April 16, 2011

California already requires its public schools to teach women's history and black history, so why not gay history?

There's a bill in the state legislature that has already passed the senate.
Advocates say that teaching about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in schools would prevent bullying and shatter stereotypes that some students may harbor. They point to several students who have committed suicide after being taunted by peers for being gay. But the bill has drawn vociferous criticism from opponents who argue that when and how to talk about same-sex relationships should be left to parents.
So the motivation behind forcing this study of history has little to do with history. It's about controlling behavior.

I have this idealistic belief that young people would behave better if they were respected as students, if the study of history would be premised on the value of studying history, and if, when history is studied,   historical principles determined the subject matter. 
A similar bill was approved by the Democratic-controlled Legislature in 2006, but vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who said that school curriculum should be left up to local schools. But there is a new governor now. And both supporters and opponents of the bill expect it will sail through the heavily Democratic Assembly and be signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat who has been supportive of gay rights.
How much easier it is for a politician to sign a bill than for students to slog through political lessons year after year instead of learning what truly belongs in a history class. It's disgusting to compel young people to go to school and then to treat them like this.

And don't tell me that the gay rights movement genuinely belongs in a history course. Let that topic be integrated into history courses to the extent that they truly belong in a history course, not because some politicos wanted to score points or because their emotive constituents feel that there's an epidemic of bullying and suicide and it can be cured by making heroes out of Harvey Milk and his ilk.
“It is very basic to me that people dislike and fear that with which we are less familiar,” said Mark Leno, who sponsored the bill and is one of the first openly gay men elected to the State Senate. Students who come to view their fellow classmates as regular members of society, rather than misfits, will find that “their behavior changes for the better,” Mr. Leno said.
Leno just intuits cause and effect. "It's very basic to me" isn't a good enough foundation for a law that appropriates and exploits millions of hours of the time of other human beings. I could just assert that it's very basic to me that when young people are compelled to spend day after day, year after year, under the control of adults cranking out what sounds like state indoctrination, that they will rebel against authority. And then where's the good behavior you had your warm heart set on?

ADDED: Shouting Thomas cites "South Park":
The parents in that series are all veterans of the 60s, and they think that rebellion ended with them. They think that all of the issues of authority versus kids were solved when they were adolescents. So, they are constantly astonished to discover that their kids think they are pompous windbags preaching bullshit. Their kids are rebelling against them.
Click through to see what Shouting Thomas thinks about bullying.

71 comments:

Phil 3:14 said...

would prevent bullying

So nerd history is next?

Andrea said...

“It is very basic to me that people dislike and fear that with which we are less familiar,” said Mark Leno, who sponsored the bill and is one of the first openly gay men elected to the State Senate.

Oh really, is it, Mark Leno? Just speaking for myself, I have never "disliked and feared" anything I wasn't familiar with. I mean, I had to leave the house sometime, didn't I? He's not describing normal people of any sexual preference -- he's describing neurotic shut-ins. Believe it or not, most people, instead of "disliking and fearing" new and strange things, are usually curious and interested. He's mistaking the normal wariness people have for a possible scam for "dislike and fear."

chickelit said...

This seems to be a very personal bill for Mr. Leno, who has stated that he felt uncomfortable growing up gay.

I wish people would stop taking their awful childhoods out on the rest of us.

Mr. D said...

I'm left-handed. I demand a Left-Handed Studies department in all major universities and a week of instruction on how people used to get their hands slapped when they tried to write with their left hands.

Big Mike said...

Is there a point where the schools will teach, ya know, American history?

Not to mention silly little things like mathematics, physics, chemistry, ... ?

John M Auston said...

“It is very basic to me that people dislike and fear that with which we are less familiar,” said Mark Leno, who sponsored the bill and is one of the first openly gay men elected to the State Senate.

Dislike and fear that with which we are less familiar? Humm. Let's see. Before I had drove a car, or before I had sex for the first time, I was "less familiar" with both. But I don't recall disliking or fearing either. "Eager for" would better describe my emotions. So whatever could Mark mean? He certainly isn't making a universal statement.

themightypuck said...

