Judd Legum and Tesnim Zekeria at Popular Information have the details behind why the school district in Pinellas County, Florida removed a 25-year-old Disney movie about Ruby Bridges, a black six-year-old who desegregated an all-white elementary school in New Orleans in 1960. The PG-rated, made-for-TV movie was used as an educational film for decades until Gov. DeSantis and the wingnut supermajority statehouse enacted a vaguely worded law that empowers every rando in Florida to censor school curricula.
The censorious kook in this case is Emily Conklin, who has a second grader enrolled at a Pinellas public school. She got a permission slip and a movie trailer two weeks before her child’s class was to view the film. She declined her permission — which is fine, she’s the parent, blah blah blah. But as Popular Info points out, “that wasn’t enough” for Conklin. She wants to dictate what other second through seventh graders can watch, and thanks to DeSantis’s shitty law (and the school district’s cowardice), she has that power.
Popular info has the form Conklin submitted to recommend that the movie not be shown to students before eighth grade history class. She cites fears that the movie will teach kids racial slurs and may result in kids learning that “white people hate black people.”
Meanwhile, according to The Tampa Bay Times, Ric Davis, a community activist, pushed back in an open letter to the school district’s leadership, writing, “Many from historically marginalized communities are asking whether this so-called integrated education system in Pinellas County can even serve the diverse community fairly and equitably.” Great question, Mr. Davis!
You may recall that back in January, this same school district banned Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. I posted about that here and, inspired by a TBT column on the topic, asked for suggestions about distributing banned books in Little Free Libraries.
Anyhoo, Popular Info has the scoop on the kook behind that previous book banning, Michelle Stille. She objected to her teenager having The Bluest Eye as a reading choice (not mandatory!) for an advanced literature class. Stille didn’t bother to fill out a form but instead went directly to Repub activists from the ironically named Moms for Liberty outfit for help so she could intimidate school district personnel.
It worked; the book was removed without going through the proper channels. And it was removed on the say so of Stille, a woman who uploaded a YouTube video earlier this year in which she recites incoherent, paranoid gibberish in a monotone voice about how Morrison’s book is the “final piece of indoctrination” in public schools, which she calls “Marxist indoctrination camps.”
Friends, nutjobs like Stille and Conklin are dictating what material can and cannot be included in school libraries and curricula for Florida students. They are empowered by the governor and his elected and unelected minions, but their destructive, anti-literature and anti-history antics are also on the voters who reelected DeSantis, members of the community who stay silent and timid school officials.
To fight back, I know WE have to be the squeaky wheels. I considered filling out a form requesting that my local schoolboard ban the bible since it contains horrifying accounts of incest, murder and genocide. But I feel sorry for school personnel who are already dealing with too many fucking trolls. And soon public schools will be even more underfunded since the Repubs’ long-sought “vouchers for all” edu-grift scheme was signed into law by DeSantis this week.
Aside from continuing to vote regularly, donating to and volunteering for Democratic candidates, showing up at every school board meeting and stocking Little Free Libraries with banned books, I’m not sure what else to do. It’s overwhelming.
When are Floridians going to get into the streets?
@EthylEster: I am not holding my breath. They reelected DeSantis with a substantial majority not that long ago.
I think asking to ban the Bible is warranted. It’d be a good tool to show hypocrisy, as I imagine the authorities will refuse to ban it. But I doubt it would matter. Moderates and liberals all know the right wingers are hypocrites and the right wingers don’t care what anyone else thinks because in their way of thinking, we don’t count. Only they count. I’m so sorry you’re having to live through this Betty. Florida is/should be better than this.
@EthylEster: I agree, until the good people raise their voices and do some pretty regular protesting, these knaves are just going to assume that Floridians are ok with all of this. It sucks that this is what it takes, but Florida is miles away from fixing this at the ballot box, and so something far more immediate is necessary.
Additionally, it would be good for someone to help fix whatever the state level Democratic Party problems are in Florida. It sure doesn’t help to not have state level folks who can articulate the disastrous policies of the DeSantis regime and bang that drum regularly in the press.
Deputinize Eurasia from the Kuriles to St Petersburg
I figure Conklin is auditioning for a Fox hosting job. She’s cute enough, judging by her LinkedIn.
Jamelle Bouie of the Times notes correctly that this stupid RWNJ “parents’ rights” movement is really just about giving a very nutty and very vocal and relatively small fringe group of parents a “heckler’s veto” over everyone else’s kids’ education.
It’s also best viewed as yet another attempt at minority rule by these people.
Parents already have an absolute shit-ton of rights when it comes to their kids’ public school education. What they don’t have is the right to dictate all of the other kids’ educations.
@schrodingers_cat: We really need to stop thinking that “if enough people protest loudly in the streets, the GOP will stop doing shitty things” because it’s been shown over and over that they don’t care. They’re not going to see millions of people disagreeing with them and think “Oh gee, I must have been wrong, now I see the light” or something. Deep down, they know a majority, or at least a plurality, of people don’t agree with them. They don’t give a shit, and a bunch of woke liberals protesting only gives them a hard-on to keep doing exactly what they’re doing. In their minds, “I won my election therefore I have a mandate to do whatever I want” is the only thing that matters.
