'Not in Our Town' event to explore diversity Crimes & Incidents, posted by Editor, Palo Alto Online, on Mar 6, 2008 at 12:15 pm
Issues of race, diversity and bias will be the focus of a "Not in Our Town" workshop in Palo Alto next week that will include former Palo Alto City Councilwoman LaDoris Cordell, Palo Alto Vice Mayor Peter Drekmeier and East Palo Alto Police Chief Ron Davis as panelists.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 6, 2008, 10:42 AM
Posted by Dave, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2008 at 3:08 pm
While no doubt there are a number of "insensitive" people in Palo Alto, and surely even a few racists, it's difficult to make a case that "hate violence" is a major problem in our liberal town.
Events like this don't really serve a practical purpose: rather they're a chance for preening moralists like Ms. Cordell to flaunt their sense of superiority before a fawning audience and credulous local press.
The saving grace of this thing is that it gives Ms. Cordell and others similarly inclined to lecture a voluntary audience without the danger of inflicting either her views or any real damage on innocent citizens - as was not the case when she sat on the City Council.
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2008 at 3:15 pm
Sometimes, teaching this awareness actually shows young people differences which they hadn't been aware of before. In Palo Alto where so many of us are different from each other for myriads of reasons, things like this teach racism rather than prevent it.
Posted by june, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2008 at 3:18 pm
Well said Dave, I hope no city funds are being spent on this exercise in narcissism and self promotion.
As long as these events occur between consenting adults thats fine, what I object to is the attempt to indoctrinate our children with false stories design to manipulate emotions claim pretend victimhood and create false guilt .
Posted by knows of what I speak, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2008 at 5:14 pm
The only hate violence that happens in this town is violence against those who disagree politically with the "tolerant liberals"..keying cars with the wrong bumper stickers, vandalizing backpacks with the wrong stickers, spitting, hitting and name calling in the schools against kids who dare to speak out for the wrong candidate..
The last realm of identity safety that has to happen is political identity safety. This town is extremely judgemental and intolerant to anyone not liberal, democrat, non-Christian, ..unless you are a person of color or gay, in which case it is ok to be conservative and/or Christian because your color or sexual orientation makes up for it.
Posted by perspective, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2008 at 5:18 pm
I love the comment by the parent who said that pointing out differences actually increases "differentness" ie balkanizes the community.
Whatever happened to simply teaching to live and let live, treat others as you would want to be treated?
A wise black woman from the south who raised very fine children who had no chips on their shoulders and no victim mentality advised me to teach my children that they have blood the same color as everyone else's..this pretty much clears up any questions about which "differences" matter and which don't!
Posted by jj, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2008 at 5:27 pm
Its pretty hypocritical for people so intolerant of any dissenting or opposing opinion that they have to label it as hate speech, to host a forum on hate.
In which Im sure anyone who dares defy the liberal/globalist agenda of more immigration, more balkanization, more deterioration of traditional values, etc, will be labelled as a racist with terroristic inclinations.
When they say "Not in our town", what they mean is they don't want:
a) any free speech if it is used to contradict them or state an opposing opinion
b) any advocates against their agenda
c) anyone who dares question their flimsy definitions of hate or race
Posted by Parent, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Mar 7, 2008 at 8:03 am
The kids at Palo Alto High School are being forced to see the "Laramie Project" as part of a required class called "Living Skills". It is anything but a class that teaches living skills to the kids. What is does do is force a guilt trip onto every white kids in the class. Look out if you are conversative on top of that!
My understanding is that the decision was just made to extend it to two semesters next year. What a mistake. I don't know about the new superintendent and principal?
Posted by Parent, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Mar 7, 2008 at 8:46 am
Whereas I can't speak about the Laramie Project as I haven't seen it, I have had two kids go through Living Skills at Paly. From what I understand, Living Skills as a class is a forum for teaching many things that by law have to be taught to high schoolers. This class scratches the surface of many issues and there is talk of the 2nd semester becoming an optional elective for those who are interested whereas the first semester will remain mandatory. I believe that the same material is taught at Gunn, but divided up between different classes.
My two kids enjoyed the classes, they say it gave them some food for thought but both don't think they actually learned anything from it. But, they did say that they thought it was a good class to take.
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2008 at 10:24 am
"The multicultural experiment was a dismal failure".
Oh, really--I'd say the fact that Americans are nearly all of mixed blood and getting more so every generation make the mix and match a success. It's quite different than Europe, where different ethnic groups have managed to self-segregate to an amazing degree.
Parent's issue is an interesting one--to what extent does history matter? When do you teach it and how? I'm not of the school where you ignore the whole thing--it's there and our children will meet people who are informed by it.
What do you do, for example, if you're a Jewish parent with relatives killed in the Holocaust? Do you not tell your kids about this? How can you not? What if you're the parent of that Jewish child's non-Jewish friend? How do you deal with it when your child asks if Christians are against Jews? Do you say no, while ignoring the long history of anti-semitism and the ongoing issues in the Middle East?
These cultural divisions exist. Do we really move past them if we ignore the fact of their existence?
Just a note on you self-described conservative commentators--it sounds like you think this stuff shouldn't be discussed because the town is too liberal to harbor traditional prejudices. But it also sounds like you think this is a good thing--but if you attribute this to liberalism, why all the liberal bashing?
Also, can we please get rid of the woe-is-me-I'm-a-victim strain of conservatism? I mean it's not like conservative votes aren't heard. C'mon, a little more crusty John Wayne, a little less whine. (Heck, you shoulda been a liberal coming of age during the Reagan Revolution--now those were times for a good lefty self-pity session. You could at least hold off until Pres. Hill Obama does something horribly liberal.)
Posted by E PLURIBUS UNUM, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2008 at 10:32 am
"E Pluribus Unum" is Latin for "Out of Many, One." Never codified by law, it was considered a de facto motto of the United States until 1956 when the United States Congress passed an act (H.J. Resolution 396), adopting In God We Trust as the official motto.
"E PLURIBUS UNUM", in capital letter spelling, is included on most U.S. currency, with some exceptions to the letter spacing (e.g. the U.S. dime reverse side). It is also embossed on the edge of the new 1 dollar coin. (See United States coinage and paper bills in circulation).
We should be teaching American values in our schools
Originally suggesting that out of many colonies or states emerge a single nation, it has come to suggest in contemporary times that out of many peoples, races, and ancestries has emerged a single people and nation – illustrating the concept of the melting pot.
Posted by Racist, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2008 at 10:44 am
"These cultural divisions exist. Do we really move past them if we ignore the fact of their existence?"
OhlonePar is right. Let's make sure we discuss all our "cultural divisions" every day in every possible forum. Let's all become as acutely aware of one-another's differences from ourselves and turn these differences into grievances we can discuss over and over and bash one over the head with when the discussing gets too heated.
Most importantly, let's identify only with people who have the same skin color as we do. Then if we can find something in the history books that suggest somebody the same color as you did something to somebody else the same color as me, let's make sure everybody the same color as you suffers and is made to feel guilty about it.
And when someone says we should be less sensitive than this, and horror of horrors, suggest we should try to be more color-blind, let's call them racist and hold big community meetings about "hate violence" caused by people like this.
Posted by Danny, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2008 at 11:49 am
About conservative political views: Rush Limbaugh came on the radio the other day and said that a Clinton/Obama ticket "wouldn't have a prayer" because there's no way a woman and a black man could get elected. Issues of leadership based on race and gender -- is this the future the conservatives are hoping for? Recently, it has seemed more and more that "conservative political views" are about being racist and sexist. Mike Huckabee -- prior to dropping out -- was actually pushing bigotry (against gays) as public policy.
I'll have more faith in conservatives once I'm convinced they aren't all racist, sexist and bigoted. Please oh please will some conservative help convince me that bigotry is not part of the conservative agenda...?
Posted by E PLURIBUS UNUM, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2008 at 12:08 pm
Maureen Dowd in NYT has your answer---- quote
"With Obama saying the hour is upon us to elect a black man and Hillary saying the hour is upon us to elect a woman, the Democratic primary has become the ultimate nightmare of liberal identity politics. All the victimizations go tripping over each other and colliding, a competition of historical guilts.
People will have to choose which of America’s sins are greater, and which stain will have to be removed first...
And meanwhile, the conventional white man sits on the Republican side and enjoys the spectacle of the Democrats’ identity pileup and victim lock."
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2008 at 1:02 pm
You should read the first post on this blog ,quote,
"Our kids are encouraged to see the"Laramie Project" at school.
This play is a gross distortion of reality.
The matter was in fact a methamphetamine drug deal gone horribly wrong. It had nothing to do with hate.
This has been well documented by TV news and the gay activist Andrew Sullivan"
Posted by sara, a resident of East Palo Alto, on Mar 6, 2008 at 12:15 pm" end quote
While Matthew Shepards murder was a horrible crime it was not because of his sexual orientation but because of drugs.
"ABC's 20/20 report
In late 2004, ABC's Elizabeth Vargas conducted an investigation into the murder for the television program 20/20. Though Vargas primarily relied on personal interviews with people involved with the matter, the report was billed as exploring "New Details Emerging in the Matthew Shepard Murder." At the forefront was the possibility that the murder had in fact been motivated by drugs rather than Shepard's sexual orientation."
The " Laramie Project" is in fact abject false propaganda.
It is a cynical attempt to indoctrinate our innocent children with false stories designed to manipulate emotions claim pretend victim hood and create false guilt.
Posted by A Moderate, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2008 at 1:05 pm
When will liberals in Palo Alto:
1. Start insisting that our schools obey the State Education Code, and start reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in home room every morning?
2. Start encouraging their kids to join the military...so that poor kids are not left holding most of the burden?
3. Reject identity politics based on race and gender? The current presidential campaign by Hillary and Barack is a real insight into the liberal mindset.
4. Reject affirmative action that discriminates against people, based on their skin color?
5. Give any hint of dignity to the unborn child (wanted or unwanted)?
6. Support private property rights?
7. Support expansion of this country's energy supplies, by allowing driiling for oil off our coasts and ANWAR; why are they stopping nuclear power? They will not be left in the dark and cold, just the poor people. Their attitude is "who cares, I've got mine?".
8. Support defense of our national borders? How can they even pretend to support the law, when they establish "sanctuary cities"?
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2008 at 3:46 pm
Where has anyone suggested discussing divisions all the time and everywhere? The objection seems to be it being discussed at all.
Surely, there's a point of balance?
1. I don't think "under God" (or any other deity) should be in anything required by the state education code. The Supreme Court hightailed away from actually making a decision on the issue. So, basically you're asking for enforcement of what is arguably an unconstitutional law.
2. When we have a government that quits misusing the military. Why should I provide my flesh and blood for an immoral and illegal war? In fact, I wouldn't encourage anyone's enlistment at this time. When a cause is just, people will enlist. My father enlisted in WWII (and, yes, he was a liberal.)
3. I'd say the lack of women and any non-whites on the Republican side is even more revealing. What have you guys got against most of the population?