Indoctrination is the point of Bismarckian industrial pedagogy.

AJ Lynch said...

"Harvey Milk and his ilk".

Did you mean to say that Professor?

E.M. Davis said...

So what's the fourth R of education? Rimming?

Browndog said...

One would have to surmise that History of African-American Lesbians 101 would be the most important class evah!....

Rumpletweezer said...

I bet the Koreans are ahead of us in Black History, Gender Studies, and TransGender Studies, too.

Quayle said...

And the left complains that we're falling behind the world in education.

How many gay history laws are on the books in Korea or China?

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

Identity history.

Only because I think you ain't got your mind right.

Quayle said...

Rumpletweezer and I were experiencing the same revelatory experience.

bagoh20 said...

It's amazing how much bullying is done in the name of preventing bullying. The students do learn a lesson, but not the one intended.

PatCA said...

Thomas Jefferson owned slaves.
Gays are victims and therefore good.
No quiz today, structure is evil.
Class dismissed!

Leno is right about one thing: Brown will sign this bill. He already signed the utility bill, which will destroy what's left of CA. http://tinyurl.com/4y46fvl

edutcher said...

Again, this is about stroking Demo constituencies.

"Womyn's" history consists of Gloria Steinbrenner and Bella Abzug instituting discrimination against men.

Black history is the fact that the South had a slave economy before 1865 and had de jure discrimination against blacks before 1965.

In both cases, most of what the Left considers history is vignettes concerning individuals. C. J. Walker may be interesting as a personality, but she was no standard bearer.

There is no "gay" history outside San Fiasco and that doesn't start until the hippies leave.

And, as for all our Lefty crusaders who bleed for the downtrodden LBGT minority, wait until someone like Tammy Bruce becomes chairwoman of the FCC or what-have-you and starts doing politically incorrect things. You'll see the same tolerance afforded Clarence Thomas, Condi Rice, and Michelle Bachmann.

Saul said...

Ironically, I just saw the movie Milk on tv last night. I think there is plenty that can be learned fro teaching gay history. Gays make up a significant percentage of our society. They have been mistreated for centuries. A lot of good could come out of teaching gay history. Having the context of their struggle may improve tolerance. Ann, I think your argument is dead wrong. It would be incredibly interesting. It would be a great vehicle to get kids thinking as opposed to acting without any understanding of their consequences.

Gretchen said...

Mr. D:

I feel your pain. I'm left handed too. I'm different than the majority of people. I also have a son who is deaf. I think deaf studies should be in all schools because of my son's deafness. Everyone should understand his journey. And if a deaf student has a cochlear implant (like my son does), then everyone needs to learn how this is genocide for the Deaf community.

JUST KIDDING! I have spent my mothering time drilling in his head that all people have challenges and if he perceives himself as a victim, he will be a victim and that is his own choosing. He is now in college and doing well.

Why aren't we targeting all groups of people who have issues? I mean, why not? That evidently is more important than academic pursuits.

DKWalser said...

IIRC, California already mandates an "alternative lifestyles" class that was supposed to prevent the bullying of and to enhance the self-esteem of those who have an alternative lifestyle. Which do you think California will do: A) drop the alternative lifestyles class to make room for the gay history class, or B) drop some part of the reading, writing, and arithmetic curriculum?

Zarathustra said...

The bullying of conservatives in Wisconsin has reached epidemic proportions. It seems that Democrats and unions have a deep seated fear of conservatism. Can we expect a bill mandating that all children be educated in the history and value of conservative thinking?

AJ Lynch said...

This PC initiative makes a good argument for strong states rights and demolishing the Dept of Education.

If we don't, this PC crap will be coming to all 50 states.

shoutingthomas said...

Bullying is as universal human experience. We all went through it.

This is just another attempt to prop up gays as a pet group... like woman and gays.

And, don't you think we notice that the one group missing from the administrative ass kissing is... white, hetero men? The punitive intent of this is obvious.

Just as we learned that Crystal Magnum is accused of committing murder. You know, the heroine of the Duke lacrosse hoax.

