I am beginning to wonder if school boards are even a good idea at all…
This is probably a case of stating the bleeding obvious, but I am now convinced that running alongside the usual bigotries — racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, etc. — there is a plain, simple, raw hatred of children, with the two streams feeding off and reinforcing each other. It is the hatred of the vicious and mediocre for those weaker than themselves, whom they see merely as a means to assert dominance and to make themselves significant somehow, to someone.
So the pearl-clutching “what about the [hypothetical] children” crowd showed up specifically to bully an actual child until she was crying? Is it cliche at this point to say their hypocrisy is an intentional display of power and contempt?
I grew up in the same county and lived there until around 2010, only a few miles away from Grant. Eeven 50 years ago there were people like this throughout the area, but were a fringe and very small minority. I’m appalled that they have grown in number to the level that they are able to do something like this. The teachers, parents, and administration that I knew would never have allowed others to treat a child this way, nor made such absurd, uneducated, and bigoted accusations. I hope the decent people who I know still live there step up and support this aspiring young artist.
The art definitely ruffled some feathers.
A small conservative town north of a small conservative city…and in the political climate.
She might not have had these elements in mind, but i give her props for even trying.
This is the political activism of the pro-school-shooting church of rape apologists. Hating children is their religion, but of course they only hate and kill the bad ones so it’s ok in their fucked up moral house of mirrors.
And evangelicals wonder why kids are abandoning the church in epic numbers.
I second @beschizza I hope she gets accepted to an art school and funds a supportive community.
The only correction I would make it to point out is that they are not winning. It may seem like it, but they are not. Winners are in a position of strength, not weakness. It is weakness to gang up on a school child about a mural. It is weakness to resort to violence to get your way. It is weakness to scream at people who cannot scream back. It is weakness to attack the weakest and least protected in society (girls, gays, immigrants, trans, BIPOC).
If they were “winning”, this wouldn’t have made the news. If they were “winning” this mural would never have been painted in the first place. If they were “winning” the girl would never have even thought to paint it.
They are losing, and they know it. And this makes them very dangerous, because all they have left is intimidation and violence. But they are not winning. We must never forget that and never give up hope. Times may be dark, but we are winning.
Heh… I had already toned down my post when you typed this… But thanks for saying as much. It’s hard not to despair sometimes.
When I was a high school art teacher, I was ‘sent to the principal’s office’ during my first year because I hung a (completely G-rated) student artwork that protested homophobic bullying in school. My (cowardly) admins insisted they were “all for” this kind of of expression, but we’re terrified of getting calls from parents.
Later that year, a swarm of parents descended on a schoolboard meeting to pillory a history teacher for showing “anti-American propaganda” (it was a documentary by a news channel that interviewed non-American MENA folks on their views about 9-11), and all of us teachers were given a bullshit permission form we were supposed to fill out if we were showing any ‘controversial’ material in our class, which would offer a 'safe alternative ’ for any student whose parents didn’t want to be exposed to it. I chucked it in a drawer and never looked at it again.
The following month, a group of students attended the next school board meeting to stage a counter-protest defending that history teacher. The problem wasn’t the kids, or the teachers, it was vocally bigoted parents and the chilling effect they have on admins and school boards. Fuck that noise, and bless teachers who, on top of their actual job, often find themselves having to be better parents than the abusive psychopaths the kids go home to.
I completely understand. The pep talk is very much for myself as well! It’s hard not to get discouraged by such events, so I keep needing to remind myself of what it was like when I was in school not that long ago. The progress we’ve made in just one generation is amazing. We’ve a long way to go as a society, but we can see progress is possible, and with hard work and commitment we can make the world a better place for everyone.
They’re one of the current local battlegrounds, along with town councils and county commissions, where the fascists are trying bottom-up power grabs in the U.S. The good news is that these are battles that those who still value liberal democracy can and do win.
For many right-wingers and conservatives – especially those over age 55 – children stand as a continual reminder of their many policy failures. Kids often reject bigotry and also let them know that all that 40 years of neoliberal greed has left young people with is a future lifestyle based on diminished expectations. Combine that with the other factors you mention and a lot of right-wingers’ attituds toward children – sometimes their own kids – is “I’ve got mine, so screw 'em”.
This mural shows a bunch of kids defying rotten right-wing ideology by coming together as a diverse community to combat a public crisis and all these adult bullies can do is whinge about “witchcraft”. Just pathetic.
I really hope she won’t have to cover up her art. And I bet most of these people attacking her have hidden under the umbrella of first-amendment rights at one point or another themselves. So infuriating!
Children are pure sweet innocent angels in whose name unlimited torture and murder are justified, until the millisecond that they learn to speak for themselves. Then they become demonic alien thugs who must be cracked down on without mercy.
I have a bunch of hatreds, which I don’t need to justify or examine because they’re “natural” and “from God”. I know that because, when I imagine a hypothetical innocent child, they always agree with me. If you show me an actual child, saying words I didn’t write for them, that is a mortal threat to my self-image, so of course I will respond as if that child had come at me with a knife. Why can’t you understand that I’m the victim?
Our daughter is 37, in galaxy long ago I sat on the school board, even chaired it for one season. It was boring and I don’t remember any meeting when a single parent showed up to protest anything or even discuss policy.
These school board meetings are being used for politics. I have no idea how to stop it but it does need to stop.
As far as the art, the student should never have been the one defending the mural. The school board should have defended their decision to commission the artwork.
I wonder where the artist’s parents were because I would never have allowed my kid to be bullied in public or private
The school board should never allowed the artist to be bullied either.
She should fix the mural by spray painting f**k you across it.
Around 10 years ago, in another state from where I am now, I ran for a spot on the local school board. My concern was overcrowded schools, and a proposal to change their middle school to grades 6-9 and high school to 10-12. There were no real controversies of the type there are now. But I was new to the area at the time, and so something of an outsider. It was by far the ugliest public thing I’d ever seen up to that point. When people on a local public dsicussion group/bbs started calling my wife “a fucking wh/re” and my kids by name as “obviously r/tarded” and trying to dig up dirt on the whole family [there was none, but it didn’t matter] I decided it wasn’t worth it. A friend told me “well, yeah, it’s a school board race. They’re always ugly like that.”
Fsck school boards.
One of the most horrifying things about what has happened to school board and city council meetings around the country is that they have traditionally been an entry point into American politics.
This toxic conduct is alienating an entire generation of would-be public servants before their careers ever get started. Which is maybe the whole point.