…or, More Stupid Unsubscribes.
Last Week’s Issue Brought several protest unsubscribes. “The sense of moral superiority woven through the issues has become tiresome. Unsubscribe.” wrote “Hobar” in Texas, a nine-year subscriber. Huh? Then “Darl” in Oklahoma, who also subscribed in early 2010, was a bit more forthcoming in explaining his objection:
Unsubscribe. The story of the kid with the shirt pushed me over the edge. The shirt shouldn’t mix “transphobia” with things that are not mental illnesses. I can’t take the P.C. bullshit, sorry.
Well, I sure didn’t mix “transphobia” with other things: I didn’t make the shirt. The story simply made an observation comparing how a seventh-grader grasped more about the basics of humanity than her teachers did.
But let’s back up a little and review the story:
Mom Has Her Back
It was “dress down day” at Albritton Middle School, on the grounds of the Ft. Bragg, N.C., U.S. Army base. Seventh-grader Emery Smith wore her favorite T-shirt, but her father, Capt. Brad Smith, received a phone call saying “some of her teachers” had been offended by the shirt, and she must change. Her mother, Katie, headed to the school. What was wrong with a shirt that said, “Why be racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic when you could just be quiet?” she wondered. “I don’t think any of us really imagined adults would take issue with the shirt suggesting that discrimination is not OK,” she said. She told the assistant principal “that we were really proud of Emery because chances are there is a kid in that school that identifies with each of those marginalized categories, and she will be the one that has their backs even when those teachers and admins don’t.” She took the girl out of school for the day “to go celebrate her bravery and her values.” The school backed down and apologized later that day. Coincidentally, Emery was “recognized for her academics” the same day, Katie said. (RC/WTVD Raleigh) …And the teachers are hereby recognized for their lack of academics.
My primary thought about the story is reflected by its slug, right at the start: “Mom Has Her Back” — which to me is a perfect comment considering what the military is about: having each others’ backs, or watching out for each other. The girl is only, what, 12? And she clearly understands the concept too, as her mother points out well: “chances are there is a kid in that school that identifies with each of those marginalized categories, and she will be the one that has their backs even when those teachers and admins don’t.” And with the irony that the girl was “recognized for her academics” the same day, the tagline comments on the teachers’ “lack of academics” in not grasping the very basics of adulthood: we have the choice of being offended or not.
I do object to that accusation. I told “Darl” that this site actually hosts the clearest explanation of “P.C.” (or Political Correctness) I’ve written in my 25 years of professional news commentary: “Political Correctness: a system of thinking where it’s OK to offend someone right in front of you by enforcing a made-up rule to stop a theoretical offense to an unknown person later when you aren’t even going to be there.” (in context at Define “Political Correctness”).
And, that said, what he was really complaining about was that “you ‘can’t take’ people not like you being treated as human beings — and yes, that’s exactly the message you’re sending.” It’s surely especially galling that a 12-year-old gets that, and he doesn’t. “Sorry,” I concluded to be as clear as he was, “but I think all humans have worth — and if you disagree with that, then you really need to think about your humanity.”
Not surprisingly, “Darl” didn’t reply.
Even if one seriously and objectively considers transexuals to be “mentally ill,” just how insecure does Darl (or anyone else) have to be to disagree that such people should be treated as fellow human beings? Is it somehow justified to vilify “ill” people? Or even worse, to vilify children who have compassion for them? Or even worse than that, to vilify people who won’t vilify those children?!
If you seriously think I’m missing the boat here, then by all means carefully explain your position in the comments.
Other entries in the “Stupid Unsubscribes” series include:
- Fun Mail, Funny Male (from 1999!)
- Not Just Dumb, But Hella Dumb from Ron, Atty at LAW
- True: It’s Not for Everyone
- Jay Jay is Cray Cray — another reader who blamed me for his own shortcomings
- Unusual Unsubscribes: the demands can get downright weird.
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