Colleges are going to keep doing this until the voters take away the money.

Althouse, you're a sensible woman. When are you going to state the obvious? Gays aren't subject to oppression and discrimination. They're the teacher's pet. Asses kissed constantly by the left. Everybody on the left falling over themselves to weep over the imagined oppression.

Jay said...

It's about controlling behavior.

Yes.

And that is what the modern "progressive" movement has been all about since 1965.

bagoh20 said...

I had a lot of bad experiences as a kid, came from a serial broken home, (mom married 4 times) experienced bullying, parental alcoholism, violence, etc, but I'm gonna go out on a limb here and admit something - I had a wonderful childhood. I mean absolutely fantastic! Am I the only one?

Jay said...

Gays make up a significant percentage of our society

Actually, they make up about 3%

Gays are abnormal.

Shouting Thomas said...

Am I the only one?

I fought my way through a brigade of bullies every day in elementary school.

The myth is that this only happens because the victim is perceived as weak.

Read my bit here.

This posting at my blog so outraged the lesbian activist in one of the bands that I played in that she demanded that that band dump me.

rhhardin said...

The United States had two black foremothers.

Ann Althouse said...

"Did you mean to say that Professor?"

Take a wild guess.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ironically, I just saw the movie Milk on tv last night. I think there is plenty that can be learned fro teaching gay history. Gays make up a significant percentage of our society. They have been mistreated for centuries. A lot of good could come out of teaching gay history. Having the context of their struggle may improve tolerance. Ann, I think your argument is dead wrong. It would be incredibly interesting. It would be a great vehicle to get kids thinking as opposed to acting without any understanding of their consequences."

Reread paragraph 3 of my post. I've pre-responded to the point that gay history is a part of history that ought to be taught.

Tim said...

One can watch the California Senate Floor debate on the bill here: http://www.calchannel.com/channel/viewVideo/2337 It begins at 46:10, if one is interested.

Rick said...

And to think that in 1953-54 I went to grade school in San Francisco and was taught the three Rs and we had no problems on the playgrounds, even though there was a lot of diversity.
Is it wrong to contemplate whether as a society we are encouraging young kids to question their gender, which leads to them acting out some role into which they are being led, which leads others to react to their odd behavior?
We may be constructing an artificial environment and then spending the kids school hours trying to teach them how to behave in that environment.

bagoh20 said...

"...so why not gay history?" You could ask that about a million things. The point is that kids are not learning what they desperately need to - how to balance their finances, how to get a job, how to think logically, etc, etc.

If we only taught what we all agree is important, we would be out of time for the rest, and our kids would be much better served. The controversial stuff is invariably nonessential.

If a young person finds himself in debt, unemployable and constantly making dumb decisions, the fact that they are proud of their gayness is not gonna help much, and proves that they have been seriously ripped off by someone.

BTW, I would prefer my kid experience some bullying, as well as some pain, heartache and failure. Maybe we can add that to the curriculum.

ricpic said...

No history of individuals allowed!

bagoh20 said...

Is there any doubt that no matter what the costs of this idea, the proponents would still want it. That's the history of leftism. Just get today's brass ring, and to hell with everything else, and we never run out of rings. That's progressive.

Paddy O said...

It's hard to keep out of someone's bedroom when they insist on bringing their bedroom into the classroom.

I don't honestly get the need for "gay" history. There is the danger of highly revisionist history posing as authentic history (David was gay! So was Lincoln!) in an attempt to fill out such history beyond the last 50 years in which people could more comfortably come out. History becomes a tool of ideology and increasingly becomes ahistorical, a Hegelian attempt to make supposedly "gay-historical" figures into the paragons of human advancement and freedom, as though being gay was the next stage in human evolution.

There's this mixed message being sent that on the one hand, sexuality defines our identity but on the other hand sexuality isn't really all that big of a deal so get over yourself. And abusing the use of an already overwhelmed history curriculum to make yet another socio-political, ideological point seems dangerous. Just as with Hegel, the result becomes an ahistorical perception of current trends as being absolute while losing almost entire understanding of the broader narrative of the human story, in which all kinds of people were oppressed and beaten and many overcame such by taking hold of hope in new possibilities.

