Thursday, January 24, 2019

For All Children

From a local leader in Howard County:

....equity includes the rights of the majority of white families and children to not ever support integrated bathroom, locker room, overnight accommodation and sports team access.

When would you imagine this was said? Perhaps in 1954, when the Brown v Board of Education ruling came down and a certain independent, nonsectarian school opened in Western Howard County? That would seem about right. It harkens back to a time when African Americans couldn’t drink from the same water fountains, use the same bathrooms, or eat in the same restaurants as white people. They couldn’t even try on clothes or shoes before buying them, lest their very touch would render those items unsellable to whites.

The thought of their children being in school with those of another skin color made many white people so uncomfortable that they asserted that their rights as the majority race should forever come first.  And when the Supreme Court ruled against them, well, it was time to build private schools where they could fix the rules in their favor.

Let’s look at our quote again. You might be surprised that it’s from 2019. And it looks like this: 

...equity includes the rights of the majority of families and children who do not identify as LGBTQ to not ever support transgender bathroom, locker room, overnight accommodation and sports team access. - - from former Board of Education candidate Mavourene Robinson on an public online forum* 

Those who seek to negate the innate human worth of LGBTQ students often do so by claiming that who they are, with every fiber of their being, is a mere choice: a preference, a “lifestyle”. It is not.  It is no more a “lifestyle” than being a person of color is a “lifestyle”. And efforts to exclude and ostracize transgender students from public spaces such as classrooms, bathrooms, field trips, and sports teams have nothing at all to do with religious and moral conviction. They are a violation of civil rights. And they are illegal.

We have been down this road before. People who want to deny basic civil rights to others have
one name alone: bigots. Public schools are for all children. If you can’t handle that very essential truth, then perhaps you don’t want to send your children to public school. Democracy is not compelled to bend to the will of bigots.

Do I sound angry? I am. Our children need our love, support, and acceptance. All of them. Anyone who seeks to make life more difficult for those who are the most vulnerable is no friend of education. Or of children. 

Perhaps we will see another generation of “independent, nonsectarian” schools spring up for the sole purpose of running from civil rights. It could happen. I think it’s a bad plan for everyone involved but, no matter what: I’m absolutely clear that no one gets to take advantage of a free education while trampling on the rights of others. 

If you want to hide your children under a rock you will have to pay extra for that. Stop peddling your poison to the masses.

*A shoutout to Suzy Gerb Of PFLAG Howard County for bringing this quote to my attention.

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