been worded more clearly – and it was, in subsequent work influenced by Koss’ groundbreaking work. But it’s normal for research methods to improve over time as subsequent scholars build on prior scholars’ work.
I mostly agree with you, except that I’d say the changes were improvements. Koss had a LOT to do with changing society’s understanding of rape as being more common than we thought, rarely reported to police, and often committed by someone known to the victim. (Acquaintances, dates, boyfriends, etc). That did change “the culture and conversations” – it much improved it.
Horney and Spohn, in a review of the effects of rape law reforms, identified four common themes in the reforms:
All of these were good changes. I can’t prove it, but I believe that Koss’ work was mainly an influence on #2.
#1 happened over Koss’ objections (and THIS is where I disagree strongly with Koss) – Koss doesn’t want gender-neutral rape laws. (It’s not that she thinks that rape against men is acceptable, but that she thinks it should be considered a type of sexual assault that’s different from “rape.”) I don’t see how Koss’ work would have influenced #3. #4 really got going in the 70s, before Koss’ influence.
Koss’ biggest push on how colleges and the law treats rape has been her advocacy of restorative justice programs. But – for better or for worse – Koss hasn’t been very successful on this front.
Uhhh you do understand that most teens who are afraid of telling their parents the truth about their gender/sexual identity, religious beliefs/lack thereof, or who they were dating are not afraid of actual physical violence, right? Parents have absolute control over their kids in the US. These are some non-violent perfectly legal things some of my friends feared from their parents finding out a truth the parents didn’t like way back when I was a kid: getting kicked out of the house, being forced to change schools, being forced to move away, being permanently grounded outside of school hours so they could no longer see their friends/SO, getting sent to conversion therapy, verbal and emotional abuse, bearing a child against their will, removal from extracurriculars they loved, etc. Most of these things are legal and considered appropriate consequences for defying parents’ will. I can’t imagine things are so different now.
Edited to add: Of course some kids DO fear physical violence, but if there has been no violence to date, there is not much anyone can do about it.
First, I’ll just second what Jackie and Amp said, which means I’m not going to bother responding to you point by point. You speak in vague generalities, move goalposts, answer questions with questions, and present what are clearly your not-factually-supported-in-your-comments impressions as reasoned argument. I do, however, want to respond to this:
You wrote that in response to these questions that I asked you:
Perhaps you thought I was being disingenuous, so let me say explicitly that I meant this as a genuine question. Absent something like what Jane Doh suggests, I truly wonder if you have thought about what concrete steps would take or policies you would put into place. For me, the priority here is the safety of the kid in question, and I don’t have any simple or easy answers for what to do when providing that safety brings the school authorities into conflict with the family. To be clear, I still think the school should get involved when necessary; I just mean that I recognize the question is a complex one, given how things are organized in the States. Throwing that complexity at the fundamental question of how to provide for a child’s safety, which is what you did here, without having a concrete proposal for how to deal with it is, frankly, a recipe for never addressing the problem period.
Frankly, that seems to me to have been your strategy throughout this entire discussion. I don’t think you have proposed a single concrete suggestion for solving the problems you are trying to identify except to say that progressives are unqualified/unfit/disqualified from weighing in on the “question of slurs,” but even there, you did not make any concrete suggestions for how to move the conversation forward. That has become increasingly frustrating, and so, barring any change in your approach, I think I am just going to bow out of the conversation.
It’s clear that you can’t imagine a lot of things.
It’s clear that you have no actual expertise or information on WHY policies like “allowing minors to seek certain types of health care and mental health care without informing their parents” have come about.
It would be very convenient for your argument, and for people throwing the term “groomers” around at everyone from counselors respecting students’ privacy rights to teachers teaching accurate terms for body parts and general ideas about consent, if these were policies that had sprung, fully-formed a la Athena from the head of Zeus, from the fevered imagination of “progressives.” Your perspective would make sense, if one day around the mid-90s or so, a cabal of “progressives” met in their Humanistic Temple in their ceremonial robes, and said “YOU KNOW WHAT WE SHOULD DO: WE SHOULD CUT KIDS OFF FROM THEIR PARENTS! AND TEACH THEM ABOUT SEX IN WAYS THAT ARE SUITABLE ONLY FOR ADULTS! MUAAHHAHAHAHAHA!”