MayBee said...

"Bullying". The catch-all reason to control and monitor other people's behavior.
It is quickly joining "sustainable" and "fairness" as words I cannot bear to hear.

MayBee said...

I bet the Koreans are ahead of us in Black History, Gender Studies, and TransGender Studies, too.

Ha ha ha ha ha!

Michael K said...

There has been a long list of "first openly gay" members of the state legislature for 30 years. They must assume no one in California remembers anything. Come to think of it, they might have something there.

edutcher said...

Jay said...

Gays make up a significant percentage of our society

Actually, they make up about 3%

Gays are abnormal.


There you go, being heteronormative again.

BTW, the latest tally is around 1.3% of the population.

(I believe it's based on medicines to treat HIV, etc., but the article was a while ago and I can't recall the methodology)

Originally, some statisticians extrapolated, based on AIDS cases, the homosexual population was between .5 and 1.5%, so it's interesting they seem to to be narrowing it down.

Gari said...

My first grader had to write an essay on MLK (public school) what she took away from it was that he was a black man that was shot by a white man.

She didn't take away (or is too young for?) the powerful organization, vision and courage of the man; just that he was shot by a white man. Sad.

bagoh20 said...

I bet there are more people who share the sexual preference of ironrailsironweights than are gay. Such people also have a long and important history, and they are more marginalized today than ever.

Peter, develop your lesson plan and lets get busy edumacatin.

virgil xenophon said...

Jay, the very latest data suggest it's more like 1.7% iirc--even less of a societal factor than even the heretofore best data suggested. Dog: Meet wagging tail.

"That which is not made illegal will eventually be championed."

And isn't the above quote oh-so true! We've gone from overt hostile societal discrimination, to "consciousness-raising" and social tolerance, thru legal protection, to now overt, legal legislative promotion and cultural "superiority" over those fashion-challenged, talentless air-breathing "breeders," you know--the "straights."(or "straits" as the gay community would have it)

MayBee said...

The parents in that series are all veterans of the 60s, and they think that rebellion ended with them. They think that all of the issues of authority versus kids were solved when they were adolescents. So, they are constantly astonished to discover that their kids think they are pompous windbags preaching bullshit. Their kids are rebelling against them.

My own son was telling me something very similar (about real life) just last week. Kids today often think the boomers are ruining things with their stupid hang ups about race, etc.

MarkG said...

It would be incredibly interesting.

The study of me and mine would be fascinating to no end! I certainly think so. So should you!

paul a'barge said...

I'm all for teaching gay history as long as California students are forced to read the crime reports from every pedophile rampage that has happened since California became a state.

virgil xenophon said...

oops--"mouth-breathing"

The Crack Emcee said...

Damn it, I'm trapped for time, so can't provide links right now, but I want in here because you're tapping on so many of my topics:

First, there's that word "fear" again. That's for Meade.

Second, yes, it should be "Harvey Milk and his ilk". They are not what you think.

Third, the movie "Milk" is propaganda and a lie. Don't believe a word of it.

Fourth, gays make up 1.7% of the population - not 3%.

Fifth, gay history (and black history, women's history, etc.) should be woven into American history as "history" but with the warts and all - meaning it's mistakes and wrong-headed assumptions left in - so we can accurately see how we got to this time and place in it.

Sixth (I feel like Victor Davis Hanson here) you can look up info on Harvey Milk, etc. on my site.

Seventh, and finally, my site is under attack by a creep in Daly City, California (he's been taunting me with gay references for some time now and, I think, stepped up his attack because I delete his comments) and, because of that, blogger has slapped TMR with a warning label.

So I'm truly dangerous now.

YoungHegelian said...

What's you people's problem?

Doesn't every faith want to teach the stories of its martyrs? Am I the only one here who remembers the story of brave Tarsicius from second grade?

Ooooh, they want to teach this in public schools as history....

Nevermind.

Lucien said...