I’m not saying that protesting isn’t valuable. But we can’t think of it as some kind of magic bullet against reactionary GOP bullshit that will solve our problems if only enough people show up.
I’m seeing this first hand. My sister started a MFL chapter with a friend and now she is running for school board with 3 other moms. In a recent interview she was asked about banned books and was quoted saying that their candidate slate was “doing their own research.”
FFS, I am so sick of hearing this. Research? You are fucking Googling! Research involves science, data, methods, control groups and an actual fucking hypothesis. She “did her own research” on vaccines too. The whole unvaxxed family got COVID together!
Googling what other moms are trying to get banned and waiting for some bigot at MFL headquarters to tell you what to be against next, THAT is what you are doing.
Same sister who told me a couple months ago that she is “tired of working for free” for the Republicans in her county. She is worth more than that! Today? She is PAYING THEM to work for them for free. Trip to FL for the first MFL convention. $200 for a state MFL conference. Buying their swag. Paying fees to run for school board. She is most definitely in the cult. It makes me sad sometimes, but mostly angry.
Don’t go after the Bible; go after Algebra. It’s well known that was started as an Islamic (al-jabr) propaganda tool to confuse Americans. Be the hero that takes that out.
Full disclosure, I love algebra and all the rest. When you get through Integral Calculus, all of it suddenly makes sense.
Major Major Major Major
Your state is turning into such a disaster area 😔 and not the usual wind-and-floods type. DeSantis is scary.
@Alison Rose: I don’t think it’s a magic bullet, but it is definitely better than ceding any ground to their inane blather. Especially in a place that is working overtime to give the crazy people a megaphone.
If we don’t use all of the tools we’ve got, the folks who do not pay attention on a daily basis (which is a sizable majority of people) will just assume that as long is doesn’t really affect them, well, then it doesn’t matter. We have to connect the dots for them – and that does take a good bit of visible push back (see: Israel this week).
Florida’s gonna florida.
That’s a big start, honestly. I’ve seen in my local area where getting out and into these meetings where these astroturfed people had held sway, can make a huge difference and roll back some of this horrorshow.
The ordinary citizen standing for what’s right and just in a school board or county council session, speaking from heart and truth, is a potent weapon. It’s why the other side abuses it so much!
Please, everyone, don’t undersell the importance of Acting Locally. Even if you — like me — can’t make those sessions? I recommend you at least know what’s going on in your area. When I see a group starting up for vulnerable populations in local news, I follow up and try to get on their newsletters, and donate at least once. I can’t always be there, but it’s painful but right to know who can, and try to help as much as I can.
@Jeffro: And it always has been. I was just reading about The Pasadena Affair (one of the early precursors/models of this bullshit):
This shit is always pushed by a small minority of residents and usually influenced, coordinated, amplified and funded by outsiders aligned with the Right. I wish I had some good ideas for solutions, but unfortunately I’m at a loss too.
@Dangerman: I blame my integral calculus teacher for my still not knowing the subject 60 years later. Approximately 50% of the time he pronounced “integral” correctly and the other half he pronounced it “intregal”. I was so distracted wondering if he’d get it right the next time that the subject of the course somehow eluded me.
@Pennsylvanian: Ugh, my condolences. I’ve got MAGA dope, DeSantis supporting relatives too, and it is definitely both sad and enraging.
The Moar You Know
I keep finding myself in the awkward position of defending district administrators. Look. These are not people who make a lot of money, they have zero job security (they serve at the whim of the school board), their jobs are insanely hard and stressful and super long hours (7 days a week minimum 12 hour days) and to make it even more fun they are getting beat on by these psycho parents like you would not believe. It is routine for them to get death threats on a monthly basis even in my blue corner of California.
Don’t blame the victim for flinching when some asshole cracks a whip in their direction. You would not last one day doing what they do (not a criticism of you, I wouldn’t either, and I know how to take abuse in the workplace).
I don’t think they really even care about elections. They believe they have a moral mandate to do whatever they want regardless of what any election says. That’s why they don’t let the Democrats do what they want when the Democrats win. Winning elections is good for shutting people up, but it has nothing to do with whether they deserve to be in control.
I think the biggest benefit of protests is showing our popular strength to potential allies. It’s easy to get depressed and think the Republican base of support is as big as they say it is, and big protests give the lie to that. Letting other people know they aren’t alone and the Republicans aren’t as popular as they claim is important.
@UncleEbeneezer: thanks – I had not heard of this one!
(also: free love leads to Communism? LOL)
I’m so glad I’m not a wingnut and don’t have to try and make those kinds of arguments with a straight face.
You know how we started down the wrong path? Arabic numerals. If Roman numerals were good enough for Jesus, they should be good enough for American schoolchildren.
I wonder how well this would work if all the American Indian parents started protesting the fairy tale of Christopher Columbus “discovering” America.