Of course that’s not even remotely what happened.
Decades, nay generations of a lack of accurate education about basic anatomy and reproduction and contraception, turned out to produce further generations of uneducated adolescents and adults, who did not know how to prevent unwanted pregnancy, prevent transmission of disease, effectively set and respect boundaries about their own bodies and others’, etc.
It also turned out to produce generations of adolescents and adults with a primarily shame-based relationship to their own sexual feelings and activities. While that might be a preferred outcome for some cultures and communities, it had the additional effect of being linked to higher rates of drug and alcohol use, suicide attempts, transmission of disease, dropping out of school before achieving a high school degree, and other effects that are broadly regarded as undesirable.
So well before the mid-90s or whenever, many experts from across a variety of disciplines – child development, pediatrics, public health, psychology, child and family studies, etc. etc. – spent a lot of time collaborating on figuring out what kind of information would help prevent these various undesirable outcomes, and what information was developmentally appropriate for various age groups of children and adolescents. It turns out that one effect of providing accurate, non-shame-based information to children about their bodies and consent is that young people are more willing and able to seek help from adults when they are threatened with or actually experience sexual boundary-crossing.
And this conversation has been ongoing, iterative, and well-researched. It has not always reached the conclusions that some religious groups would prefer, but it is not the job of education to teach the conclusions that some religious groups would prefer: it is the job of education to teach factual information, critical thinking skills, and the skills for living in a pluralistic society.
Meanwhile, people working with children and adolescents (teachers, counselors, social workers, religious professionals and lay-people, coaches, doctors, community leaders, etc.) consistently observed that some young people were not safe from the people they lived at home with, and that often this lack of safety was contingent on the young person engaging in a kind of strategic information management with the adult(s) in their life. Sometimes this information management was about hiding things that were actually dangerous to the young person as well – taking drugs, being abused by someone inside or outside the home, etc. And sometimes this information management was about hiding things that some would argue had religious or moral danger to them, but that was not considered dangerous by those with different views – rejecting religious training, dating or having friends of another race, quitting a sport or hobby that a parent wanted them to pursue, having a stigmatized identity of some kind.
People working with children and adolescents began to push for laws requiring adults in a position of trust and authority to refuse young peoples’ preference for keeping silent about things that presented them actual danger – for example, being sexually coerced or abused. But at the same time, they observed that refusing young peoples’ preference for keeping silent about things that the adults in their home believed to be a religious or moral danger, often these young people wound up experiencing actual danger – physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse (yes, sexual abuse – including “corrective rape,” being pressured into having sex with a peer or sex worker of the “correct” gender, among other things), psychological abuse including “conversion therapy,” forced pregnancy, and in some cases, being thrown out of the home and made homeless.
One of the observations that arose from sociology and public health about the same time was that the population of homeless youth was disproportionately made up of young people who identified as part of the LGBTQ+ community. When they interviewed these youth, they found that the #1 reason they reported being homeless was being ejected from their homes by their parent(s), and the #2 reason was physical abuse from their parent(s) or other family members.
This is how we came to a place where it is considered best practices to 1) provide comprehensive, developmentally-appropriate, accurate sex education, 2) require mandated reporting of actual harms to youth, and 3) enshrine in law and practice some areas of privacy for youth between them and trusted adults, who may not always be their parents, for the purpose of reducing violence against them and the possibility of homelessness.
There was no 1990s progressive cabal where people decided “this is a GREAT idea, let’s implement these ways of making children sexual victims!” In fact all of these practices have been based on research into how to REDUCE the number of child and adolescent victims of physical, sexual, psychological, and other types of abuse and neglect.
It would be so convenient for your argument if this weren’t true. And eliminating the historic and social context of how these practices came to be makes it look very much as if teachers and counselors are doing something nefarious. But the facts just don’t bear that out, and if you refuse to acknowledge that, you’re deliberately choosing convenient lies over inconvenient truth.