4. Quotas went out with Bakke. So what AA are you actually talking about?
5. When will right-wingers grant people the right to make their own private medical decisions? The ugly thing about late-term abortions is that they're the tragic ones--parents realizing that their wanted child won't survive or the very young teen-age girl trying to pretend to herself and everyone that she's not pregnant. How the hell can you presume that *you* know what's right for everyone?
6. Liberals do--just not to the exclusion of everything else. But then the same is true of conservatives.
7. There are no easy energy solutions--you want short-term benefits despite long-term disasters. But, hey, I hear there's some cheap land near Chernobyl.
8. Why is that our "conservative" administration is incapable of enforcing the border laws we do have? You're making a mistake here, by the way--the immigration issue doesn't fall neatly down the liberal/conservative paradigm. Corporations (particularly big agriculture) benefits from illegal immigration. It keeps down labor costs. And that's why our immigration laws have not been well-enforced for several years.
Now, "Moderate"--can you actually counter any of this with some kind of counterpoint? Or are you going to not actually stand up for anything? (It takes more guts to actually defend a point-of-view instead of just attacking someone else's.)
Just out of curiosity, do you actually try to understand the views of people who disagree with you? I mean, I've always made a point of learning about opposing viewpoints so that I can make better decisions.
For example, I'll probably read up on Matthew Shepard and see how solid the evidence is for it being a drug deal gone bad v. a hate crime. Who said what and why. (I wouldn't rule out both being true to some extent--drug deal gone bad with hate-crime elements--wasn't the kid strung up on a fence?
Posted by Peter, a resident of another community, on Mar 7, 2008 at 7:40 pm
Re the 20/20 report -- via Wikipedia: ABC's 20/20 report
In late 2004, ABC's Elizabeth Vargas conducted an investigation into the murder for the television program 20/20. Though Vargas primarily relied on personal interviews with people involved with the matter, the report was billed as exploring "New Details Emerging in the Matthew Shepard Murder." At the forefront was the possibility that the murder had in fact been motivated by drugs rather than Shepard's sexual orientation. McKinney, Henderson and Kristen Price (McKinney's girlfriend) claimed in these interviews that the attack was a result of heavy drug use, a robbery and a beating gone awry. Price, in her interview with Vargas, ultimately openly remarked: "I do not think it was a hate crime at all. I never did." This statement contradicted Price's first interview with "20/20" in 1998, wherein she said (of McKinney and Henderson's attack): "They just wanted to beat him bad enough to teach him a lesson, not to come on to straight people, and don’t be aggressive about it anymore,”. In the report, Price and McKinney's long-time friend Tom O'Conner, on whose property Mckinney and Price once lived, also stated that they believed McKinney was bisexual. However, when Vargas asked McKinney whether he had ever had a sexual experience with another male, he said that he had not.
Retired Police Chief of Laramie, Commander Dave O'Malley — who was also interviewed by ABC and criticized the 20/20 report — pointed out that the drug motive does not necessarily disqualify the anti-gay motive: “My feelings have been that the initial contact was probably motivated by robbery because they needed money. What they got was $20 and a pair of shoes ... then something changed and changed profoundly... But, we will never, ever know because Matt’s dead and I don’t trust what [McKinney and Henderson] said.”
Posted by A Moderate, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2008 at 9:44 pm
1. The "under God" part of the Pledage is not the real issue. It is the 'I pledge allegience to the flag" part that is so disturbing to Palo Alto liberals. Either way, PAUSD is in violation of the California State Education Code. Has been for many years, long before the challenge about "God" was brought forth. PA liberals are not patriotic...they think it is a refuge for fools (and they definitely think they are not fools). What a foolish attitude!
2. Your notion of voluntary military serivce is, on the face of it, similar to Barry Goldwater, a conservative. However, there is one big difference. Goldwater simply thought that all Americans should be willing to fight for their country. He did not slice and dice the various wars. Using your approach, the U.S. population could have decided whether to fight Japan (after Pearl Harbor) AND/OR Germany (which did not attack us). We could then decide if we wanted to join the anti-Japan vs. the anti-Germany U.S. military branch, or avoid all military service, becasue we thought the entire thing was immoral. Old Roosevelt would not have heard of it. He was Commander in Chief, and you had better understand that, or he would put you in prison. Same for Linclon. My grandfather, an Irish nationalist, was a big supporter of Joe Kennedy, who was actively undermining Roosevelt, in order to defeat Churchill. Gramps was a good grandpa, but his ethics were as messed as yours, OhlonePar.
3. I cannot answer for Republicans, since I am not one. However, I do remember the lynching of Clarence Thomas by the liberals. Very ugly business. I believe that the Republicans nominated him to the Supreme Court, where he now sits. They also promoted Colin Powell and Ms. Rice. In fact, there are a number of black conservatives and moderates who are villified by the liberals, for example Thomas Sowell. The mere notion of a black person holding non-liberal views is a hate crime to liberals.
4. It took a court challenge by Bakke to slow down the liberal bias machine. However, it did not kill it. Affirmative action has taken other forms, but it is still the same biased beast. If the 2010 census has a category asking for racial self-identification, you will know that such liberal biases have not disappeared.
5. Abortion. I support choice. However, I also respect those who respect the unborn child, and logically conclude that it is untenable to kill that child. This is not an easy one, in my opinion. Liberals only think about choice, not the unborn child. They (liberals) need to at lest consider the ramifications of abortion. There was a program on NPR a few weeks ago about repressed guilt by those women (and men) who had done abortions, even though they thought little of it at the time. The chicks come home to roost, sometimes.
6. Private property rights: Liberals are much more willing to engage in takings of private property than are conservatives or moderates. Not even a close call. You been smoking something, OhlonePar?
7. Energy: I don't get what you are saying. Energy is what makes this country run. Why are liberals against it?
8. The border: I agree with you on this one. The rich guys want cheap and illegal labor. The liberals want illegal voters. I want a country that secures its borders.
OhlonePar, I think I have just countered your counter. It didn't take guts on my part...just a few minutes of my time.
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2008 at 10:24 pm
1. Assertion without evidence. You are not a liberal by your own admission, so you are unqualified to speak for them. So, basically, it's an unfounded smear job.
2. Roosevelt, unlike Bush, actually had an act of war declared. We've never declared war on Iraq. Bush works for me. I don't work for him. I'm not his subject.
3. Clarence Thomas was not lynched. You're using loaded languaged that was not justified by the events. He is a uniquely unqualified justice, by the way. There's a reason he doesn't write any of the decisions. I suspect that's part of the reason he's still so pissed off. He has this position of great power and he still gets no respect--from either side. For good reason, unfortunately. Just not a great judicial mind.
But, anyway, you're evading the basic issue--which is why are all the GOP candidates white males and nothing but? You're not talking about anyone actually running for office. Making claims about generic "liberals" doesn't change this.
4. Your lack of specifics is telling. You were asked for specifics--no credit for a non-answer here.
5. Now you support choice. Along with another sweeping statement about "liberals". Again, you're not one, so why are you in a position to say how they all think? People feel all sorts of ways--doesn't mean that it shouldn't be a private medical decision. Or that they have to feel a particular way. Would you feel better or worse knowing that plenty of women feel relief instead of guilt? Others feel deeply sad because the amnio shows fatal genetic abnormalities. Are those people okay with you? Because they feel suitably bad? You speak of dignity--what about the dignity of making a private medical decision?
6. Assertion, again, without support. Along with (mild) personal attack. Some of the biggest historic landgrabs (Spanish-American War) have been under Republican Administrations. When did we sign the deeds for Iraq anyway?
7. I've argued this elsewhere--so look it up. We don't have a good way of handling nuclear waste and its 25,000-year half life. All energy is not created equal, basically. I don't think there's one single answer and not an easy one. At the same time, we're hampered because for the last several years we've had an administration with no distance between itself and the oil companies. There's been a loss of balance here.
8. Illegal voters? C'mon--we have a citizen requirement here--and if you know any immigrants, the process takes forever. Think back--immigration wasn't a hot issue under Clinton--there was some reasonable enforcement at that time. (It was an issue under Carter, however.)
The liberal view is actually split on immigration--there's the poor immigrant human suffering group and the protect-the-jobs-of-American-workers group. Split on the conservative side as well--so, there's no point in bashing on this. You'll find people who agree and disagree with you on either side of the spectrum.
Countered? Nah, just some accusations and unsupported claims. You get credit for turning down the rhetoric on abortion and immigration, but anytime you claim "liberals think this" followed with a smear on their collective character, you lose points. The left is hardly monolithic--part of the nature of the beast. Demonizing the views of people with whom you disagree is counterproductive.
Admittedly, it's a little hard for libertarian/conservative types these days--ya wanna be Republicans, but the GOP's a bit of a trainwreck and some of the stuff is very alien to the libertarian types. (How do I know? I talk to all sides.)
Posted by Gay Parent, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2008 at 11:08 am
I feel the main point of this thread has severely gone askew. remember this is about the event: Not in Our Town' event to explore diversity
There are problems with race and diversity everywhere. Although my partner and I have had no issues here in Palo Alto, we hear the kids calling each other "faggot" and "nigger" all the time without thinking about how these derogatory words affect others. I hear my own son saying these words and I always have to point out that he has a gay mother and a biracial sister. Even at 15, he is not thinking about his words. One part of diversity is helping people think about their words.
The workshop will be noon-5:30 p.m. March 13 at the Palo Alto Art Center. It is being sponsored by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the Palo Alto and Mountain View human relations commissions, the Network for a Hate-Free Community, the ACLU-Midpeninsula Chapter and the Palo Alto Art Center.
The event is open to the public but space is limited and people need to call Erika at 510-268-9675 ext. 310 to reserve a place.
There are gay and lesbian kids at Paly and Gunn who don't dare come out of the closet, for fear of retribution. There are also kids at Paly and Gunn who have gay, lesbian, and transgendered parents who feel embarrassed and hide their parents (this is more than the normal "gosh, my parents are so embarrassing"). Kids take on their parents beliefs and if we don't change this mindset early, we all lose. We need to teach tolerance for all of our differences: political, religious, racial, cultural ....
We are all different and I say "thank god". By educating ourselves about other people doesn't mean we take on their ideals ... all it means is that we're willing to try to understand our differences and accept them. Learning about diversity means trying to learn about another group of people who look or believe in something different. It's not like you're going to become gay if you meet gay people and learn how our lifestyle looks a lot like yours. Diversity is about all people, even you reading this right now.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2008 at 11:17 am
Thank you for your thoughtful comments.
I would like to add to those "in the closet high school students" a warning. My daughter when she was at Paly had a friend who thought she was gay and came out much to the obvious chagrin of those around her. Now it appears she has rethought because she is living straight with a nice guy in a loving relationship. During high school she went through some hard emotional issues due to her parents divorcing and this was her way with dealing with this stress. I have no idea of her thoughts on this issue, but looking from the outside my thoughts are that she was trying to get some attention when her parents weren't giving her what she needed.
Sometimes those in high school really are gay, and sometimes they are confused. When they "come out" it is sometimes with a desire to shock and rock the boat, rather than anything else.