@The Moar You Know: seconded. District admins and principals work their butts off and are getting all KINDS of insane flack from the wingnuts.
The only thing that school divisions can do is to be as proactive as possible (make sure that evvvvvvvverybody knows that parents already have rights to review curriculum, opt their kids out of books, etc) and then stand up to the RWNJs’ harrassment in all its forms.
(It doesn’t hurt to have someone on the outside – sympathetic parents, recently-retired school personnel – writing letters to the editor defending the schools and pushing back on the nuts, either)
Because, of course. Never good enough to stop with her own phucking child.
@Deputinize Eurasia from the Kuriles to St Petersburg:
OT: you apparently survived Hell Weekend of Family Stress.
Been sending good thoughts your way.
I have also been asking about Fla boycotts because I will have some of those weekends in the next year or two, in Florida.
A lot of this stuff seems to be enabled by apathy and politeness. In Florida’s last election there was a general failure of Dems to turn out, but remember the party ran a warmed over Republican for governor. However, like we’re seeing in Israel, there can be a point where important institutions, the economy and national security are threatened by this idiocy, enough to cause significant numbers of previously silent, tolerant people to take to the streets.
Maybe Dems should really lean into expressly characterizing these people as kooks and criminals. Biden started along that road with his “MAGA Republican” moniker in the last election, but we probably need to go further. There’s an attendant risk to doing that, but it seems like the right is on an irreversible path of cumulative radicalization that won’t be stopped by polite debates or by using political terms like “fascist” or “extremist” that don’t necessarily register with the general population. You have to make that radioactive, not debate with it. “In your guts you know he’s nuts.”
It’s the least we can do for modesty’s sake
The Moar You Know
@SpaceUnit: Bad assumption. This shit is happening everywhere. My wife gets hauled into the admin office every week to defend herself against these loons, who have simply taken to slandering her and other teachers who won’t preemptively fold to their psycho agenda. All it takes in our district is one board member to flip and she will be in a world of shit, along with all her other colleagues
Should clarify: district is in a non-loony part of California.
@Jeffro: Also serves as a way to destroy public education. Although I wonder if this can be done to private schools?
The irony is that they want to indoctrinate their kids.
Mike S. (Now with a Democratic Congressperson!)
We need to use an accurate word with negative ,connotations for this, micromangement
They want any parent to be able to micromanage eveyone else’s kids education.
We know how well having a lot of bosses with vaguely worded goals and objectives will work out.
Passing along my neighbors” successful attempt to fight local book ban in a red-red district (my conressman is Scalise (R- nutria): 5 Books Targeted for Removal Placed Back on Library Shelves
@Betty Cracker: BC, you just continuing to do you right where you are is an action in and of itself. Who was it – Leaves of Grass guy, Walt Whitman -who had a great quote about it?
Thank you for putting eloquent words together to make sure more people know what is going on.
I hope someone publishes a full list of the books the 90+ yr old gal put on her quilt in protest, she is also amazing. And unless teenagers have changed drastically, I suspect that the fascists in VA and Fla have boosted the number of kids actually reading Toni Morrison.
Maybe we should write to Disney and see if they’d forgo royalties for a bit and run the Ruby Bridges movie for free on Netflix or the Disney Channel or something. Doesn’t solve the problem, but it might do something to help the kids in the middle of the mess.
@The Moar You Know: Hard disagree. The job is ensuring kids get a proper education, and sometimes that means standing up to parents. Other individuals in the state (who also presumably face the same difficulties for the same pay) have shown courage. This particular district is notable for knuckling under to kooks, and it’s not even one that contains the most rabid electorate.
Maybe a front pager can front page this gofundme to save Texas’s liberal newspaper – Texas Observer?
It would be a shame if can’t support liberal newspapers especially with all that shit media that is out there.
@The Moar You Know:
Believe me, I get it.
Every day I feel more and more fortunate that I live in a relatively sane blue state where these nutjobs don’t wield quite so much influence.
It also involves being familiar with all, or at least most, of the currently existing research literature in the area/subdiscipline, and usually involves an early literature search.
They could do that part (a pot of coffee or three to discern the outline of a subfield); scholar.google.com, etc are free and even paywalled articles have public abstracts. (preprint archives are riskier to navigate but dominate in some fields.)
They do not, mostly. Usually, at best, they are fed a bibliography carefully curated by an activist to exclude opposing views.
@Jeffro: Before everything was “Woke/CRT” it was always “Communism/Socialism” that was the big scary boogie-man in Conservatives’ framings for these public school fights. They specifically chose Communism/Socialism when they found that too many people were turned off if they used more blatant, racist appeals. A lot of the fights over school integration, bussing etc., were centered around concerns about Communism, Socialism, Federalism, Globalism as well as their much beloved “local control” and “parents’ rights.” Many times, perusing the language of these fights, you wouldn’t even know Race was a key issue (which of course was/is precisely the point).
Banning the Bible is exactly what needs to be done though. The same people banning all the current books are the same people who want the Bible taught in school, prayer, or at the extreme creationism.