But any rebellion can imply be addressed by a Title IX suit, or equivalent.No one would wander around chanting "No means yes. Yes means anal." unless hey had had "Non means no." preached to them by authority figures they want to rebel against. Such speech is not just politically incorrect, but a rebellion against the idea of political correctness.

Browndog said...

The history of gay sex people.

Or, is it the historical contributions of gay sex people?

If Thomas Edison chose to have sex with another man instead of a woman, would it be said that the light bulb was invented because he had gay sex? In spite of his having gay sex? If not for a homosexual, we'd still be living in the dark?

In short, how do you frame "gay history"?

How does who you choose to have sex with make anything separate and apart--even exceptional--from others who chose their sexual partners differently?

Jay said...

virgil xenophon said...

Jay, the very latest data suggest it's more like 1.7% iirc--even less of a societal factor than even the heretofore best data suggested


Very interesting.

edutcher said...

Jay said...


Thanks for your perspective as well.

I saw this story recently suggesting 2%.

Louis said...

I find it rather humorous that people would compare the bullying of gays and sexual minorities with that of the conventional bullying that most kids endure. First of all, kids that are bullied aren't always gay, but are perceived as gay. They're the androgynous typically male students that are tormented on a daily basis for being perceived as different. While I'm not entirely convinced that mandating the addition of gay history into the curriculum would resolve the bullying problems, I'm impressed that the legislature are willing to explore such possibilities. Why am I not convinced? Just look at the some of the comments from some of their would-be parents. Sexual preference, social tolerance...left handedness as an oppressed minority; we have some really ignorant people posting. Preference implies choice, sexuality is not a choice. Social tolerance is not the goal, who wants to be tolerated? We should be striving for diversity acceptance and appreciation. Leaving the discussion of sexuality to the parents is an idea that frightens me most when I read comments like some in this blog.

AJ Lynch said...

Yes I knew the legend of Harvey Milk was just that and nothing more. And he was murdered over a job dispute that had nothing to do with gayness. I was just surprised a bit that Althouse acknowledged it in this post.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Louis:
Sexuality is not a choice.
Handedness is not a choice.
Small stature is not a choice.
Effeminacy of facial features is not a choice.
Lateness in physical maturation is not a choice.
Hair color is not a choice.
Myopia is not a choice.
Orthodontic overbite is not a choice.
Freckles is not a choice.
Pale skin is not a choice.
Mother's place of birth is not a choice.

I personally witnessed or endured bullying, including assault, based on every one of these items.

Would you care to rethink your argument?

Browndog said...

Gay sex is all about freedom of choice....

But then, it's not a choice.

libtards.

To think parenting being left to parents scares them...

Jay said...

Fred Drinkwater said...

Louis:
Sexuality is not a choice.


You can provide not the slightest bit of information demonstrating sexuality is innate.

Methadras said...

"California already requires its public schools to teach women's history and black history, so why not gay history?"

Because the sexual orientation of people who have contributed to California's history is IRRELEVANT!!!

Chip S. said...

"Knowledge of X is preferable to ignorance about X" is a necessary but not sufficient condition for X to be added to the public-school curriculum. What must be shown is that "Knowledge of X is preferable to knowledge of Y," where Y is the area that will be dropped from the curriculum to make room for X.

That would involve making the necessary comparative evaluations explicit, which seems too unpleasant for people to do. Instead, the deletions get done out of the public's view, until one day somebody starts asking why kids can't read or write very well anymore.

MarkG said...

How many historically important people are going to suddenly become posthumously gay, like Abe Lincoln?

Lucien said...

The trouble with declaring that sexual orientation is not a choice is that, as a matter of empirical fact, there are many people who have switched from one sexual orientation to another (and sometimes, back again).

The trouble with declaring that sexual orientation is a choice is that, as a matter of empirical fact, many people feel that hey are naturally inclined one way or the other, without any choice, and many people feel that they have tried to be straight, but cannot succeed.

If you are data driven, you pretty much have to concede that some people are born to be gay, straight, or bisexual, and some are not.But it's damned inconvenient from a political point of view.

William said...