Posted by parent, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Mar 8, 2008 at 1:24 pm
I agree it is appropriate to make sure gay kids at Paly and Gunn are supported and feel as secure as any typical high school student (which often isn't very much in reality). In our experience gay students feel quite secure and they are the most outspoken on campus. Personally, I feel that one's sexuality in high school is a private matter not to be put on display one way or the other.
Posted by sue, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2008 at 1:54 pm
My concern is that Gay activist are using fiction like the Laramie Project to promote homosexuality as a viable life style equivalent to heterosexuality.
This needs to be balanced by the facts.
The life expectancy for male gays is 14 to 20 years less than for hetero males.
Male gays have not changed their high risk behaviors re AIDS, STDs, drugs etc. The rest of us have to pay the health care costs of their irresponsible behavior.
the latest gay epidemic is of particular concern because it is spread through casual contact:
Sexually active gay men are much more likely than others to be infected by a highly resistant strain of staph bacteria, warns a study led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
The scientists analyzed patient medical charts and found that sexually active gay men in San Francisco are about 13 time more likely to be infected with multidrug-resistant, community-associated MRSA bacteria than people in the general population.
Overall, about one in 3,800 people in San Francisco is infected with this very potent strain of MRSA.
The findings were published in the Jan. 14 early online edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
"These multi-drug resistant infections often affect gay men at body sites in which skin-to-skin contact occurs during sexual activities," lead author Binh Diep, a UCSF postdoctoral scientist at San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center, said in a prepared statement.
"But because the bacteria can be spread by more casual contact, we are also very concerned about a potential spread of this strain into the general population," Diep said.
MRSA invades skin and tissue beneath the skin, causing abscesses and ulcerations that can turn into life-threatening infections. In people who become infected, prompt diagnosis and treatment are crucial.
Diep said a thorough scrubbing with soap and water may be the most effective way to prevent skin-to-skin transmission, especially after sex.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about MRSA.
SOURCE: University of California, San Francisco, news release, Jan. 14, 2008
Rather than preaching to the 95% of the population who are not gay, gay activists should focus upon the 5% whoes behavior acts as vectors for serious public health epidemics.
Posted by Katie, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2008 at 2:31 pm
My son, to my shock, announced that he believed in plural marriage. He followed through on this conviction, although he is only legally married to one woman. He has three other wives, but they are not "official". This all happened in the last 25 years. My husband rejected our son from the start of this path. I was tempted to do so, too, but I decided to listen to my son's views. I didn't agree, but I wanted what was best for my son, and his wives.
I must say that I have been happily surprised. I now have 17 beautiful granchildren, ten great grandchildren and four daughters-in-law that appear, to me, to be happier in their marriage than I was in mine. My son in not Mormon. He is just a free thinker.
I would hope that any discussion of "not in our town" would support plural marriage among consenting adults. It is not a bad thing, even though it has many bigoted opponents. I know, becasue I was once one of them. My husband died with this bigotry, and it prevented him from knowing and appreciating his only son, as an adult.
My daughter initially rejected her brother, but she is now quite close to him. Her kids played with his kids on vacations, and they really hit it off. She is part of a monagmous marriage, but she had told me that she would not discourage her daughters from becoming part of a plural marriage, with the right guy.
Posted by Sad for my son, a resident of Stanford, on Mar 8, 2008 at 8:42 pm
As I sit here, having just read these astonishingly candid attacks on tolerance, I simply want to cry. My son is gay. He did not choose to be gay. He does not enjoy being teased. He does not enjoy being tormented. But he is secure enough in who he is to not hide that which so many of you so clearly fear and/or hate. My son has been the victim of very specific attacks in the Palo Alto schools as a result of his sexual orientation. Do not for a second pretend that these hate crimes (and they were hate crimes) do not exist in Palo Alto. They do. Homophobia remains a monstrous problem in the public school. But it is unambiguous to me from where it comes. These posts make clear to me that we are a long way from tolerance. Many of those who have posted above are clearly teaching the very behaviors of which my son has become a victim. Shame on them. And thank goodness for programs like "Not In Our Town" which try to address these problems.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2008 at 3:10 pm
Sad for my son, Very well said. Frankly, PAUSD should create an ABSOLUTE "no tolerance" policy for hate slurs. This should be an intense campaign that both educates or kids, and severely punishes those who continue violate the tenets of a civilized society while they are in school.
Recently, I've seen and heard enough of these hate remarks, made by kids who are as young as five. It has to stop, and it will only stop if there is political will to make it stop.
My suggestion for punishment would be *immediate* suspension from school, for a period of five days, accompanied by compulsory sensitivity education. If there is even ONE repeat offense after that, *immediate* and *permanent* expulsion should be warranted.
All human beings are prejudiced, in one way or another. Very good research has shown that to be true. Civil societies are about controlling impulses that have a corrosive or destructive effect on the fabric of those societies.
We are all envious from time to time, but we have learned that there are penalties for theft; the same goes for anger leading to physical assault. We need to start thinking about the civil rights of all human beings in the same way - starting where kids are first socialized - in our schools. We must not tolerate, in any way, hate activities that let ignorance trump the right to respect of personal difference that *everyone* deserves.
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2008 at 9:37 pm
Immediate and permanent expulsion for using slurs? That's not much of a teaching moment. I don't really understand how that teaches tolerance. More like we approve of this behavior, but we don't approve of that behavior.
Kids say stupid and hurtful things--often without realizing the full consequences of what they've said. I'd rather see the kid who throws out slurs understand and learn than be thrown out of school.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2008 at 9:56 pm
OP, There needs to be a CLEAR message from the top that hate slurs will NOT be tolerated, period. Children from the age of 8-10 are plenty able to understand the following:
"If I, or anyone else, hears you saying the words (list words here) in a manner that attacks another person, puts another person down, etc. etc. on school property, you will be *immediately* suspended from school for five days. For those five days you will attend a special sensitivity training class, the last day of which attendance will be required by at least one of your parents. There will be homework assignments during this suspension period.
"If, following successful completion of this suspension period, any student continues to engage in hate speech behavior, they will be immediately expelled from school."
Superintendent of Schools
See, it isn't that hard. It's time that all leaders at the top of all organizations to draw the line.
There should be a NO TOLERANCE policy for hate speech in ALL environments. Violators should be given ONE opportunity to learn the rules, if they haven't understood the message. there should be ongoing efforts in all schools to increase awareness of the outrageousness of hate speech. After that, with repeat violators, the hammer comes down.
Either we mean what we say about hate speech, or we don't. Either it's forbidden, or it's not. There is no "in between" when it comes to the disgusting habit of using speech to destroy another human being. It has to stop, now.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2008 at 9:59 pm
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Just following his admitted instincts about (in)tolerance, I suggest that all socialist thought, mouthed by students, or their teachers, etc., be an appropriate basis for immediate expulsion. Why? Becasue the socialsit mantra has led to more mass murder than all other doctrines combined, in the entire recorded human history...and it only took one century to achieve this remarkable evil.
I, therefore, propose that PAUSD immediately expel any student or teacher or administrator that believes:
"From each according to ability, to each according to need".
This would be a real teaching moment, as well as a truly moral act.
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2008 at 11:34 pm
Sorry, what you propose is the greater of two evils. Denying a child an education because they said something you think is wrong is censorship.
Severe punishment such as permanent expulsion should be reserved for cases where the child is a danger to other children. It should be a last resort.
Swapping one kind of intolerance for another is not the answer.
Hate speech *is* a thorny issue for the courts just because some of what is deemed hate speech *is* protected by the First Amendment. What you propose, if it's in a public school, probably is unconstitutional.
And we're not even touching the issue of what is "hate speech" and who gets to define it. Boys and girls spend a good deal of their time in grade school making snide comments about the opposite sex. Is that hate speech? It's pretty sexist and adversarial. It can be very mean. You really want to kick kids out for that sort of thing?
By the way, for some idiotic reason I saw part of of a goofball reality show "Make Me a Supermodel" and, guess what, at what point one wannabe male model made some dumb anti-gay comments to his gay roommate. The roommate calmly and clearly confronted his roomie about it. Roomie listened and apologized. No Big Brother came down and threw wannabe model off the show, though Tyson Beckford grunted self-righteously and threateningly in his blog.
You know, if a couple of airhead models can handle this without weeklong sensitivity training, a big rulebook and threats of expulsion than so can we--without draconian measures.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2008 at 11:37 pm
Again, let's be clear. There is a community standard when is comes to understanding what "hate speech'' is. It's been tested in the courts. The challenge to stop the outrage of hate speech is out there. Let's see those at the top respond with a firm hand, as described above. I'm anxious to see real leadership taken on this issue.
How about a sign, PROMINENTLY DISPLAYED, in our junior and high schools?
"HATE SPEECH IS NOT TOLERATED ON THIS CAMPUS!" - followed by a list of penalties, as described, above.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2008 at 11:56 pm
OP: " Denying a child an education because they said something you think is wrong is censorship.
Severe punishment such as permanent expulsion should be reserved for cases where the child is a danger to other children. It should be a last resort."
OP, Who's denying hate speech offenders an education. We need to send them to a place where they can't do any harm. Get them out og the general population, and treat them as the deviants they are. Hate speech is a *crime*; treat it as such.
I see no room for tolerance on this issue. I have known kids who were the victims of hate speech; the damage done was permanent, and long-lasting. It's a violent act.
Our leadership has yet to take a serious and determined stand on this issue, and call hate speech what it is - mean, ignorant, unspeakable, vile, cruel, unnecessary, and unfitting a civilized person - - for starters.
Why haven't we heard this said, in as determined and ominous way as possible (in terms of warning against hate speech)?
I have occasion to be on 2-3 school campuses with some frequency, and I am frankly disgusted with watching some kids put others down in ways that are mean, and hurtful.
If an 8-10 year old (or older) student refuses to stop uttering hate speech after a suspension and sensitivity training, that child should be asked to leave the school environment, period. There are other places to get an education. Good students shouldn't have to put up with students who are harmful to their health.
I think you're forgetting about the cost of the damage done to the VICTIMS of hate speech. What about them? Why should I or any other taxpayer/person stand by and let ignorance rule, in the name of "tolerance"?
Why not go out and ask kids who are labeled with hate labels for the way they look, or behave? See what they think.
btw, I'm not talking about the usual mocking banter that many kids engage in (although cruel, and yet a sign of another kind of ignorance in the kids who do this). I'm speaking very specifically about using words like "gay", the "N" word, and other words that relate to race, gender, or sexual preference to demean another person. It has to stop.
I see no reason to show "tolerance" for speech acts that cause great harm or injury to others. Why should we permit a perpetrator who knows right from wrong to injure an innocent person with these specifically identified terms of hate speech? Why should we protect the perpetrator?
Send *repeat* perpetrators to special schools, or let their parents figure out how to educate them. I'm tired of watching innocent kids being bullied because of the way that they look, or act. Anything less than firm action - action that treats hate speech for the pathetic waste of human potential that it is, and causes - is waffling, and an encouragement to those who would persist in their ignorance, even after warnings and honest efforts to recondition their behavior.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2008 at 12:10 pm
"The issue is not violence or " hate speech " against our community,the issue is irresponsible behavior by members of our own community."