That’s always been our core issue and as long as we aren’t going to really tackle the issue that this is a religious cold civil war that’s turning hot and we need to tackle the issue of Christianity we have given up the fight and deserve all of this, and worse, and bear some of the blame for it.
That’s a good list.
Another thing that can be done is lawsuits.
Although they don’t say they will be bringing suit, the Florida ACLU says there are lots of problematic and discriminatory things about HB 1 (the school voucher bill).
The SPLC said that the 2019 voucher bill that DeSantis signed was unconstitutional, but I don’t know if they brought suit.
The monsters will keep pushing as long as they don’t get slapped down. It’s disheartening and aggravating and tiring, but we have to fight them.
Hang in there.
@rikyrah: I mean what do you expect her to do? Get a job and a life?
@The Moar You Know:
Not sure what entity needs to do the leaning, but someone needs to lean on law enforcement and DAs to take these threats seriously enough to arrest and prosecute the people who make them.
It’s not just education officials. It’s anyone in any public position who does something the RW kooks have a problem with. This shit needs to be cracked down on, and hard.
@Alison Rose: Lawsuits?
Paul in KY
@Pennsylvanian: Just be honest with her. Hopefully she’ll come around, if she’s not too stupid.
@eversor: While I don’t believe the Bible should be used in public school classrooms, I am once again asking you to fuck off nine ways to Sunday with your tiresome predictable blather. You are tedious beyond measure and this shit contributes absolutely nothing to any conversation. For the love of whatever the fuck you believe in, shut up.
We can take the 1984 dicta (War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength) and add “Censorship is Liberty” to the list.
Which reminds me, “Ignorance is Strength” is a pretty good fit for these loons.
As a sports fan, my pet peeve is states who enact laws requiring trans athletes to compete against their birth gender instead of their actual identity. The proposed Texas statute would apply to both high school and college competition.
The NCAA has eligibility rules for trans athletes, and (IIRC) they were made more restrictive in the wake of the Lia Thomas controversy. I’d like to see the NCAA grow a spine and tell all of its Texas member schools (especially UT and A&M) that they can’t compete for championships if they are out of compliance with the NCAA rules.
Excellent idea! I bet Disney Channel already has it as an option; if so, publicizing that could be helpful as pushback on this ridiculous action. If Disney won’t, we citizens could just by writing a letter to the editor.
Never. Not that I can tell anyway from my friends who still live there. They bitch and moan about their fascist neighbors and government but don’t seem to do anything about it. Protest? Nope. Start or join a Dem group or advocacy group? Nope. Run for office? Nope. Leave? Nope. Florida is a lost cause. Might as well be Mississippi or Oklahoma from what I can see. All I know is I will never step foot there again.
@The Moar You Know: This is true, angry parents would call my dad at home in the evening. It’s a highly stressful job.
Deputinize Eurasia from the Kuriles to St Petersburg
I mean, would that kind of ban actually impact Texas schools? LOL
Thanks for front paging this article.
Meanwhile in VA, “Youngkin’s announcement also puts Virginia in a category all its own: It is the only state where someone who is convicted today over any felony is presumed to be barred from voting for life, with no remedy other than receiving a discretionary act of clemency from the governor.
Ruby Bridges is indeed on Disney Plus. It can also be rented for $3.99 from the usual places.
@geg6: Your friends who still live here are woefully misinformed about protests if they said there aren’t any. Students have staged walkouts and they and their parents have showed up at schoolboard meetings to push back on this fascist bullshit. There have been multiple protests about the hard-right takeover of New College. Citizens have protested voter suppression in Tallahassee, though the governor made protests in Capitol Square more difficult by requiring a “sponsor” from among his wingnut cabinet officials. You should stop shitting on the victims and direct your venom at their tormentors.
@Deputinize Eurasia from the Kuriles to St Petersburg:
Ban the Longhorns from competing for NCAA titles, and you’ll be able to hear the wailing of Texas Ex’s all the way to Oklahoma City and Albuquerque.
@The Moar You Know: There are two of them running for school board here. If they both win they will control the school board and then the book bannings and controversies will really begin. One of them has been outed for racist postings on Facebook; he blamed it on the staff of his ad agency!
AM in NC
@Burnspbesq: As a former female athlete, I am really conflicted about this. From what I understand and see, there is a physical advantage that most boys have over most girls once they go through puberty. It doesn’t seem fair to me to let trans girls who went through puberty as boys compete against girls who were born as girls.
I am willing to be educated about this, and I understand that it isn’t fair to trans girls, but I don’t know how to be fair to everyone in this situation, assuming my assumptions about males and females and changes at puberty are correct. It is complex.
