Friday, February 02, 2007

Facing a Humongous Problem

In response to my post about the charming statement made about me yesterday, commentor "Eric" had this to say:
You act like a doush on those boards, and you've said much worse things. While that doesn't excuse what he said, it's really no suprise that eventually you'd build up a big backlash against you (removed links, name calling, called out on behavor, etc)

Which was followed by this, once I had pointed out that the relationship between leftist vitriol and the behavior of an individual was rather tenuous:

Unfortately, to a large degree your words ring true, but it speaks of both sides. Left and right. Intollerance can be found wherever one cares to look. All I'm saying is, try not to be an agent of it yourself, and lead by example. If it doesn't start with you, who?

Put bluntly, people who worry about me in that respect are wasting their time. Despite the nearly-constant avalanche of "Jewish Nazi" and "self-loathing" I have received ever since I began speaking publicly, never once have I threatened another person with violence or told them to commit suicide. Moreover, I have been more than willing to stand up for people whose views I loathe if I think they're being treated unfairly.

And for my trouble, I am threatened with violence, told to commit suicide, and subjected to a constant barrage of verbal abuse because of my political beliefs -- only to be told by other gays that, if I wasn't so "provocative", I wouldn't have these problems.

One of my good friends is a teacher in a very poor neighborhood in the New York City area -- dedicated, devoted to student success, and continually working to improve himself so that he can be a better educator. And he wants out in the worst possible way, for one simple reason; according to his administrators, everything bad that happens is always his fault. Students flunking, students threatening other people, students threatening him -- no, it has nothing to do with the students, it must be the fault of the teacher. Obviously he provoked them, or didn't interpret their intent correctly, or made things too hard for them, the explanations are legion; in short, even if their behavior was bad, since he obviously contributed to it, he is at fault.

Addiction therapists call it "enablement" -- when one person allows another to persist in bad behavior, even to the point of denying their own thoughts and judgments and projecting blame elsewhere, because they want to avoid short-term conflict. What is universally agreed, though, is that this rewards the bad behavior by lessening or eliminating the consequences -- and, perversely, can actually reinforce them, since the enabler allows the individual to place others at fault for the individual's actions. Hence you have public school teachers being threatened with being shot and gays exhorting other gays to commit suicide; one, because they know there will be no consequences for them, and two, because they know other people who they don't like will be yelled at or punished for "causing them to misbehave".

The annoying thing is that these schoolchildren grew up, became gay, and continued blithely on their way, convinced that there was no behavior so vile or awful that it couldn't be blamed on someone else's provocation.

And as Eric's comment shows.....they're right.

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