Thanks for that. Now tell me that a 13-year-old gay-identified male should just learn to laugh it off when he's mocked for nothing more than who he is, because he was born that way - - mocked in a way that exists for no other reason to make those ignorant about these realities to feel better about their own, insecure, selves. The same goes for attacks on gender and race.
Maybe you think that's OK, but I think it's abominable, especially when one considers the long-term costs to the victims, and society.
There's a real person-on-person problem with violence in the straight community, too. That doesn't mean that we ignore problems that are often directly related to that violence.
Posted by Jimmy, a resident of the Southgate neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2008 at 1:15 pm
The problem with Mike's formulation of this problem, along with all such "hate speech" proposals, is that the hurt suffered by a 13 year old would be there whether the mocking were because he was gay, because he was fat, or because she was a nerdy academic.
I'm unsure of wether it's a good idea to try to outlaw adolescent cruelty, but if the aim is to protect the victims of such cruelty, it seems silly to single out some classes of victimhood for protection and let the bulliers of non-protected victims off.
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2008 at 1:29 pm
We are now getting into the same territory as the recent bullying in middle school thread. Bullying is bullying whether it is over moral issues, or more traditional school issues. The class nerd, telltale, glasswearer, poor at sports, overweight, should be treated the same. Trying to differentiate between them is not going to work in a middle school or even high school setting. Bullying is bullying regardless of the reason why.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2008 at 2:38 pm
OP: "When you write that permanent expulsion should be the punishment for a second "verbal" offense--then, yes, you're denying a child an education."
We don't agree. There are alternative places to educate miscreants.
As far as bullying, in general. I feel the same way about that. All students should be made aware of school rules (and parents, too).
Consequences for consistently bad behavior should be clearly laid out. you say "I see nothing around here that indicates that slurs are such a terrible problem that we need to throw kids out of school if they call someone "fag" twice."
Well, we're far apart on that point.
If a 12 year old student is told in very clear language that there is a NO TOLERANCE policy re: hate speech, and that after that student has been suspended and spent time in sensitivity training to learn new behaviors, that student again violates the rule, that's that student's (and that student's parent/guardian) responsibility to deal with the problem. There are other places for that student to go. Get them away from people that they seem bound and determined to emotionally damage.
If someone uses hate speech, and after a suspension and sensitivity training cannot manage to keep from repeating that offense, the consequence should be isolation from the general population so that they can't do any more harm.
The same goes for consistent bullying.
As well, and more importantly, we should be teaching our kids from kindergarten, with age appropriate materials, very simple techniques of cognitive adaptation to personal distortions (cognitive distortions) that let bullying and hate speech cause their respective negative impacts.
This latter effort is FAR more important than isolating miscreants, but until the latter effort is implemented I see no alternative to expulsion after sufficient warning and attempts at redirecting and improving behavior (and given what we know about cognitive distortion, it's a tragedy that we don't have this sort of thing in place, in very aggressive ways).
What I'm not hearing from you is concern about the victims of hate speech. I know you're not an insensitive person - few people are. That said, I don't see how we can blithely discount the damage that even one hate insult like that can have on a kid.
Somehow, in this culture, we have become inured to a lot of hate speech and bullying. I see it every day. This is a situation that is getting worse, and tearing more and more at the fabric of community.
Again, their is NO PLACE for this kind of behavior in the workplace, in neighborhoods, in politics, etc. There should be no place for it in the schools. No excuses. With due respect, vacillation about this seems a failure to see the victim's side of this problem. The latter is my concern.
Once someone has been publicly smeared with hate speech - especially a kid - the damage has been done. Those victims don't get a second chance to "not hear" or experience the attack. Giving perpetrators a second chance is more than kind, and quite enough.
Posted by jj, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2008 at 3:19 pm
Ohlone, not all Americans are of mixed blood, and multiculturalism refers to an ideology, not to inter-racial reproduction.
"Oh, really--I'd say the fact that Americans are nearly all of mixed blood and getting more so every generation make the mix and match a success. It's quite different than Europe, where different ethnic groups have managed to self-segregate to an amazing degree."
"What do you do, for example, if you're a Jewish parent with relatives killed in the Holocaust? Do you not tell your kids about this? How can you not? What if you're the parent of that Jewish child's non-Jewish friend? How do you deal with it when your child asks if Christians are against Jews? Do you say no, while ignoring the long history of anti-semitism and the ongoing issues in the Middle East?"
What do the actions of hitler and stalin have to do with Christianity? I would expect any thinking person to understand that the Holocaust affected many more gentiles than Jews and present the question not as one of religious persecution but as the convictions of two powerful national leaders. Even Hitler himself stated, in writing, that there was no religious component to the development of the Jews as a target and source for nationalistic fervor.
Posted by a local dyke neo-con, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2008 at 3:47 pm
I just wish we could keep it simple...if you don't have something nice to say, don't say it.
Once you start defining what is hate speech and what isn't, it becomes horribly thorny and brings up a basic freedom of speech issue.
If I say "I think Republicans are nasty people". Is that hate speech worthy of censure? If I say "I think women aren't capable of being in the front lines of battle" is that hate speech? If I say "I think gays are promiscuous", is that hate speech?
If you said no to the first and yes to the second, what is the difference? They are both opinions, protected by our free speech laws. I would make more examples, but I can only use those three because they apply to who I am.
THAT is why I am against "hate speech" laws.
By the way, some of DO have the choice to be as happy committed to spending our lives with one gender or as to another, and see our commitment based more on who the person is, not on their gender. It isn't always a "born that way". But, in my experience, I can say that the vast majority of lesbians and gay men I have known could no more imagine being with an opposite gender person than the vast majority of straight people could imagine being with a same gender.
I really have to thank gay MD for telling the truth. I see the same thing among my friends who have bought into this "I can't help it, I am born this way so I have to fall into bed with whoever attracts my eye". Unfortunately, in going through the very difficult shedding process that is necessary to accept yourself and come out, I think a lot of us shed the "good values" part of what we know to be true also.
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2008 at 4:30 pm
There is a way of disagreeing with someone without being hateful. I do not have to agree with everyone, but I can be polite when I disagree.
This is a useful lesson for children to learn and adults also. I can disagree with someone's choices, but it doesn't mean that I have to be rude, intolerant or hateful. Bullying in school is usually done by kids who have no idea what they are talking about, or if they do it is because they have been half taught a lesson they are not mature enough to hear. If we teach our children to be tolerant through our own behavior, then they will get the message.
And, for most 13 year olds, there is no difference between any type of bullying behavior. They see things much more black and white than we do (and I am not talking about racial black and white).
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2008 at 4:58 pm
Parent: "And, for most 13 year olds, there is no difference between any type of bullying behavior. They see things much more black and white than we do (and I am not talking about racial black and white)."
Then it's up to us to teach them the difference, and lead by enforcing the rules that come out of that difference. The buck has to stop somewhere.
Posted by SHN, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2008 at 10:05 pm
I am sick of whiny conservatives who think they are so oppressed in this town. You know the kind of person who shows up to church five or six times a year and then moans about how anti-Christian this place is. Or who is a republican who feels his kid is persecuted because the other students talk about how their parents think that Bush is bad president. Let these people be black or latino for a few weeks and see if they like how their kids are treated when they shop at Piazza's by themselves.
Posted by shy, but gotta say this..., a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2008 at 10:59 pm
try being an "out" conservative lesbian latina at Stanford!!
Now THAT is persecuted! Actually, the only ones who treat me badly, frankly, are people who find out I supported Bush and Iraq, and I go to church, AND I believe in monogamous, loving relationships and I don't need to have the "marriage" word to bless it!
It is a little tough for me to find friends. I say I am a lesbian or that my partner is "Mary" ( making up the name), and people are all "oohh, tell me more!". I say that I voted for Bush or that I want to shut down the borders so only LEGALS come across, and it is like I have lit a cross on the front lawn!
I find that the more to the left a person is, the less tolerant she is. Almost like brainwashed or something.
That is what worries me about where the speech thing is going. Frankly, I am worried about being in a university where I am actually afraid to say out loud my beliefs...
Posted by Lacy, a resident of the Evergreen Park neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2008 at 6:43 am
Too bad those who want to ban "hate speech" don't seem to care much about people like "shy...".
People persecute others for all sorts of reasons: as shy points out, it hurts just as much when you have to hide your political beliefs as when you have to keep your sexuality in the closet. And the left is no better (maybe worse than) the right when it comes to tolerance.
We're much better with freedom of speech on all sides. Otherwise, with people like Mike of College Terrace, despite the rhetoric it's really just a matter of whose ox is gored.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2008 at 9:26 am
Lacy: "it hurts just as much when you have to hide your political beliefs as when you have to keep your sexuality in the closet"
I doubt that Lacy understands the conflicts that one has to endure when something as *essential* as sexual preference or race is used as a tool to keep one down.
There's a chasm of a difference between being the subject of gender discrimination, and having someone reject you for a political preference.
It's very, very interesting to read some of the posters on this thread; the one's who criticize my stance re: hate speech, doing everything they can to denigrate my person - and, at the same time, find ways to *not* agree with the law of their land. This group seems to have an agenda that rejects the FACT that we do have laws against hate speech. They don't seem to like that, and have come forward with arguments to make claims that simple disagreement about political preference are just as bad as hate speech. Not so.
btw, I can understand "shy" (above), in her frustration re: the perception of her political stance, but that frustration is comes only after she feels safe enough to let it her sexual preference be known in public.
"shy" is more a victim of stereotyping than anything else at this point. My hat's off to her for standing her ground and defending her political positions. However, her frustration is not a result of hate speech; it's a result of assumptions made by individuals who aren't thinking at the moment.
Posted by Dallas, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2008 at 11:52 am
" FACT that we do have laws against hate speech".
It's unclear if this poster knows what he's talking about. The fact actually is that "hate" speech has as much constitutional protection as other forms of speech.
Employers may regulate what employees say on the job in certain circumstances, and colleges may (possibly) be able to regulate what their students say on campus. Similarly, hateful utterances may serve as evidence where a crime has been committed, and may even serve to enhance punishment in a "hate crime,", speech itself unaccompanied by threats or other factors that make it more than speech, no matter how "hateful" isn't against the law...nor should it be.
Posted by Dallas, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2008 at 11:55 am
"There's a chasm of a difference between being the subject of gender discrimination, and having someone reject you for a political preference."
That doesn't seem to be the opinion of shy who has suffered both kinds of rejection. It is always amusing to see people who think they know more about the sufferings of victims of persecution than the victims themselves. Kind of insultingly paternalistic when you think about it.
Posted by Pam, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2008 at 12:22 pm
Lest anyone think that the criticism of "hate speech" laws is a conservative trope, as repeatedly suggested by Mike of College Terrace, this link to the ACLU website Web Link is a useful specifically targeted counterpoint to advocacy of censorship on "hate" grounds.
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2008 at 1:18 pm
"Basic freedoms"? Sorry, nobody has the freedom to deny a person a sense of belonging to community based solely on how that person looks, or what their sexual preference is."
Sure they do. It's freedom of association. I don't have to be married to someone who doesn't share my sexual orientation. Sororities, like it or not, get to choose their members.