Deputinize Eurasia from the Kuriles to St Petersburg
The family stress part actually went down pretty well. What I thought was going to be a miserable whack-a-mole series of pushbacks collapsed. Shortly after I arrived, the hithertofore silent oncologist called for a sudden appointment, and I accompanied them there for The Big Reveal, which was about as awful as can be expected. There were a couple of reasonable treatment options, and I asked the questions about prognosis if untreated, length of treatment by Keytruda infusion, side effect likelihood and the ability to perform the tasks of daily living. That let me give The Speech about how they couldn’t do it without help, and how they are unsafe living alone. It let me push them over the line, so now they are splitting and moving – my FIL to be with my SIL, his longtime lady friend to her family.
The weekend turned to shit later on, as the dog (75 lb Tervuren) developed post-grooming diarrhea for the better part of a day. This started while we were out of the house for a couple of hours, shortly before our Knockoff Roomba robot vacuum went off (its designated cleaning area on the schedule covers half the house in an uncarpeted area). I got to spend Saturday Night/Sunday Morning cleaning the carnage, along with all the new messes he was making, all while he was being super clingy.
It was like every nightmare tale. I considered a five gallon gas can and a match – it would have been better.
Deputinize Eurasia from the Kuriles to St Petersburg
They’d have to be competitive.
@Quinerly: That is pretty unconstitutional – the constitution does not apply a voting test. Everyone should be allowed to vote and you’re not allowed to take away someone’s right to vote simply because you had a crime.
In other states, say Texas, imagine losing the right to vote because your body decided to self abort a child. Yeah, that’s fucking bullshit.
@Deputinize Eurasia from the Kuriles to St Petersburg: But they’re also delusional, so they’d perceive actual harm from a ban.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Quinerly: Prior Democratic governors set up a process to restore rights more or less simply upon request. The original constitutional amendment was adopted specifically to disenfranchise African-Americans. I so hope that in the next cycle (2025/2026) Dems have enough votes in both chambers and the governor’s office to repeal this horrible provision.
The Kropenhagen Interpretation
Remember three things; this is about teamwork and group participation, this is not about competition, and puberty blockers are a thing.
What about the rights of the parents who want their children to see and read and learn these materials? I would think they have standing to sue. If one parent objects to materials, but 25 parents want it… I think the battles have only begun, but there is a reluctance to engage.
Feature, not bug, for those who think the 19th Amendment was a mistake.
@Jeffro: Writing letters to what editors? Nobody reads the newspapers and what they do read is not all the same or local. You can’t get through on some right wing cess pit online, they remove truthful posts. I don’t know how to get heard.
@AM in NC: Sister Golden Bear pointed out that we’ve been running a massive experiment with trans inclusion in college and Olympian sports for decades, and there’s no evidence trans athletes dominate.
@AM in NC: Body size and muscle mass alone do not automatically equal superior athletic ability. There are plenty of tall big dudes who would absolutely suck on any sports team, and plenty of smaller women who could kick anyone’s ass at any sport. Plenty of cis boys are small and plenty of cis girls are big. Neither of those things is determinative of their success at a given sport.
I had a female friend in my 20s who was 6 feet by the time she was 16, and could probably have bench-pressed a small horse. Should she have been barred from competing on girls’ sports teams because she was naturally bigger than most of the other girls? She played basketball and was on average like 3-4 inches taller than the other girls. Was that unfair?
In most sports, size alone is not gonna win the game, so saying that because a trans girl experienced male puberty and thus might be bigger than other girls makes it unfair for her to play on a team with/against them doesn’t make sense.
By shielding white Florida children from uncomfortable historical truths, the State is inhibiting honest conversations in the class room about race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. These kids are unlikely to develop an understanding about boundaries and sensitivity when interacting with people not like them in the workplace.
By which I mean, Florida is raising an entire generation of children who will eventually be sent to HR every week.
@Betty Cracker: It is on Disney Plus. I just checked. It is available paid on several other services like netflix amazon and youtube.
@Betty Cracker: Indeed. Here are some very helpful links:
What Critics Get Wrong About Trans Athletes in Women’s Sports
1. The transgender athlete myth won’t seem to die. This is so frustrating, because from a logical standpoint, the answer is so freaking obvious: the current system is not broken. It does not need fixing.
Four Myths About Trans Athletes Debunked
Illegal in Tennessee and Florida?
“What’re you in for?”
“Don’t ask, dude. Just don’t.”
@Alison Rose: If that’s the best argument—size does not always mean athletic prowess—-then you should definitely expect to lose this one.
@E.: Did I say it was the “best” argument? I was responding to a comment that specifically mentioned the physical advantage a child who went through male puberty might have over cis girls.
But it is an important point to make because very often, the argument from the other side is that cis girls will always lose up against a trans girl, and the implication is that the trans girl’s size is the determining factor, which is not necessarily the case.
My friends mostly live in Bradenton and the areas around West Palm, most in Martin County. They do not report on any protests there. If there are any, they don’t know about them. These aren’t FOX addicts, so I can’t tell you where they get their news but they would mention it if there was anything big happening around their area. They are certainly aware of what is happening politically. But they don’t do anything about it but bitch. I’m perfectly fine with blaming them for their own laziness and apathy. I do it to their faces. And what do you know, they’re still my friends and own up to their lack of motivation.
