Friday, May 26, 2006

Keep Your Hands Off My Books

I'm right-handed. Yet, my father is left-handed (ok, he's pretty much ambidextrous but still leans to using his left hand more.) Some stats place an approximate 10% of the population as left-handed. Seeing that this is a rare and unusual thing. Heck, many saw this as a sign of weakness ages ago and would retrain a child to use his right hand by restraining the offending arm. Nuns would smack the left hand of a child trying to write with that hand in school. That was possibly because being left-handed was interpreted as a sign of Satanic influence. It was claimed that until recently left-handed children in Africa would have their hand covered in boiling water and then buried in mud until all the nerves in that hand were killed... forcing them to use the other one.

So, I believe that we should rewrite all our elementary, junior high, high school and college textbooks to denote any historical personage with "(left-handed)" after their name. This would show students in the Southpaw minority that they are not alone, they can aspire to great things and that they will not be bullied into being like everyone else. Pretty idiotic isn't it. What if Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci didn't want people to focus on their hand preference?

Well, something similar is going on in California with another reportedly 10% of the population. A bill (Senate Bill 1437) has been introduced by Sheila Kuehl of the California State Senate to require mention of the accomplishments of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual people in school books for students as early as kindergarten. The bill which calls for a "bias free curriculum" was recently passed by the Senate and is awaiting a vote in the State Assembly. An Assembly Bill (606) would authorize the state to withhold funds from any school district whose policies do not adequately lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals. There's even another Assembly bill that would allot $250,000 tax funds to "tolerance education" for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual lifestyle in 10 state schools.

I have several reasons for not supporting either of those bills. I have no issues with those I do and don't know in lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual lifestyles. I believe that if bills like these were passed nationwide... you are talking millions of dollars in tax dollars spent on new textbooks when schools have enough of a problem paying for the books they are short. Doing this for a footnote of "oh, by the way, he went both ways" doesn't add to an education a doesn't create a "bias free curriculum" when you only mention those that aren't heterosexual. How balanced is that? I also think that we have enough problems figuring out when to mention these things. You have artists like David Bowie, Marilyn Manson, Morrissey and Clay Aiken that either dabbled, claims celibacy or denies. You then have to define how much dabbling makes the person something other than straight. Then you have people like Leonardo da Vinci that was not only left-handed but was emprisoned on suspicion of homosexuality although not convicted.

8 comments:

Bar Bar A said...

Excellent commentary as always, Martin. I agree with you.As for David B. I think he out grew that phase. Remember the rumors about him and Mick? I've always wondered.....

dusty said...

I think Political Correctness goes too far sometimes and this might be one of them. Someone's sexuality should be an issue,therefore why does it need to be mentioned regarding their accomplishments?

But I sympathize with the gay community on many issues, so if they want this, who am I to complain..

I just hate being torn in both directions..good post

dusty said...

oops..their "sexuality shouldn't be an issue" ...sorry.

Lily said...

While I get what their trying to do they seem to going about it all wrong.

Unless someone's accomplishments has to directly do with their being LGBT their sexuality is irrelavant.

Perhaps some diversity electives in jr. high and high school would be a better way of going about it.

LoraLoo said...

This is really taking it over the edge. I have no problem with anyone's sexuality or lifestyle choices. What anyone does with their life and/or between the sheets is none.of.my.business. Can't they cover this in Health class when we all learned about the birds and the bees? Or did they pull the funding for health classes? Sigh.

I like your lead-in with the left-handed conversation. Very fitting.

Miss Hobby said...

I didn't want to have 'the talk' with my boys when they were in kindergarten. That's insane. Why would I want someone else to have that talk with them? If you add '...and she was a lesbian' to a sentence, inevitably you have to explain what the hell a lesbian is. So, maybe adding those addendums to kindergarten books may be a bit too much, too early.

I once told my sister (who's a lesbian btw) that I found the whole 'gay pride' parade thing a bit much. It's a parade about someone's sex life. Why do I need to know about that?? I told her one day I was goin to put together my own parade - the 'I love my vibrator' parade. Everyone should know how proud I am of my vibrator. Those batteries last forever, it has a heck of a motor on it. Paid a pretty penny for it, but man, was it worth it! There's nothing better than my vibe. It knows exactly where to....

Well. It seems pretty unnecessary for everyone to know about what I do in the privacy of my own bedroom, now doesn't it?

Fred said...

Aren't there potholes in her district that need fixing? Only in California...

An80sNut said...

Bar: It is pretty interesting that David and Mick were able to have rumors like that and remain male sex symbols to this day. I just wonder if those make them questionable sexually in the textbooks of tomorrow. It did slightly change the way I saw the "Dancing In The Streets" video.

Dusty: I can understand your being torn. I personally believe that it's alright for anyone to express who they are even if they wish to put their sexual preference above mention of that doctorate degree they worked so hard for. Yet, I also wonder how much further this would be taken in course of action and how much more money it will drain a failing school system.

Lily: An elective would be a great idea. Important persons in many of these areas can be discussed and viewed with a wider perspective and noted with historical importance.

Lora: I'm kind of shocked that the train of thought worked out. B) I think some of the discussion happened in Health class when I was taking it but I think that if you add sexual preferences to the description of the person in these texts, you'll also have lawsuits from the physically impaired and other groups that want additions also. Then it becomes a battle for what gets mentioned first. It's downright nutty.

Miss H: I agree with you on the kindergarten side. We seem to push boys to accepting girls as less icky and kootie-free earlier and earlier as well as the other way around. I wonder if doing so gives them less of a chance to decide that they are happy with being their gender. A parent really should be the guide in knowing when to start talking about standard lifestyles well before alternative choices with their little ones. I'm just happy that you were able to share that experience with your sister with us. I'll donate to your "I Love My Vibrator" parade if you donate to our "Rosy Palms" BBQ.

Fred: It's another sign that someone else knows better what to do with our money than we do... until they are voted out of office. B)