It's astonishing, really, how willing you are to trample some rights in order to protect others.
I'm sorry you have such issues with the First Amendment. Perhaps you need some grounding in the arguments for free speech--it is through the exchange of ideas (yes, including bad ones) that we can find the truth.
Which is something that even wannabe models understand. You, on the other hand, are basically saying that the ideas of which you don't approve should not be expressed.
Why not? Do you believe people can't be persuaded? Do you believe kids are so fixed in their behavior that any bigotry is fixed forever? Well, unless they go through five days of indoctrination?
Anti-semitism way predates Hitler and Stalin, thus why it was so useful to them. Without question, the Holocaust affected a much higher percentage of Jews than it did other groups, with the possible exception of the gypsies.
Pogroms; laws that forbid Jews to own property; the 13th century diaspora in Spain--the history of anti-semitism in Europes goes back a long ways.
By the way, I am a bona-fide liberal--though my left emphasis has a big individual rights component. I guarantee you that I've voted to the left on some issues of Mike simply because he's quite a bit more willing to hand over power to government--I'm sure that puts me to the left of him on any law and order issues.
Shy, vote how you want, but I reserve the right to disagree with you over Bush. Actually, at this point, I can't find people who support Bush--my GOP father-in-law re-registered as independent. I have self-stated conservative friends voting for McCain, but Bush? Even the ones who use "liberal" as a slur don't support Bush.
I mean, Bush's cronies like illegal immigration--it keeps down labor costs. Thus, there's less scrutiny of employers hiring illegals than there was under Clinton.
(okay, rant mode off--just want to put my ACLU lefty creds out there.)
Posted by Paly mom, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2008 at 1:34 pm
Cliques of girls or boys who gossip and spread rumors at school might make life miserable for some other students but it helps their popularity, according to a study of high school students.
They found that bullying and physical aggression helped popularity in the earlier grades but membership in physically aggressive cliques declined as children got older.
But membership in cliques where students gossiped, spread rumors and excluded others -- otherwise known as relational aggression -- remained constant and even increased the perceived popularity and social visibility of the students in cliques.
"A lot of popular kids may not be well liked, but they are relationally aggressive and their peers think that they are popular," researcher Casey Borch from the University of Alabama at Birmingham said in a statement.
He said "the mean girls' effect" suggests that girls behaved in this way more than boys.
The study, which will be published in a book "Modeling Dyadic and Interdependent Data in Developmental Research" later this year, also found that the divisions in race and ethnicity increased as the students aged.
In fourth grade about half of cliques were of mixed race and ethnicity, but by the 12th grade, nearly 90 percent of cliques were of only one race or ethnicity.
"This was even more surprising given the increasing ethnic diversity of the school system we studied over time. We did not expect to see the racial composition of the cliques to go from 50 percent mixed to just 10 percent," said Borch.
The study was based on researchers getting students to identify the cliques in their schools, the overtly aggressive classmates, and rating the cliques on popularity.
"Cliques aren't necessarily bad. It just depends on the kind of clique a child is in," said Borch.
Posted by E PLURIBUS UNUM, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2008 at 2:10 pm
Geraldine Ferraro on harmonious diversity among the Democrats
When the subject turned to Obama, Clinton’s rival for the Democratic Party nomination, Ferraro’s comments took on a decidedly bitter edge.
“I think what America feels about a woman becoming president takes a very secondary place to Obama’s campaign - to a kind of campaign that it would be hard for anyone to run against,” she said. “For one thing, you have the press, which has been uniquely hard on her. It’s been a very sexist media. Some just don’t like her. The others have gotten caught up in the Obama campaign.
“If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position,” she continued. “And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.”
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2008 at 4:03 pm
OP wrote: " I don't have to be married to someone who doesn't share my sexual orientation. Sororities, like it or not, get to choose their members."
You're correct, but rejection of persons in those circumstances is not understood in any way to comprise "hate speech". Freedom of association is one thing; freedom to be free of unlawful discrimination is quite another.
You can parse all you want; that doesn't change the fact that there is such a thing as hte speech, and we all need to take firm stands against it.
In fact, you claim that I am "willing to trample some rights in order to protect others". Please tell me what rights I am trampling. What are they?
Neither you or I, or anyone else in America has the "right" to engage in hate speech, which has been clearly defined by the courts.
One may, for instance, argue against the right of one or another race to have equal rights - as abhorrent as that would be, but you have no right to engage in using speech to directly attack a person or group of persons based on race. The same goes for sexual preference.
Your interpretation of the First Amendment is flawed. The free exchange of ideas is one thing, but when speech is used to attack certain categories of persons in a way that diminishes their freedom, that speech is outlawed.
Also, you are concocting a fantasy about my intentions. You say that I am "saying that the ideas of which you don't approve should not be expressed". Where did you get that idea?
I don't think someone is expressing an "idea" when they call someone the "n" word, or "gay" in a way that is meant to attack or insult. Perhaps you do. If the latter is the case, I suggest you take a full review of the tenets of the ACLU, or give up your card.
btw, kids are *not*fixed in their behavior; I know more about that kind of thing than you might suspect. That said, kids also learn right from wrong when they are exposed to good models, and firm boundaries are put in place that have clear consequences.
From all this, I see you and others continuing to evade the plight of the *victims* of free speech.
Perhaps you should speak to young gay-identified, or minority kids, who have been on the receiving end of hate speech, and see what they think.
Perhaps you approve of what you might define as the "innocent, youthful" exuberance of youth as they engage in banter that includes sexual orientation and racial slurs that tag certain groups with negative consequences.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
THere is no reason why a 13-year-old student should be permitted to utter hate speech in school. Further, with sufficient warning and remedial training, there should be no reason to accept a continuation of that behavior by anyone, anywhere.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Why not? Do you believe people can't be persuaded? Do you believe kids are so fixed in their behavior that any bigotry is fixed forever? Well, unless they go through five days of indoctrination?
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2008 at 5:00 pm
There is a big difference between the freedom to express one's speech in public and calling someone names to hurt them.
Anyone should be able to stand up in a public forum and respectfully give their opinions, stating why they think this, and open debate. It is also quite acceptable for those not wanting to hear this to walk away.
What is not acceptable is someone entering into a venue where a group of those of the opposite opinion are deliberating, with a view to interrupt or cause trouble.
When these two events get confused, problems arise. Which, is what we are seeing here.
If someone wishes to start a thread here with respectful comments about something that others do not agree with, then they have no reason to read that thread unless they want to comment respectfully. If they wish to start their own thread with the opposing point of view, then that is their right. If they respectfully wish to comment on the opposing view, that is their right. When hate and disrespect take over from respectful debate, the threshold is crossed.
Posted by First Amendment Lawyer, a resident of another community, on Mar 11, 2008 at 6:59 pm
"Neither you or I, or anyone else in America has the "right" to engage in hate speech, which has been clearly defined by the courts. "
"when speech is used to attack certain categories of persons in a way that diminishes their freedom, that speech is outlawed."
This person knows nothing about what he's spouting off about. In the first quote says the courts have defined hate speech, and that there is no right to engage in the practice. He cites no court case for this remarkably ignorant conclusion for very good reason. There is no such decision by any court. In fact, the most recent relevant U.S. Supreme Court decision on the matter, R.A.V vs St. Paul says the exact opposite of this. In that case, the Court specifically prohibited content based speech bans of the very type Mike of College Terrace is writing about. Web Link
In the second quote this pretend first amendment scholar says that hate speech is outlawed. He cites no such law - again for a very good reason. There likely are no such laws on the book and certainly are none on the books that are enforceable for the very reasons put forth in the cited case R.A.V.
It's nice to have free wheeling discussions here, but when you make bold assertions like this, it would be nice if you knew at least a little about what you're talking about. Clearly Mike of College Terrace does not.
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2008 at 9:40 pm
Thank you First Amendment Lawyer.
Please look at the First Amendment--it doesn't say a thing about speech having to be polite--only that Congress shall make no law abridging it.
The limitations on speech are very narrow--i.e. threats, slander--but opinion, in particular, is protected.
Do you even understand *why* we have that kind of protection?
You know, in a way, your lack of understanding here is kind of scary. It's the same kind of lack of reasoning that's used to justify torture (or pretend things like waterboarding aren't torture.)
The funny thing about rights is that they apply to the people we don't like and whose opinions we don't like as well as our own.
As for minorities and gays--why have none of the self-declared gays who've posted here supported you?
Think there might be a reason that nobody agrees with you here? I suppose it helps, in some ways, if you're a member of a group that's faced discrimination. You understand how laws can be used against you and to control you. Vague laws, in particular, can be flipped as the political climate changes and used for the opposite purpose that their makers intended.
Wise up, Mike. Don't hit the keyboard for a minute and think this through.
(By the wayy, it *is* kind of funny that the editors censored part of your post. I take it, given your views, that you approve and condone their oversight of you in this instance?)
Posted by Glad I'm Out, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2008 at 10:55 pm
First Amendment Lawyer writes:
"In the second quote this pretend first amendment scholar says that hate speech is outlawed. He cites no such law - again for a very good reason. There likely are no such laws on the book and certainly are none on the books that are enforceable for the very reasons put forth in the cited case R.A.V."
Signed into law Sept 22, 2004.
I guess our "First Amendment Lawyer" has been chasing ambulances.
Posted by jj, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 12, 2008 at 2:07 am
Glad Im out, you are SO confused on the law, I don't know where to start. You cited a PC section, but that section deals with hate *crimes*, not speech.
The operative section is "422.6. (a) No person, whether or not acting under color of law,
shall by force or threat of force, willfully injure, intimidate,
interfere with, oppress, or threaten any other person in the free
exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him or her
by the Constitution or laws of this state or by the Constitution or
laws of the United States in whole or in part because of one or more
of the actual or perceived characteristics of the victim listed in
subdivision (a) of Section 422.55."
This is about injuring, intimidating, interfering with, oppressing, or threatening...all illegal activities in and of themselves. This is not referring to "hate speech".
In fact, Id even go out on a limb here and say that this section would specifically NEVER apply to any kind of public school setting because the section states "free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him"
School for a non-emancipated minor is not "free exercise or enjoyment"; attendance at school is not voluntary, its mandatory, and it therefore is not "free".
Now, however, lets say for the sake of argument that the right or privilege being exercised is the freedom of speech. You can't cripple the free speech rights of one party to secure the free speech rights of another party. Both parties have the bilateral right to free speech. So if there is a gay student on campus discussing sexuality and morality, then certainly any other student is just as free to engage in speech taking an opposite, diametrically opposed stance.
So the gay student says "its moral, its okay, its the same as heterosexuality", and the straight student says "no, its an illness, its against God, its wrong", they are BOTH protected. now, if the straight kid holds up a sign that says "kill fags", thats different. But if holds up a sign that says "gays are going to hell", thats protected too. "god hates gays" is protected speech. Its rhetoric that states a religious opinion, and is thus protected. You can similarily express the idea that women belong in the home, barefoot and pregnant, or that blacks aren't as smart as Asians. There is nothing that is a crime against a person in these activities. This is the freedom of expression of personal belief.