I actually live in very red area. But I don’t sit on my ass complaining about it (although I certainly do complain). But I am active in my community. I belong to a local Dem organization and I volunteer for campaigns. I go to protests at the courthouse and drive into Pittsburgh for protests there. I give money and support to local Dems. I do everything I possibly can to turn my county back into the Dem stronghold it used to be. We’ve had some success the last couple of years, but it took many years for these successes to happen. I just don’t see that in FL, but perhaps these things aren’t being reported this far north. Certainly my friends can’t recall any of these things, other than the BLM and Parkland protests (both of which they supported but did not attend). And maybe it’s just a specific demographic who don’t get involved even as they deplore what is happening. Looks to me like young people and people of color in FL have tried/are trying. But white liberals there seem to be MIA. Either way, FL is in even worse shape than my neighbors in OH and I don’t see anyone with any power or money doing anything to change it for the better. Both states are lost causes, IMHO. I don’t get it but I don’t live in either place. Perhaps there is something I don’t understand about how activism can work in PA and not in OH or FL.
I wonder if there is a market for a channel that just shows all the stuff the idiots think should be banned from education. Civil rights, reproduction, evolution, courtesy, manners, people who don’t look like me behaving exactly like me, trans people, church coverups.
I think some history of Europes religious wars especially the 30 years wars and how that lead to the various colonies here separating church and state contrary to revisionist history right now. The founders were protecting christian from christian and the current fools don’t even know it.
But I do think an educational channel that was specifically marketing this is what is being banned right now that used to be regular education might have a market.
Perhaps already mentioned, but Attn Uvalde School District PD… This is how it’s done.
No, I don’t really know how it’s done, but standing around with one’s fingers shoved up one’s butt is definitely not the way to go.
Paul in KY
@Hoodie: I like your idea. Call em what they are!
Mai Naem mobile
@Burnspbesq: good luck getting former Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker(R), current NCAA president to do that.
@AM in NC:
You have a point. But my take on it is: let the athletic conferences work it out. There’s no need for a state (or, God forbid, national) government to be writing these rules.
Funny thing is, I’ve been hearing from conservatives all my life, since the nineteen-freakin’-sixties (when I was one of them, I started off in life as a Barry Goldwater conservative) that problems should be addressed by the lowest level of government manageable, because that level will be closest to the problem and be able to solve it in a way that reflects better understanding.
Whether or not one agrees with that, that’s what they’ve been saying all this time. And this is one time when they’re right: the athletic conferences are closest to the problem and have a better understanding than any state legislature will of the best way to handle it.
ETA: Also, if they get it wrong, they’ll have an easier time changing their policies than if it’s enshrined into state law.
@Almost Retired: They will also become life-long GQP voters.
@lowtechcyclist: The other issue is that if you are basing decisions on T levels, a transgender woman who went through puberty as a male and has an average female T level probably has lower muscle mass on a larger frame, which likely makes her less efficient as an athlete. Elite athletes are physical outliers. It’s conceivable that some transgender women would be such outliers, but if you look at women’s sports where height is an advantage, it’s shocking to me how many cis-women there are who are taller than average men by a lot — e.g., volleyball and basketball players who are 6’3″ or taller
Paul in KY
@AM in NC: Humans are a species that is considered sexually dimorphic (one sex significantly larger than the other). Tigers, Hyaenas, Orcas are some others.
Mai Naem mobile
@stacib: before or after their kids were grabbed and put in ‘Christian’ boarding schools to ‘assimilate’ them?
BUT…the MSM told us that he was a MODERATE REPUBLICAN…
@geg6: My bad — I thought you were scolding Floridians in general rather than apathetic friends specifically. Millions of people here deserve all the shit you can dump on their heads — every goddamn one who voted for DeSantis, for starters. Too many are apathetic. But others are fighting back in whatever ways they can.
Collective action is also complicated by the fact that it’s a big, diverse state with disconnected populations, so what happens in Tallahassee isn’t always covered in Miami unless you really look for it and vice versa. It’s a 10 hour drive from Miami to Pensacola — and a whole different world.
@Almost Retired: Just as important, they are unlikely to understand, acknowledge and feel any moral obligation to oppose/fight Systemic Oppression. The Right very much wants children to continue to grow up believing that Racism is only white hoods, cross-burnings and saying the n-word, whereas there’s nothing at all racist about supporting politicians who enact racist policies. It’s the age old misconception that only inter-personal racism is bad, but taking away Black/Brown peoples’: Right to vote, access to healthcare, quality of education etc., is just fine and dandy and that our Trump-voting relatives aren’t really racist because they are nice to their Black neighbors and don’t have racism in their hearts.
The works of bell hooks, Angela Davis, Ibram X Kendi and the 1619 Project have shattered this myth and argue that things like putting DeSantis/Trump into office does far, far more damage than most forms of inter-personal racism. Which is why Conservatives put them at the top of the CRT Boogie Man list.
