Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Constance McMillen's classmates learn the costs of gloating

By now, many of us know the story of Constance McMillen, the Fulton, MS student who wanted to attend the Itawamba Agricultural High School prom with her girlfriend.

The school decided to cancel the prom rather than allowing her to do such, something else we all know.

The ACLU sued and the courts ruled that McMillen's rights were violated but the school was not forced to put the prom back on. In response, some of McMillen's fellow classmates held a "private party," which she was supposed to be invited to. However, as it turns out, McMillen, as well as a few other students who had learning disabilities were steered to a "fake prom" while their classmates held their party.

And to make matters worse, some of these classmates created a Facebook page making fun of McMillen and gloating about how they "showed her," including pictures of them smiling and dancing at the prom.

Yes, we all know the story. But now it gets interesting.

An online buddy of mine, Pam Spaulding received an email from a student concerning a post she wrote about the situation. The student asked Pam to remove pictures of her and her classmates enjoying themselves. Pam, who, when she wrote the original story did not give out the names of the student or her friends, took the pictures from another public site created to gloat about what had happened.

Pam was very nice in explaining to the young lady that the pictures will not be removed and she is well within her rights in posting them.

And this is not the only thing I noticed. On various other blogs, students are posting comments trying to somehow rationalize not only their decision to make McMillen and the other students feel like outcasts but gloating about it afterwards.

And why? Because apparently the Facebook page (which I will not post, but it's called "Constance, quit yer cryin'") is getting a lot of attention. Many people have joined the group to voice their displeasure about what happened.

As far as I know, no one has been threatened, but some of the comments aren't pretty. A lot of them, mine included, are reasonable and rational in voicing the opinion that what happened was awful.

But let me be honest here. I don't feel sorry for you students of Itawamba Agricultural High School who are now feeling the blowback from what you did.

You got played by the school. My guess is that when school officials canceled the prom, they expected you all to make McMillen the scapegoat and you did with as much fervor as a pack of wild dogs in Call of the Wild.

So you decided to hold a party, making sure to steer McMillen away to a fake prom. You celebrated like you won a big victory, and then to make matters worse, you gloated about what you did in a public manner designed to humiliate McMillen.

What exactly did you think would happen?

This ain't Carrie and McMillen doesn't have telekinetic powers, but you are experiencing a nasty shock, aren't you?

I don't wish any of you ill will and I certainly don't wish any of you violence, but you brought this on yourselves.

I read one of you saying that you resent how McMillen was making the school sound backwards and I found that notion ridiculous because it's obvious that none of you needed her help in that department. You did such a completely excellent job of it yourselves.

Now how do you feel?

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'Gay lifestyle' finally revealed and other Wednesday midday news briefs

Myth of the 'gay lifestyle' justifies bias - Amen L.Z.

May Day: Saving America From Forced Starvation, Obama's Brownshirts, and God's Wrath - Janet Porter resembles a fruitcake on Christmas. Never mind trying to make sense out of that. If you can, then maybe you can make sense out of her ramblings.

Foxx fuming over Stern's gay jibe - Shut up, Alvin, shut up, Alvin. I'm so conflicted now. Howard Stern is a dumbass but the comment by Foxx about eating pizza in a shower was stupid.

Fired Maine reporter gains religious aid - BEFORE the religious right pushes this as yet another phony story of the discriminated Christian, it's worth mentioning that even though the reporter in question used his personal email, it was on company time using company equipment.

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NAACP president calls out gay community for lack of black support

Here we go again:

We all know that Julian Bond Civil Rights Leader and Board Chairman of the NAACP has been a steadfast LGBT Rights supporter.  But today NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, who has been mostly non-commital where the "organization" is concerned tried to lay the fault squarely at the LGBT Community's feet when it comes to the fact that black activist have not been supporting the Gay Rights Movement.

In an article from ThinkBig::

I really just have one thing to say about this. No one from the African-American community ever had to do outreach for me to stand up for their rights. I have marched, I have protested, and I have signed petitions. And I did it because it was the RIGHT thing to do. And I did it gladly.

Jealous is also attuned to the civil rights struggles of another minority group—gay Americans—and aware of the public perception that black activists have been lukewarm in supporting their cause. Yet for his own family as well as the NAACP, he says, gay rights are not only important but "personal"—and if there's a gap between the movements, it's a product of insufficient outreach from the LGBT side.

I remarked "here we go again" because I can predict what's going to happen next.

Some in the lgbt community are going to be get defensive instead of maybe assessing the fact that Jealous's words have a ring of truth. Already, terms like "hater" and "homophobe" have been thrown around.

The black community will most likely have another "if we ignore it, maybe it will go away" moment that it always does when it comes to issues of the gay community.

Meanwhile, lgbts of color, who are by now are so used to this sort of thing, will wonder yet again "will these turkeys ever get this issue right?"

I'm sorry if I sound cynical but when it comes to the tired old argument of black community vs. gay community, I feel as if some entity out of a Roger Corman movie has attached itself to my side and has sapped the energy right out of me, putting in its place a kind of weariness.

So let me be succinct. I'm tired of the arguments. It doesn't matter if the gay movement for equality is the same as the African-American civil rights movement (it is). And it doesn't matter if sometimes, well meaning white gays and lesbians refuse to acknowledge that they take unfair liberties in assessing the two movements without knowing the inner workings of the black civil rights movements (they do).

We are going to continue to have this tired argument until both communities stop clinging to past symbolism and acknowledge the present and probably only true connection between the black and gay community - me and the rest of my lgbt brothers and sisters of color.

Speaking for myself, I get a very low opinion of both communities when this tug of war of position takes place. I don't feel like a person to the black or gay community. I feel like a commodity, a frozen asset. Both communities seem to be so busy with trying to use what tie I have to them for their own purpose that neither want to look at me as a person whose African-American heritage and lgbt sensibility mingle together to create something rich and unique which would be an asset to both communities.

I am useful to the lgbt community because I am gay. I am useful to the African-American community because I am a black man. But I don't seem to be useful to either community as a gay black man.

There are some of us who cannot separate being black and being gay into two separate camps because we encompass both identities.

But the problem is that neither community seems to get that point.

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