Posted by jj, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 12, 2008 at 2:16 am
"So, you're saying it's OK that a bunch of middle-school boys equate the word "gay' with anything they consider a negative, or see as violating what *they* consider to be the norm in their world?"
Yep, that's perfectly ok. In fact, you have the right to use words with whatever meaning they have to you. If you want to speak in a foreign language thats fine too. Its protected. If you want to define marriage as "a union between a man and a man or a woman and a woman or a cat and another cat", thats also "ok".
See, you can't have it both ways. Words have one meaning in some contexts and when used by some people and a different meaning in another context or when used by some other people. Thats called "slang".
Or perhaps you'd like to outlaw slang too?
No more vernacular? No more "jargon"? Everyone must use Websters, definition one, or be hustled away by the Speech Gestapo.
Posted by jj, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 12, 2008 at 2:28 am
Ohlone, thanks for addressing my dissenting opinion. I understand what you're getting at, but you also made a point I didn't attempt to make when you mentioned "Without question, the Holocaust affected a much higher percentage of Jews than it did other groups, with the possible exception of the gypsies."
Yes. And you don't see the Gypsies making an industry off of the Holocaust. The phrase I've invented for this phenomenon is "Aint no business like Shoah business".
then you stated:
"Pogroms; laws that forbid Jews to own property; the 13th century diaspora in Spain--the history of anti-semitism in Europes goes back a long ways."
I think that is an EXCELLENT point! But, you covered this in your original post: you said "What if you're the parent of that Jewish child's non-Jewish friend? How do you deal with it when your child asks if Christians are against Jews? Do you say no, while ignoring the long history of anti-semitism and the ongoing issues in the Middle East?
These cultural divisions exist. Do we really move past them if we ignore the fact of their existence?"
I think you have NAILED it. These were historically significant CULTURAL DIVISIONS, (based in large part on the conflict between religions, which also forms the basis for so much of the war and death and suffering in the world, even today in the modern world) and the topic should be approached as such. Boiling it down to whether or not Christians are against Jews suggests to me that some preconceptions would have to be operating in the mind of anyone framing the issue that way. So if thats your child, I would start the conversation with an investigation into where that is coming from. I would hate to think that this is the kind of narrow mindedness that is getting packaged up and served as "education" to our kids.
Makes you really rethink the "home schooling" options, in any case, eh?
Posted by Christian, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 12, 2008 at 9:32 am
To those of you entering into discussion whether christians are against jews, you have to define both these terms.
Christianity as a religion has many ways of looking at it. When we hear of Christians in the middle east fighting other factions, we are talking about a cultural group of people.
Christianity can be defined as those following any of a number of denominations, e.g. Catholicism, Lutherism, Presbyterian, etc. as well as more difficult to describe eastern orthodox churches, mormonism, etc.
Christianity is also often used to describe evangelical Christians and that can take in a lot of different groups also.
Jews likewise is a term that can be cultural or political and again there can be degrees of nominal participation to orthodox participation as well as national identity for those who are also Israeli.
Therefore, before we get into any type of debate about Christians being against Jews, we have to look into what we are saying. It is like saying that Canadians are North Americans. The accuracy of the statement needs clarification. Any historical references need to be put into context, either by looking at ancient texts or by historical studies.
To clarify my own standing on this, as a Christian I do not have any problems with Jews. I do not object to their faith or practices and I will remind you all that Jesus Christ and the majority of his disciples were Jews. None of the early jewish or gentile Christians ever promoted any type of enmity between the two faiths. This can be discovered by reading the New Testament.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 12, 2008 at 4:20 pm
First Amendment lawyer : "So the gay student says "its moral, its okay, its the same as heterosexuality", and the straight student says "no, its an illness, its against God, its wrong", they are BOTH protected. ******now, if the straight kid holds up a sign that says "kill fags", thats different*****" (my emphasis)
My point all along, in spite of those who have attempted to exaggerate my position, and use their overbroad reasoning to protect harmful speech, is that when someone calls someone the "N" word, or the "G" word they are instigating a conflict. They are committing a violent act.
What does speech like that lead to? It leads to people getting lynched, and young lives destroyed though humiliation, etc. Deny that. I'm waiting.
I'm stunned to see people arguing for a continuation of race and sexual-oriented baiting behavior in public schools, where 99.9% of the perpetrators are *minors* who are supposed to follow rules of behavior that have been created by one's respective school district, where *adults* are supposed to be in charge.
Lawyers being the last word? Give me a break. The law comes from tacit subjective judgement, and is not fixed - it's *fluid*, just like society is fluid. The law doesn't make morality, but rather *follows* from morality. Perhaps if more attorneys followed THAT rule, we wouldn't be living in a country with more than 200 million handguns. [btw, I note that Anton "Strip Away American Rights" Scalia was the lead on the decision that FALawyer linked to - it figures]
What's especially interesting about this *entire* thread is that there is a pathetic disregard in all of it for the fate of young victims, in schools, of hate speech that is meant to humiliate, demean, and depersonalize.
What I see here is a group of people more concerned with the rights of offenders, than the rights of victims. Deny that.
You can parse the First Amendment all you want. I'm calling every one on this thread - every one who has failed to consider the plight of the *victims* of the kind of hate speech - on what I - *in my opinion* (said for the benefit of the editors) - is a stunning lack of consideration for those victims, with the seeming preference for hiding under so-called constitutional "rights" in lieu of seeing to it that local school policy makers take some action.
Why won't any one of you come out and say that it's NOT OK for a student to engage in casual gay bashing at school, or racial-baiting? And, that such actions should be come down on with a hammer?
I see this a LOT in our schools, and that's telling me that we might have a real *problem* of lax teaching of civil rights in the *homes* of many Palo Altans. [before you get all in a huff about my wanting to send the thought police into your homes, forget about it, because I'm not.]
The only thing I'm suggesting is that you take a good, long, hard look at your position, and consider that your inaction in supporting STRICTLY enforced rules of behavior that result in STRICT consequences for violation of those rules simply *elongates* the pain and suffering of young victims, and *reinforces* the sicking, ignorant acts of a certain few students who engage this behavior at will - with the only penalty being a trip to the counselor's office and a slap on the wrist. Maybe that's just Palo Alto, maybe it's in our DNA.
Your failure to argue AGAINST the sick behavior of race, gender, and sexual preference baiting, in favor of a strict adherence to the First Amendment in ways that permit behavior that *causes harm* to some individuals - with those individuals being largely minor and defenseless (in the public schools) - is an indictment against the high-and-mighty so-called "moral" stance that you're taking re: "rights", in general.
You're hiding your own inability or desire to *act* - to do what's necessary to protect *all* of our kids, under the flimsy rationales of some "first amendment attorney" who - like most attorneys - *sell* their knowledge, to support any position they damn well please.
Morality, a subjective enterprise for sure, I hope, has progressed a bit beyond that sad situation.
Posted by Legal Beagle, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Mar 12, 2008 at 6:32 pm
"the flimsy rationales of some "first amendment attorney" who - like most attorneys - *sell* their knowledge, to support any position they damn well please."
I don't know how First Amendment Lawyer *sells* his posting here, but I'm an attorney also, and until I find out how to get paid too, this is on the house:
First Amendment Attorney seems to have correctly stated the current state of the law in this area. American Law is significantly different from the laws of almost any place else when it comes to protection of speech rights. (In Canada, for example, bans on speech like Mike of College Terrace favors are in force all over the place - though not always with the felicitous results Mike seems to imagine.) Mike's complaint would seem better directed to the framers of the First Amendment, and to the Supreme Court justices who have upheld a fairly strict reading of the Amendment when it comes to free speech rights over the past two centuries. (I wonder if Mike liked the decision which struck down laws attempting to ban flag burning.)
Maybe Mike should study the U.S. Constitution and see if he can't understand why protecting speech we disagree with in the end protects us all from tyranny. If he can't, when he's studying the Constitution he'll see that the document provides a means of amendment which he can use to try to abolish the First Amendment. He'll have to convince a lot more of his fellow citizens of the wisdom of that than he's doing here if he is to be successful however.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 12, 2008 at 7:55 pm
Legal Beagle, [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Again, it's necessary to point out on this thread that everyone who has countered my argument has failed to mention, or consider, the victims of consciously delivered hate speech. To be clear, again, I'm not talking about speech that says "this or that lifestyle or race is dangerous", and making ian argument for that. I'm talking about speech that refers to gender, race, or sexual orientation - with such speech used, aggressively, to incite hurt and conflict in the recipient of said speech. It's speech used in a violent way, that keys in on gender, sexual orientation, or race.
Again, you can parse the first amendment all you want, but keep in mind that in doing so, in what I consider to be an ignorant (in the true sense of the word) promotion of hate speech, you are contributing to a set of community values that says "it's OK for someone to call your child a "dirty (expletive deleted)", or a _________, or a ____________ - - and go unpunished for that speech.
I have seen the harm that this kind of speech causes, and seen the wave of the hand dismissals, like those on this thread, that disregard the harm done by that speech.
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 12, 2008 at 8:55 pm
JJ and Christian,
The situation I described wasn't actually a hypothetical. The non-Jewish kid was mine. It had nothing to do with anything taught at school--Ohlone really keeps religious references out--I was once told this was because of a dust-up between some Christians and neo-Pagans, but that's hearsay.
But kids hear things and half-understand things. Evil is a historical fact--how then do you deal with it? How do you explain it so that your innocent kid processes it? How do you deal with this if you're a Jewish parent who lost family in the Holocaust? How do you explain to your kid that there are people who will hate you because you're Jewish--that there's a long history of this?
As for who was the greater victim--that doesn't interest me. Jews were persecuted and murdered in large numbers and that other mass killings have happened doesn't make the Holocaust any better. Any more than the slaughter in Rwanda makes the Killing Fields in Cambodia a non-issue. It's not a competition.
You're using the slippery slope fallacy. Any verbal dispute is a conflict and the huge majority of them don't escalate into physical violence. You've irritated lots of people here and you seem to still be of whole body.
Your other huge error here is that any opposition to anti-gay slurs must result in punitive behavior. It doesn't seem to even occur to you that kids can learn from their mistakes. Or for that matter that you can't simply divide people into victims and perps. Lots of cross-over and back-and-forth, Mike. Your views are very, very simple.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Where have I said I support gay-bashing? I have said that I don't think permanent expulsion is an appropriate punishment. Again this is an example of your splitting things into black and white. You're also assuming facts not in evidence--i.e. I never said that gay-bashing should go unpunished. I think your idea of suitable punishment is draconian (and ineffective.)
As for my telling the board any of this--I don't need to. Because, let's face it, the only person who seems to think that permanent expulsion is an appropriate response to racist or anti-gay comments by middle schoolers is *you*.
You claim to know all about the suffering of the victims--but we've had people in the victim categories post here and they don't agree with you.
I keep thinking of an old Avalon ballroom poster when I read you: Let the Baby Jesus open your Mind and shut your Mouth.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 12, 2008 at 9:42 pm
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
"Where have I said I support gay-bashing?" You support it by not speaking out *decisively* against it. instead, you take the rather duplicitous position of saying "everyone does it", and "Lots of cross-over and back-and-forth", and so on. You could say the same thing about petty theft, against which there are strict codes of enforcement.