Kids understanding the racist effect of policies, might lead them to start viewing their policy-supporting friends and family in a different light, or even worse, might lead them to abandon the notion that a person can vote for the GOP but not be racist (by being complicit in Systemic Racism). Just notice how upset Conservatives (and even many on the Left) get when you point out that supporting certain policies is racist. We as a society are really addicted to this notion that Policy and Racism are two separate things and we get very upset when anyone dares to connect the two.
The problem, I feel, is there are no popular or highly regarded books and movies conservatives are actually attached to.
Banning everything would be fine with them.
@Alison Rose: let’s start mocking them directly because they’re stupid and cowardly
@Almost Retired: Florida kids Will barely be able to work at Starbucks by the time the Rt wingers are done
@JWR: Hey, look – Uvalde shooter had an AR-15. A man could get hurt, y’know? Jes’ sayin’
@geg6: I live in the Bradenton area, and Manatee County is very, very red: R = 126K, D = 79K, Other = 79K. That’s a hard slog.
@Ksmiami: That’s sort of the point, isn’t it? If you can’t afford to send your kids to private schools in/out of state, then your kids are going to be serfs.
@AM in NC: The situations are so rare as to not be really worrisome. The issue is a distraction. What about height, income, and other advantages conferred on certain populations? There are bigger issues surrounding minors, like guns. My two cents.
@gene108: Ayn Rand’s dreadful master race bodice-rippers are pretty popular among some conservatives, or used to be anyway.
@AM in NC: This is the most recent ruling that has thrown the issue into further turmoil.
The kid is a D1 college runner and still appalled at the WA decision. Guessing actual “final” rulings are well down the road.
I understand the reflex, but I don’t think Democrats can win with this strategy. First, because it’s reactive, we don’t actually believe these books should be banned, and second, because the right wingers will (deliberately) miss the point that violence, bigotry and evil are written throughout literature, and like the fight against segregation, are often central to the moral of the story. Tucker will simply broadcast this as evidence that liberals want to ban the bible. If it’s a fight between ‘your’ views getting banned and ‘my’ views getting banned, the powerful will always decide their views are the only ones allowed.
What I do think works is for Democrats to spread the word far and wide, what Republicans are actually banning. Put up pictures of Ruby Bridges and Tami Morrison and other authors that have been banned along with the subjects of their books and it’s going to become pretty clear what the rightwing is actually objecting to.
And parents need to step up and demand to know why Michelle Stille or any other random nutjob gets a say in what their kids get to read. Republicans pretend this is about parent’s rights. Parents need to point out that that’s exactly what they’re being denied.
Of course Policies are racist. Those who don’t live under the effects of said policies always can take a ‘ long view’ of things.
Those of us who are affected by them, and whose lives can be actually taken as a result of said policies…..
we have a different viewpoint.
@AM in NC:
Yes it is complex, and how it plays out varies significantly from sport to sport. Hypothetically, a 6’7” male volleyball player who can jump out of the building won’t be able to jump out of the building after two years of hormone therapy. But she’ll still be 6’7,” and even at the highest levels of D1 women’s volleyball, you don’t see many 6’7” players.
In contrast, there’s Lia Thomas, who swam a post-transition PR in winning her NCAA title. There were three other swimmers in that final who had previously swam faster, so it’s not easy to say she had an unfair advantage. She just happened to have a great swim when it mattered most. And it’s also worth noting that her time was 17 seconds slower than Will Thomas’ PR in the same event.
There’s no solution that will satisfy everybody, but I’m generally in favor of allowing trans people to be full members of society. And I just don’t buy the notion that anyone not genuinely suffering from gender dysphoria would transition just to gain a competitive advantage.
This is exactly the right argument, IMO. Conklin and Stille’s kids weren’t required to be exposed to the material they find objectionable, but that wasn’t enough for them. They want to control what other people’s kids get to read too.
@UncleEbeneezer: The vagueness in all these new laws serves two purposes – the creatures that pass them can intimidate everybody because nobody knows exactly what the laws mean, and they can go after who they really want to go after without spelling it out. I guess the rule of thumb should be, if you think they’re gunning for you they probably are.
Thought that said D&D and I was like, dang I know they did some shit around licensing but wtf.
@Betty Cracker: Yeah, if I were a parent (heaven forfend), I’d be right pissed about some rando deciding what my child could read or watch.
Of course, my parents let me watch movies like Blazing Saddles when I was in elementary school, so I grew up in a particular kind of environment.
Paul in KY
@trollhattan: Ms. Semenya still competes at 5000m and world cross country events. Tho her times are not ‘elite-medal range’ she’s a very impressive runner and amazing when you consider how large she is compared to the average IAAF female distance runner.
Heh :-) “All race results shall henceforth, be determined by twenty-sided die.”
@Jeffro: Unfortunately in Florida they do. Sad.
@Cameron: The video clips from Uvalde always leave such a sick taste in my mouth, and this body cam video from yesterday makes it clear that the Krazy Klown Kops down in Uvalde were hyped up on, but also held in check by, their own fear. Thank the gods that Nashville PD kept their cool.
