Saturday, October 11, 2014

Questioning sanity ...


Not my sanity ... well not all the time anyway.

People ... people in general.  Seriously ... what's wrong with them?

I'm driving to work listening to my local radio station.  The morning crew is very entertaining ... it is a "News / Talk" station, so there is a lot of banter as well as news, traffic and weather updates.  They like to find the strange stories from around the country as well as locally and everyone throws their two cents worth into the mix.  It's rather entertaining most of the time because there always seems to be at least one who takes the opposing viewpoint and the debate ensues ... and so do the calls.

I could actually do without some of the callers who, I guess consider themselves important or celebrities or experts or something ... they seem to call regardless of the subject because they just happen to know something about it ... I guess.

One of the latest topics was based on this article on gender inclusion.

I am always hesitant or skeptical when the subject of gender or inclusion are discussed by people who do not understand the issues, and this day was no different.  I really want to give people the chance to show they want to learn or try to comprehend, but in the end they always seem to draw conclusions based on ...

?? OK, I am not sure what they base their opinions on, so speculating on how they draw their conclusions will likely not be the right answer.

The article is arguing against this handout from a Nebraska school district.  The author misconstrues and misinforms his readers as to the purpose of the article.  He is making it sound like we are not allowed to differentiate between a boy and a girl, when the handout is only saying that those are not the only two options ...

*** Fall 1978 ***

My brother and I are in our Sunday school class.

Technically we were in different classes ... he was in high school and I was in junior high, but there were not very many junior high kids so they combined the classes.  To be specific there were four of us.  Three girls and me.

Monte bounced into the class in his typical fashion ... good mood, big grin and laughing.  Today we were starting to rehearse for the Christmas program.

A beautiful moon
As a side note, and possibly future flashbacks, I didn't like the Christmas programs at church much.  When I was very young I was supposed to sing a duet of sorts with Sissy Madden.  After a few rehearsals  we had the song pretty well memorized ... the night of the program she was a no show.  My duet was a solo ... and I did terrible.  I remembered my verse and the verse we sang together but stumbled badly on hers.  I was near tears and horribly embarrassed.

I don't like embarrassment.

I don't like the feeling that everyone is staring at me ... of being isolated in the spotlight ... of the snyde remarks they don't think I hear followed by the not so reassuring false compassion in their comments when they talk to me directly.

So Monte is explaining what the plans are.  Nothing original ... songs.

"OK ... we need to split up into groups.  We're going to make this fantastic."  Monte's enthusiasm was on the verge of being horribly annoying.  "High school boys over there by the counter.  All of you."

The room we were in was a kitchen / cafeteria for the school.  The walls could be folded back to make one huge room, but today we were partitioned into the small room.  The counter was the serving counter between the actual kitchen and the eating area.

The boys jumped up, kicking chairs, making comments, being loud.

"Junior high girls over there."  I am not certain where Monte gestured for them.  I was waiting fo him to realize I was sitting there.

"He'll tell me what to do in a second." I thought.  "Or maybe my place is with the girls.  But how could he know?  Nobody knows."

"Monte paused for a moment.  The boys were behind me making a small ruckus, but not saying anything specific about me ... yet.  "There's only three of you?," he asks the girls.  "Go sit with the high school girls."

So here I was ... sitting in the middle of a room in a chair by myself while staring at the wall and trying not to notice everyone now staring at me.  "I guess I better get used to this ... not a boy ... not a girl.  But I am a girl ... just nobody knows."  I am relatively these are just thoughts, but I may have been muttering by this point.  I don't really care.


The church from
many years ago


Monte walks past me ... the only one still sitting in the middle of the room, and he does not say a word.  He addresses the high school boys for a second.  I am listening but not watching.  "Why is he over there?" he whispers to the group.

"I'm three feet away from you.  Why don't you ask me?"  Again, I hope I am thinking, but my stomach was now a solid know, I felt every eye on me and heard every whisper said about me.  "Just leave me here.  Put me with the girls ... I don't want to be with those boys now."  I entered a zone that I learned where there was no reaction ... no emotion ... no sign of life in my head at all.  "This is what the rest of my life will be like.  I better get used to it." 

I heard Monte's foot pivot on the carpet.  "Get over here with the boys."

I was sick.  Sick and embarrassed.

I don't like embarrassment.

It really is an unexplainable, empty, intensely soul ripping feeling to not belong.  I didn't click with the boys ... I just didn't get them, although I could keep up with there banter.  I didn't belong with the girls whether I would have clicked or not.

After the class my brother asked me why I didn't gather with the boys.

"He said high school boys.  I'm not high school."  My words were a bit terse as I was still feeling singled out.  "He addressed everyone else separately ... he never told me what to do."  Did I say that out loud?  I doubt it because my brother didn't react.

I will give my brother credit on this one.  I am sure he realized how uncomfortable I was, so he did not pursue the questioning.  "Don't worry about it."  His words were not all that convincing, but it was better than what the others said as they scurried off to church.

*****

Not fitting in ... not being noticed ... not being recognized for who or what you are.  That is what the handout from the school district is about.  Letting kids, and adults understand that not everyone fits into a perfect little mold.

They are not trying to make everyone eunuchs ... they are trying to wipe out everyone else's identity to satiate or placate  a vast minority of the population.  They are trying to give the minority an identity of their own.

If a teacher today were to have the kids line up with blacks in one line and whites in the other they would be fired ... but if that were to happen, where would the Hispanic kids or the Asian kids line up??  The would feel out of place ... singled out, or left out ... or worse.  They truly would not fit in anywhere.

By altering how kids line up they may actually talk to more than just their few friends.  They may learn something about someone ... but no.  We are not supposed to say, "If your birthday is between July and December get in one line and birthdays from January to June get in the other."  Something like that may actually teach younger kids their calendar or let kids know that a friend may have a birthday near theirs.

"If your shirt is red, yellow or blue take this line ... purple , green and orange take the other."  Heaven forbid kids learn primary and secondary colors.  "Long sleeve & short sleeve" - "Likes veggies, don't like veggies" - "Prefers apples, prefers oranges" - "Ford or Chevy."

I guess finding out things like that is divulging too much personal information.

Linda, my eldest sister is a teacher.  She may be doing a face-palm over some of my suggestions, but I bet she could have a dozen ways to divide her class other than boys and girls.





Why is that so hard??

Why is that so wrong???

I didn't get to listen to much of the morning radio show that day.  I do not know if anyone called in and pointed out some of the issues, or if they actually looked at the handout and not just what the moron said, but it's still sad that people join the herd and stampede over everyone without looking for the facts themselves ,,, or putting themselves in someone else's place.

Nobody is suggesting that all of society eliminate all gender based pronouns or labels ... but maybe it is time for everyone to reduce their importance ... to not force somebody into any category they do not belong in.