You make light of victims, by implication - as does everyone else on this thread that thinks its"ok" for a few repeat miscreants to go around using a word that identifies a biological determinant (homosexuality) as a slur. That's sad, and unfortunate, in what is supposed to be a "liberal" town.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
As for the people in the "victim" categories who have posted, let's just say that I don't know who they really are, and even if they're legit, I'm not going to let you, or them, get away with saying that this kind of should be gotten away with without severe consequences. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Instead, what I want to see (and it will come) is a clear message from the school superintendent and principals that says "if you do this (engage in very narrowly defined hate speech that is meant to demean), you're out for some period of time until you learn better, and if after that you violate the tenets of our school's moral code one more time, in this way, you're gone". That's where we disagree.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Mar 12, 2008 at 10:34 pm
"Gary, what American Court has outlawed socialist thought? Answer, please."
In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a New York state law (Feinberg laws) that prohibited communists from teaching in public schools. It has happened.
If mass murder is to be repudiated, than Palo Alto should hold a day of reckoning with its historical silence on, or support of, socialist thought. This gay-basing thing is trivial compared to the enormity of the crimes that have been committed by socilaists.
"Thank you to Father Stalin for depriving us of food. Our mother died of hunger and we ate her, our own dead mother. And after our mother we did not take pity on anyone"
Posted by Pele, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Mar 12, 2008 at 10:42 pm
Mike seems to confuse two issues.
1. It's fair to infer that most (probably all) people who've posted to this thread think that racial and gender epithets are morally wrong, and that it pollutes the culture when people utter ugly language of any kind, and that such language harms the victims about whom it's directed in many cases.
2. Despite our abhorence of "hate" speech, it is nontheless "speech" and so we can't legally ban it. Moreover, there's a lot of disagreement about whether we would want a system where the authorities could decide on what's acceptable speech and what's not.
There's no contradiction between disapproving of certain cagegories of speech and recognition that free speech is a cherished value in our society.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 12, 2008 at 11:03 pm
Pete: "There's no contradiction between disapproving of certain cagegories of speech and recognition that free speech is a cherished value in our society. So what's all the discussion about?"
It about a seeming unwillingness on the part of some to see hate speech as morally repugnant as it is, and for PAUSD officials to announce clear boundaries for hate speech, beyond the limits of which temporary suspension should result (with remediation), and if, after this first offense and some remediation, there is a second offense, the student is expelled.
This would go a LONG way toward establishing a community standard in our schools that outwardly reflects the "assumed" community standard that's implied in this community.
That said, after reading the poor excuses for avoiding aggressive inhibition of hate speech, one has to wonder if we have this as an implied community standard, or not.
It appears that some want to use the First Amendment to gut an implied community standard. That, in my opinion, is bankrupt morality. (and editor, please do not take this out, because it's essential to the point I'm trying to make - this is about stopping the trend toward "relative morality" re: hate speech, and the sad coddling of those who continue to use this kind of speech in our schools, unabated, in the absence of clear directives to do otherwise.
Either we respect difference, or we don't - there's no middle ground - especially middle ground based on loose enforcement of a community standard that is so loose that the standard might well as not, exist.
Posted by MIke, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 12, 2008 at 11:09 pm
btw, editor, there were no insults or slurs in my last two prior posts;how about letting long rationales alone, for those who want to read them (maybe one or two people). I know it's tempting to maintain a tight ship here, in order to mollify the trend toward shorter attention spans (btw, there's good research to support this), but you really should let the brilliance of my arguments shine through instead of truncating them to only a shell of their insightful former selves...moving on...
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 12, 2008 at 11:13 pm
Pete, Another way to put this. Do you give someone 6 months for armed robbery, or 6 years? If there's no punishment, there's no true deterrent for determined miscreants.
Certainly, we need to improve student education around this issue, but education alone will not stop the most persistent offenders; thus, the necessity for severe penalties. Al least I'm not calling for jail time. :) [btw, I meant to finish my last post with :0)
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 12, 2008 at 11:41 pm
No, it doesn't work that way. My disagreement with you over how to deal with gay-bashing does not mean I condone gay-bashing. A convenient logical fallacy on your part.
But let's use your "logic" and flip it for a moment. Why do you make light of children's education? Why do you think it's right that a child be denied a public education because that child said something you decided was wrong?
Why do you think so little of education? For that matter, shouldn't education be the means by which children learn *not* to be bigoted?
Your punishment would deny these children the possible cure for their bigotry.
And, yes, the First Amendment is far more important than your vague "community standard". Community standards in the past have included condoning slavery, the denial of women to have jobs, own property or vote, community standards have included the imprisonment of gays.
It is through, in part, freedom of speech that these "community standards" changed and evolved. It is through open discussion that minds are changed. It amazes me that I have to bother defending this in an online forum, frankly.
The most effective deterrents I've seen against bigotry are social. My kid doesn't make gay slurs, in part, because my kid has buddies with gay parents. Adults who make gay slurs around here tend to be not that socially accepted around here.
Attitudes regarding homosexuality have changed dramatically in the last 45 years--not because people who gay-bash have been put in jail, but because we've all become more familiar and comfortable with it. Persuasion, not force.
You don't seem to be believe that dialogue has any effect--and that kids will behave badly unless faced with severe punishment. Which makes me wonder why you bother to post in an onlline forum.
The editors, by the way, don't like comments they deem personal attacks. They took out a couple of mine that I wrote as semi-humorous, but whatever.
Posted by Ben W, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Mar 13, 2008 at 8:00 am
"Either we respect difference, or we don't - there's no middle ground - ..."
The dictatorial inflexibilty of this kind of thinking violates the standards of any community I would like to be a part of. I hope we aren't teaching our children to think in this rigid way. That would create many more victims than any schoolyard taunting ever could.
Mike seems to have a problem with the First Amendment. It's not that some "want to use the first amendment to ....". The First Amendment isn't a changeable tool. It's a priniciple. Perhaps that's why Mike has so much trouble with the concept.
Posted by Christian, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 13, 2008 at 8:50 am
I am sorry for your child, I didn't quite realise you were talking about a real situation rather than a hypothetical situation.
The way I have taught my children is that there are evil people all over the world regardless what religion they are and there are also good people all over the world of all sorts of religions. Sometimes people use their religion as a label and they decide that people with another label are their enemies. This has nothing to do with religion, it has to do with the minds of the evil people. They use their label as an excuse, not a reason.
I then point out in the Bible what Jesus actually said and did, not the people around him. Jesus loved all the people he came across and never said that one group was better than another. He looked at people's actions and often spoke against what they did, but always showed compassion for both those who were his friends (the disciples) and those who were his "enemies" (the Roman soldiers, the Samaritans, etc.) The Samaritans were a neighboring group of people who traditionally were not liked by the jewish people, but Jesus was very compassionate with them to the extent of helping the samaritan woman at the well at the beginning of John's gospel, and using a Samaritan in the parable of the good traveler looking after a victim of attack on the road after the other jews had passed by looking the other way.
I agree that explaining very unpleasant history to our kids is very difficult when emotions start coming in to play, but even Hitler himself said that his action against the jews was nothing to do with religion, so I am told.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 13, 2008 at 9:22 am
All along, my point has been that there should be NO tolerance for narrowly defined hate speech on PAUSD campuses. We're not talking here about the banter that passes back and forth between kids in a light moment (which in and of itself shows ignorance on their part, and poor breeding), as if they wouldn't be offended if some of them were call "blue eyes" in a way that attached negative qualities to that biological given. Not at all.
I'm talking here - and have been all along - about egregious use of speech to bash someone or put someone down.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
What really gets me is when you refer to the fact that it has taken the last half century for homosexuals and some racial minorities to gain some semblance of equality, but remove as part of the equation for making that equality real the strict consequences that were brought to bear by the courts to help remedy racial and sexual orientation bias. If it wasn't for the latter; if it wasn't for a change in the "law of the land", we would still be mired in those unfortunate days.
Ben W. "The First Amendment isn't a changeable tool. It's a priniciple"
You are completely missing the point. And what is your principle regarding the strict adherence to rules regarding the mouthing of egregious hate speech in the schools?
the first amendment is as much about "freedom OF speech" as it is about freedom FROM certain kinds of speech".
In time, we will see more action in this area, made by the courts. I am a moderate liberal, and love the contributions our Founding Fathers made, but I reject the use of the First Amendment as a tool (which, in this case you are using it as one, to avoid making firm commitments to stamp out hate speech, under cover of some misguided ultra-liberal agenda) is used to cause harm, and give otherwise good people an excuse to do NOTHING as they stand by and watch victims "wait" until community mores have sufficiently changed, while taking no action otherwise.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
And,, lest anyone here thinks I'm judging, I'm not. Rather, I'm pointing out what I see as a slow dissolution of common decency and respect, the far extreme of which seems to be the increased use of racial and other slurs by otherwise good kids because they have some idea that it's "cool" to say this stuff. It goes on unchallenged - other than a "hey, don't let me hear you say that again!". For some kids, that's enough to change behavior; for others, it's not. It's the latter group I'm talking about. And, that's why we need a NO TOLERANCE policy for hate speech in schools, so that the most egregious offenders, the ones who will not change their behavior because they have other problems, or are simply budding sociopaths, or because their parents are clueless, need to be REMOVED from the general population, so that kids who would otherwise be trampled on by hateful speech can feel that there is some limit to the abuse they have to take, and have recourse to address those abuses in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS.
Anything else is wishy-washy morality.
Last, I'm a BIG fan of positive reinforcement - shaping behavior with appropriate reward. It's not all about punishment, but there ARE times when punishment is necessary (not physical punishment). Expelling egregious offenders of hate speech standards is one of those times.
Posted by june, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Mar 13, 2008 at 12:13 pm
It is not in the interest of a multibillion-dollar global AIDS industry to endorse interventions that are low-cost and homegrown and that rely on simple behavior change rather than medical products or services provided by outside experts. And so the major donors of AIDS programs continue to do the same things, expecting different results. The authors of the Georgetown report reflect this popular but misguided opinion, despite mounting evidence to the contrary.
That’s a shame, for a report like Faith Communities Engage the HIV/AIDS Crisis offered an opportunity to rethink the failing group consensus and to point toward the central fact that has emerged from all the recent studies of the HIV epidemic: What the churches are called to do by their theology turns out to be what works best in AIDS prevention. Web Link
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 13, 2008 at 12:14 pm
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Isolating those kids in a "special" school? How is that supposed to teach tolerance? Hmmm, why does that remind me of, oh, segregation? And, oh, the opportunities to misuse and abuse the rules here are rampant.
As for the victims--well, you seem to assume there must be victims of hate crimes in Palo Alto schools. Weird thing is, no one's saying that there is.
Imaginary victims used to create a system of harsh penalties--gee, you don't even recognize that this sort of strategy is always used by dictators to take away rights. And while I'm a liberal, lots of people who disagree with you here are on the other side of the political spectrum. I'd say what we share is a realization that you don't want to entrust the government (or school district) with that sort of power.