@Pennsylvanian: Do you know other, saner people running for school board? Maybe some non-nutty people need to run and corner these nuts on their hysteria.
Upvoted for truth.
I feel like one thing we can do is push back against any news outlet that uses their “parents’ rights” or “protecting children” framing — call them, email them. They’re just lies — lies about parents not being allowed a say in their kids’ education, lies that they’re supporting parents’ rights about their kids, when they’re actually (as has been mentioned) enabling people who don’t even have kids in school to get books banned. I feel like “parents rights” got a lot of its steam from the 2021 VA governor’s race, where Youngkin’s win was (accurately or not) credited to that.
And the “protecting kids” is even worse. They’re hardly even pretending to do that this time, it’s just “we declare that our designated enemy/idea is endangering kids, and you’re not allowed to disagree or you hate kids.”
I understand ideas in politics have to be covered by the news, but there’s no reason a fact-based news article should unquestioningly echo claims that are just outright lies.
Credit where it’s due — I was pleasantly surprised by a USA Today article yesterday about the conservative crusade against Social-Emotional Learning with the headline “Teaching Kids to be Kind is Now Apparently Controversial in Florida.”
The Florida principal fired for showing Michelangelo’s David invited to Italy.
Italians already think Americans are crazy; this just reinforces that.
In other words “accurately reflects history”. Fucking busybody snowflake cowards.
Until you forget it all through disuse. /raises hand
@schrodingers_cat: Empirically, the Good White People of Florida just love what DeSantis has to offer. They are the problem. If DeSantis choked on a sandwich tomorrow, those people would find another fascist icon to represent their bigotry and ignorance.
The Pale Scot
Sorry Alison, got to agree with E. Twenty percent of Americans believe they are conducting “spiritual warfare” against the last century of progress. We are either agents or willing dupes of Satan. “How can we compromise with Evil, how do we retake control of our precious bodily fluids” etc. It’s the seduction of being part of something that’s holy.
Christian nationalism runs rampant as Christians and cult leaders alike believe Trump was chosen by God (Baptist News)
More than half of Republicans support Christian nationalism (NPR)
Yes, I remember. I think most of us knew he was just like the rest of the Repugs.
Yes. That info is in the article.
@Tony G: Exit polls say DeSantis got 69% of the Cuban American vote, which exceeded the percentage he got of white votes (65%). He won nearly 60% of the Latino vote in Florida overall. In Florida, the pro-fascism coalition isn’t lily white.
Some people see themselves in every horrible white character in film and object to being portrayed as ‘the bad guy’.
Those people are simply telling on themselves.
Late night viewing could include those Driver Ed films utilizing car wrecks from the 50s.
@Redshift: The simplest way to push back is to ask: Which parents? Whose kids? What about Black, Native/Indigenous parents’ rights to have their children learn about the role that their ancestors played in US history? What about “protecting” Black/Brown kids from racist micro aggressions and LGBTQ kids from bullying and outright disrespect (dead-naming, misgendering etc?)
@Betty Cracker: Misogyny, anti-Blackness and LGB(and especially)T-phobia sadly have plenty of appeal in Latinx communities too.
AM in NC
I want to thank everyone who responded to my comment with thoughtful points that are helping me work through this issue.
Just wanted to add that I don’t think ANY trans athletes transition in order to gain a competitive advantage, I just wondered if an advantage was often conferred if people transition post-puberty.
And, again, thank you for the comments and links for further education!
@The Pale Scot: Yeah this is where I could start to think there was something to the formerly idiot idea of something like the Omen. These self declared “christians” have NO idea what the most basic rules of being christian are and Trump is about the furthest thing I can imagine to anything to do with God. That is just pathetic. It proves they are not good Christians. Why aren’t real christians calling them out? Actually, The pope and the cardinals and quite a few other denominations ought to be pointing out that this is just not sincere religion.
Cheryl from Maryland
@Barbara: The General Assembly cannot repeal this (although get out and vote Democratic in VA this November). It requires a VA constitutional amendment, which has been tried and didn’t get the percentage required. Youngkin is scum.
They are well-trained and competent at house-clearing. The sad thing is that they need to be at all. Attending my home-town Independence Day parade, I see the cops stationed for traffic control and security are now armed with M-16s.
“After a car crash what’s important isn’t who’s right, it’s who’s left.”
– Broderick Crawford, Highway Patrol
@AM in NC:
Coincidentally, Wired magazine reposted a 2019 article about trans athletes. This gets at your “advantage” question:
Paul in KY
@Origuy: The gentleman from Italy was being kind in his comments, I think.
Paul in KY
@The Pale Scot: A lot of the ‘useful idiots’ over there in crazytown are ‘religious’ (go to a whacky church or loudly bray about how righteous they are). No doubt.
Paul in KY
@misterpuff: Signal 30. Man, that one was nasty in places.
Sound advice from a guy whose drunk driving was legendary. This made me laugh though
Next up: the holocaust cannot be taught because it might teach kids that germans hate jews.