I don't think our memories of bullies and bullying are to be trusted. We've all been bullied, if not because of some visible handicap, then simply because we were smaller than the upperclassmen. That's not a memory to savor. And we've all been bullies. We've all felt weak and vulnerable and wished to expunge those feelings by dumping on someone weaker and more vulnerable than ourselves. That, also, is not a memory to savor and gets edited out when we contemplate our moral perfection.....Let's turn our attention to homosexual rapists in prison. Should their crimes be a proper study of gay history?

Ralph L said...

I thought the self-esteem movement was supposed to eliminate the insecurity that leads to bullying.

We should be striving for diversity acceptance and appreciation
Of bullies and predators? Why not just teach manners and self-control and punish bad behavior?

Put "diversity" at the top of Maybee's noxious buzzword list.

Revenant said...

I don't have a problem with teaching the history of homosexuality in schools.

The only question I have is the same one I always have when people insist that X be taught in schools: "what are we going to STOP teaching, to make room for X?"

There are a limited number of hours in the school year. Every hour you spend teaching Biology is an hour not spend teaching Math, and so on.

Revenant said...

Because the sexual orientation of people who have contributed to California's history is IRRELEVANT!

Not entirely. For example, the attention focused on the assassination of America's first openly gay politician is what launched Diane Feinstein's political career.

Madcon said...

If the gay history bill becomes law, there will be an increase in private school and homeschooling enrollment in California. Already our local Lutheran private school has had an increase in enrollment for the coming school year. And that's just one school. I do wonder how this latest mandatory instruction will affect California schools' AP scores which are already (as an aggregate) some of the lowest in the nation.

My son attends public school in a very high-performing district here in California but we'll pull him out and place him in a private school if this bill is signed into law. We have nothing against teaching kids tolerance, but forcing kids to learn mandatory revisionist history that is skewed in favor of special interest groups is not about teaching history anymore. Anyway, California already has pro-LGBT anti-bullying laws and "Harvey Milk Day" on May 22.

Quality instruction in California's public schools has already been lagging prior to this bill. The teachers rush the kids through math, writing and science in order to get them ready for the standardized tests in May. Add to this problem the fact that California budget cuts have meant more furlough days for teachers. This means that there is less time devoted to teaching kids the basics. And now the Democrats want to add this? Expect to see a further decline in California's public schools.

Freeman Hunt said...

Hey, Gays! Welcome to the ghetto of special identity. We women and blacks are so happy you could join us!

You too have earned the distinction of having special identity labels pasted onto the historical achievements of your people. No longer should you feel that your contributions belong to all mankind. Your history is now segregated. Don't worry though, it may be separate, but it's equal. In fact, it's better than equal because the hand-wringers are going to celebrate it all special like.

Welcome to the ghetto. Be sure to act excited and grateful about coming here. Don't want the people who built this place to go thinking you're an ingrate or a traitor to your kind. And don't mind the fence; they say it's necessary for now to heighten the awareness of the people outside. They say they'll tear it down in time.

Methadras said...

Revenant said...

Not entirely. For example, the attention focused on the assassination of America's first openly gay politician is what launched Diane Feinstein's political career.


Still irrelevant. Milk made his homosexuality the moniker for his political soapbox. He was killed because of it. Feinstein using it as an excuse to run for a political career makes it even more irrelevant. Political opportunism in this case isn't worthy of historical reference in a text book.

At maximum, a point of history like this in context to a larger narrative of state history should be nothing more than a footnote like how you displayed it above.

The Crack Emcee said...

I personally witnessed or endured bullying, including assault, based on every one of these items.

Would you care to rethink your argument?


Fred Drinkwater.

What a cool fucking name!

The Crack Emcee said...

Methadras,

Milk made his homosexuality the moniker for his political soapbox. He was killed because of it.

Not true. His being gay had no bearing on his death what-so-ever. Only on him being elected.

Which once accomplished, like Obama being elected, only meant the real attacks were to begin.

Revenant said...

Still irrelevant. Milk made his homosexuality the moniker for his political soapbox. He was killed because of it. Feinstein using it as an excuse to run for a political career makes it even more irrelevant

It is pretty clear you don't actually know anything about the history in question. :)