Friday, October 19, 2007

Pocket Knives, Uniforms and Bigotry.

I am a firm supporter in what I like to call Social Justice. I am not an “eye for an eye” type of gal, because I don’t trust those blokes who wrote the bible, and I’m already practically blind, but I do believe in karma. I like it when bad things happen to bad people. For instance, I was pretty damn happy when OJ Simpson, the guiltiest man on earth, was arrested in Vegas for weird illegal activities.

Certainly that was a case of Social Justice. The man deserves whatever’s coming to him. For this same reason I like this t-mobile commercial. The older brother mocks his brothers friends, only to his demise.

Well, my belief in social justice could go on its on blog entry, and maybe it will later, but for now, the social justice moment of the day is this article about how the Boy Scouts of America will be forced to pay rent on a new york office property solely because they are an organization which discriminates. Isn’t that awesome? I mean, I really hate the Boy Scouts, specifically because of all their bad (true) press about their discriminatory policies and in light of the liberal powerhouse youth organization the Girls Scouts have come to be. Lets do a little compare/contrast.

The Girl Scouts Mission Statement :“Girl Scouts of the USA is the world’s preeminent organization dedicated solely to girls—all girls—where, in an accepting and nurturing environment, girls build character and skills for success in the real world. In partnership with committed adult volunteers, girls develop qualities that will serve them all their lives, like leadership, strong values, social conscience, and conviction about their own potential and self-worth.”

And the Boy Scouts: “The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. The Boy Scouts of America will prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Law.”

In my opinion the GS mission statement sounds great, and the BS mission statement a little lacking. Because I know about the crappy practices of the Boy Scouts I perused their websites a little deeper. A search for “homosexual” on the Boy Scout website yields several hits, most notably a few resolutions such as this one. The page provides the “Position Statement on the Cradle of Liberty Council's Stance Regarding the Leadership Standards of the Boy Scouts of America” the Boy Scouts of America state their position on gay scouting:

“Applications for leadership and membership do not inquire into sexual orientation. However, an individual who declares himself to be a homosexual would not be permitted to join Scouting. All members in Scouting must affirm the values of the Scout Oath and Law, and all leaders must be able to model those values for youth.”

A search on the word “gay” on the GSUSA site produced a lot of hits too…but in a very different fashion. The hits include Girl Scouts who received the honor of National Young Woman of Distinction such as one gal who won for a community project about discrimination:

“Madeline chose to focus on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)community for her project. "I have many close friends who are part of the LGBT community. They have noticed intolerance toward their growing group. Also, I've heard seemingly intelligent people who believe the age-old stereotypes," Madeline shared. With the help of her local church community, Madeline created a book aimed at overcoming stereotypes and, at the same time, sharing the similarities of communication among family units.”

Girl Scouts recognize and support efforts like these from their scouts because, like their mission statement says, are “dedicated solely to girls—all girls”, and not just straight girls.

I have an affinity for Girl Scouting because I found several years of summer employment as a counselor. And, the rumor is true, I was a Brownie. The last summer I spent working at a camp in Massachusetts was the only summer I left behind the simplicity of day camp for resident camp. I was totally shocked by the open mindedness of the organization and the language that was used among staff and in discussion with girls of all ages (the camp served girls from 5 to 17).

Everything was inclusive, focused on equality and comraderie among women of all sizes, shapes, colors and lifestyles. In fact, on the first day of training I can recall my camp director reminding us all that GSUSA was in NO WAY affiliated with Boy Scouts. I was glad about that, knowing their history of discriminating practices. I was so impressed with my experience those three summers that although I no longer work for the org, I certainly have become a champion for their efforts. Girls who grow strong from girl scouts are the girls who later will read and write for Bitch Magazine.

Its unfortunate that the Boy Scouts fall so low on the moral totem pole, because there are not a lot of other options out there for boys. They provide some cool experiences and encourage teambuilding and what not, but unfortunately they also are a bunch of haters. If Boy Scouts provided the sort of encouragement and sensitivity training that Girl Scouts did, I bet our nation would be shaped less by sexism and aggression and more by conversation and acceptance. Sure, Girl Scouts aren’t perfect—and I’m sure all troops and camps aren’t as liberal as mine were. Maybe it wouldn’t change the world, but it would curb a lot of intolerant behavior in young guys that turns into hatred in adults. Because, seriously, we are talking about a lot of boys/young men involved in these programs:

“Cub Scouting, for boys in the first through fifth grades, was serving 1,701,861 at the end of last year. Membership in Boy Scouting, for 11- to 17-year-olds, was 922,836 on December 31, 2006..This high-adventure program for young men and women ages 14 to 20 was serving 244,266 members on December 31, 2006.”

Thats 2,868,963 young folks a year participating in Boy Scout Activities. There are 3.7 Million Girl Scouts, luckily. Do you really want to give your money to or put your kid in the hands of an organization which discriminates against gay youths and adults? Maybe Johnny should take up the guitar instead.


courtney said...

pocket knife - check.
uniforms (i.e. 12 years of catholic schooling) - check.
bigotry - i'll leave that for the boy scouts.
(hey - a girl's gotta draw the line somewhere.)

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