Let's see, a kid's kind of bratty, maybe does poorly on tests--a couple of reports from the schoolyard from kids who don't like him--and out he goes. How do you even know it's true? You don't. How do you know that it wasn't a misunderstanding? You don't.
There are already restrictions on certain kinds of speech--slander, threats--I think they're sufficient.
You're wrong, by the way, about the courts and gay rights. The courts haven't been great for gay rights. The huge thing with gay rights has been simply getting laws that criminalize gay sexual behavior off the books. (An ongoing process) Most of the rest hasn't occurred through thought police, but a more tolerant society.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Again, the First Amendment has to apply to people whose speech you dislike. My reference to slavery is particuarly apt since speaking out against slavery was extremely unpopular in parts of the South--lots of people migrated to the midwest because they were made unwelcome because of their anti-slavery views in states such as Virginia. The Confederacy wanted to outlaw even *spoken* opposition to slavery.
And, of course, speech was the main tool of the abolitionists.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Mar 13, 2008 at 2:42 pm
"Issues of race, diversity and bias will be the focus of a "Not in Our Town" workshop "
This is the published topic, not gay bashing, per se. This is an example of the homosexual agenda taking over the larger agenda.
When the socialists in Russia decided to obliterate the Ukranians, through mass, designed, starvation, the socialists in this country were content with the "to make an omelette you need to break eggs". This pithy little saying is attributed to Walter Duranty, the New York Times reporter who was an egregious apologist for Stalin and socialism, more generally. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. There have been attempts to take away his Pulitzer, but they have failed, thus far. As a holocaust denier, he deserves our community opprobrium. He died in 1957, but it is not too late for Palo Alto to go on record as supporting the reveral of this Pulitzer for this disgusting man.
The first order of business, at the upcomming meeting, should be to take a vote, if only symbolic in nature, to support those who are trying to set the record straight on the socialist holocasut. This woud be much more meaningful, compared to whether a kid made a nasty remark in school.
It won't happen, trust me. Why? Becasue so many of those, who are part of this sordid affair, are of the socilaist stripe. They are content to deny the holocaust. It is the elephant in the room, but they prefer to be blind to it. It would be too painful to actually admit their own complicity. Besides, they still believe in the socialist agenda. If gay bashing and global warming, etc., can further their agenda, they will use them.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 13, 2008 at 2:54 pm
OP, "Isolating those kids in a "special" school? How is that supposed to teach tolerance? Hmmm, why does that remind me of, oh, segregation? And, oh, the opportunities to misuse and abuse the rules here are rampant."
That's right, a *special school* for those who refuse to obey the institutional rules put forward, and stated clearly in policy.
It's VERY clear that if you do certain other things at Gunn, or JLS, a child will be disciplined, and if those things keep up, alternate arrangements can be made elsewhere.
And still, what I find revealing, is after all your rationalizing, not ONE word about the victims of hate speech has entered one of your posts.
june, [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
What you appear to be forgetting is that the early settlement of Africa, that resulted in partitions that increased the possibilities for violence and mayhem, were largely driven by "church" interests.
More people have died in the name of religion, and the whacky ideas promoted by religion than anything else I know of, including any one pathogen, or related groups of pathogens.
Now, if we're talking the *spiritual* messages of Jesus, Allah, Buddha, etc. etc. - that's another story.
Posted by june, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Mar 13, 2008 at 3:06 pm
If AIDS prevention is to be based on evidence rather than ideology or bias, then fidelity and abstinence programs need to be at the center of programs for general populations.
Outside Uganda, we have few good models of how to promote fidelity, since attempts to advocate deep changes in behavior have been almost entirely absent from programs supported by the major Western donors and by AIDS celebrities.
Yet Christian churches—indeed, most faith communities—have a comparative advantage in promoting the needed types of behavior change, since these behaviors conform to their moral, ethical, and scriptural teachings.
What the churches are inclined to do anyway turns out to be what works best in AIDS prevention.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Mar 13, 2008 at 3:14 pm
"More people have died in the name of religion, and the whacky ideas promoted by religion than anything else I know of"
Actually, more people have died of socialism, in one century, than of all the religious wars in human recorded history, combined.
Here is a challenge for you:
You define and and add up the total of recorded deaths in all the religious wars and conflicts that you are aware of in human history. Then, I was will add up the total of socialist deaths in the past century. This should be an easy one for you, Mike: I am giving up all of human recorded history, versus just one century.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 13, 2008 at 3:32 pm
June: "What the churches are inclined to do anyway turns out to be what works best in AIDS prevention."
That's simply not true. Churches have been at the forefront of keeping condoms from being freely distributed in places like Africa. How many people have died because of that. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 13, 2008 at 6:23 pm
Naturally, you ignored the practical problems with creating your "special" school as well as the moral issues of enforcing such a policy. I think this is one of your biggest weaknesses--you want things to be a certain way without thinking about what these would mean in the real-world--that we expell kids who say the wrong thing. That we grant a government agency the right to control and punish what we say.
As for victims, I did discuss them--I specifically pointed out that these PAUSD victims seem to be figments of your imagination used to justify your draconian solutions to a non-issue.
Socialism and communism are not identical. There are several socialist countries, such as Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, that have admirable human rights records--including during World War II. Socialized medicine isn't correlated with outbreaks of genocide.
I think the issue is more about totalitarianism--of any political stripe. Totalitarian governments are inclined to be ruthless and undervalue individual human lives.
It's VERY clear that if you do certain other things at Gunn, or JLS, a child will be disciplined, and if those things keep up, alternate arrangements can be made elsewhere.
And still, what I find revealing, is after all your rationalizing, not ONE word about the victims of hate speech has entered one of your posts.
Sure it has. I pointed out that there's been a lack of actual victims coming forward.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Mar 13, 2008 at 8:08 pm
"Socialism and communism are not identical"
OP, they are first cousins, or, as Eleanor Roosevelt liked to say, "A communist is a liberal in a hurry". Socialism is about social and economic control. You are, on this thread, trying to defend against the socialist mindset of "Mike", yet you are, simultaneously, defending socialism. You are not of the same degree, but you are of the same type.
Several decades ago, I had a girlfiend from Sweden. She left her country to come here, becasue she could not stand the socialist control of her own life. She got arrested, and put in jail, overnight, and fined for violating the curfew on flushing her toilet after 10 PM., in her apartment complex. She felt that Sweden was the gestapo in sheeps' clothing.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Mar 13, 2008 at 9:49 pm
"GO walk the halls of any local middle school, and listen carefully."
I have done this many times. What I hear is some version of, "give according to your ability, but only take according to your need". I have never heard, "power to the person, according to his abilities".
The tragedy of the "not in our town" fiasco is that they will completely deny and avoid the holocasut that they have promoted.
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 14, 2008 at 1:48 am
First cousins can vary a great deal--one can be a pillar of rectitude, the other a serial killer. Your analogy. Socialism in Denmark has had none of the violent repercussions of communism in China. Socialism does not inevitably lead to genocide, nor are all brutal regimes socialist in philosophy. You're using a slippery-slope fallacy here.
My issue with Mike is not his desire for a common good--but the authoritarian way in which he thinks the goal of civility ought to be achieved. I think authoritarian regimes are a problem--be they feudal, fascist, Nietzschean, militaristic, fundamentalist or communist in surface philosophy.
As for your girlfriend--in a truly totalitarian regime, she wouldn't have been able to leave.
Sorry, you don't get to force kids into the private-school system. Clearly, you haven't followed any of the debates about school resources. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] There's not some endless supply of school funding and space here. Certainly, not for creating a school for kids who don't say what you want them too.
And why would you know what's said in the hallways of any middle school? You're a grown man, correct? Unless you're working in the schools, I don't think you belong in the hallways of a middle school.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 14, 2008 at 11:15 am
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
My advice: make sure we have adequate protection in the schools for those who are the victims of hate speech by 1) having a CLEAR NO TOLERANCE policy for speech of this kind on campus, with egregious offenders suspended for some time so that they can be removed and remediated. If serial hate speech offenders continue their actions following that, they should be removed from the general student population, to one of the special schools that already exists in Palo Alto, and given special help and counseling.
There is no "authoritarianism" involved here; rather, there's nothing more than a plea for policy makers in our schools to take a FIRM stand against hate speech, educate our youth about this, and proscribe a NO TOLERANCE policy for repeat offenders. Anything else is waffling, and avoiding an issue that let's too many of our students think it is OK to engage in hate speech banter that's directed to certain members of the student population. I have seen this first hand;it's very disturbing.
NO student who is a minority member of race or sexual orientation, or the member of either gender, shuold have to stand by and listen to hate speech leveled in their respective directions, with no consequences given to the perpetrator of that hate speech.
We either believe in rules, or we don't. Policy can easily be put in place to enable what I suggest. This is about establishing no nonsense norms of behavior, with consequences. The end result is a safer school environment, and less damage caused to those who are attacked for nothing more than who they are.
AB 537: The California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000
"Actions that may impair a student’s ability to function or the emotional well being of a student at school are unacceptable. Harassment or discrimination may include acts such as the following:
"Use of swearing, putdowns, or unwanted sexual advances, invitations or comments
Telling of “dirty” jokes
Leaving harassing messages on email, text messages, passing notes of a sexual nature, or illegal use of chat room.
Slurs of any kind (racial, ethnic, religious, sexual, gender-based, physical, etc.)
Threats and demands to submit to sexual requests for any purpose
Threatening or doing harm to someone who refuses to cooperate or reports on you (bullying)
Any intimidating comments and/or physical gestures or interactions
Gestures that are in poor taste or indicate gang affiliation
Touching, grabbing, fondling, pantsing, etc.
Possession or display of derogatory posters, photographs, cartoons, or drawings; communicating such in writing, by verbalizing, by computer, etc.
"Possible Action to be Taken:
Possible consequences for harassment of any kind may include one or more of the following: parent conferences, suspension, expulsion and/or referral to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
A student, who believes s/he is being harassed or discriminated against at school or at school activities because of her/his sex, race, ethnicity, or religion, should immediately bring it to the attention of any school staff member. District complaint procedures will be followed to resolve the issue."
For all those that think that the law is at issue here, among them OP and the poor excuse for faux attorneys that have weighed in on this thread, we are going to see, soon enough, whether PAUSD is willing to keep to the tenets of California law, in SPITE of letting ignorance reign - ignorance issued in the behavior of those that think the First Amendment can be used as a shield to protect egregious hate speech *as described above IN THE LAW.
There ARE rules of behavior encoded in California law, and PAUSD will uphold that law, as, btw, it has in the past for many kinds of abnormal and egregious behavior, EXCEPT for hate speech, which is JUST as abnormal and egregious as any other kind of bullying.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
We're going to find out, soon enough, who rules on this issue. The education code is LAW, and policy makers are going to be made aware that it MUST be enforced. I think that once that argument is made in the proper places, we will see a change that will probably upset OP and the others, who use the First Amendment to ignorantly defend speech that hurts and destroys, all in the misuse and misinterpreted intentions of the Founding Fathers.