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January 02, 2007

Raising The Next Generation Of Little Green Football Readers

Before 9/11 and the rise of right-wing blurfs, I had no comprehension of the level of pulsating, hate-mongering tribalism that lurks in some Americans. It's terrifying, and makes me understand in a visceral way what's happening in Iraq. I sure hope no superpower ever invades us and sets us at each other's throats.

In the light of this, I found the most recent episode of This American Life particularly horrifying. It tells the story of a Muslim family, the wife American, the husband Palestinian. The wife persuaded her husband to move here when they got married because it would be a better place to raise their children-to-be.

But after 9/11, they started being harassed. When their oldest daughter began 4th grade in fall, 2002 she was bullied in a serious way for being Muslim. But what's especially disgusting is the bullying was essentially led BY HER TEACHER.

Human beings: bleh.

I encourage you to listen for yourself to the whole dreadful tale, including the awful ending. (It's episode #322, and called "Shouting Across the Divide." The section I'm talking about starts around 7:30.)

In the future whenever I think of Glenn Beck, Billy Graham's son Franklin, etc., I will be reminded of this. Bullies always work best when encouraged by authority figures, and just as the teacher encouraged her students to act this way, people like Beck and Savage encouraged the teacher. What courageous warriors they are, standing up to the terrible threat posed to our country by friendless, crying nine year-old girls.

Posted at January 2, 2007 04:08 PM | TrackBack

What a shock and a surprise that friendless, humiliated, crying nine-year-old girls grow up to have zero respect for authority figures, enabling them to find little reason not to become indifferent, inconsiderate, rude, heartless, self-serving and vain.

Posted by: alexis S at January 2, 2007 05:05 PM

You sound like you're asking for a Leviathan figure, alexis S.

Posted by: John at January 2, 2007 06:26 PM

The teacher probably thought that torturing the 9 year old Islamofascist girl was justified because there was a "ticking timebomb" somewhere. Or something.

Posted by: Lloyd at January 2, 2007 09:35 PM

USA Today gave that cretin a soapbox. Holy fuck.

Posted by: Lloyd at January 2, 2007 09:39 PM

My son has had a hard time since he got shipped to new school, he hasn't made any friends and he's gotten picked on. I have had a hard time not acting on some impulses to go kick some little kids in the ass. I don't think I'd be able to resist tuning up a teacher that did something like that.

Posted by: Ed Marshall at January 2, 2007 10:30 PM

According to the show, this was started by a district "teaching 9/11" text. Anyone know where the hell it came from?

Posted by: RobW at January 3, 2007 04:59 AM

RobW asks the important question Who published this text? And who pushed it on the schools? Sounds like a job for TPMmuckraker

Posted by: Barry Freed at January 3, 2007 12:20 PM

And the same sort of thing is happening right now in Florida. In yesterday's Gainesville Sun, we have an article about a high school student trying to start a club for gay students. Here are the first 2 paragraphs: "The message to gays in this rural cattle town is spoken politely, sometimes with a drawl, sometimes quoting the Bible, but the meaning is anything but a hospitable Southern welcome.

High school senior Yasmin Gonzalez has been hearing it a lot lately - from kids hanging out bus windows shouting, 'Are you the one that's gay?' to the teacher who said homosexuals should die."

The TEACHER who said homosexuals should die? Is that not the most incredible thing? ARGHHH.

Posted by: Vicki at January 3, 2007 01:01 PM

High school senior Yasmin Gonzalez has been hearing it a lot lately...

Oh my, the poor thing appears to have hit the trifecta: Latina, Lesbian and possibly Muslim as well- not to mention living in Florida

Posted by: Barry Freed at January 3, 2007 06:44 PM

The two kids who came to be called the Columbine Killers were subjected to sustained bullying which was directly sanctioned by the school principal. The bullies were "jocks," popular athletes who were with the Program and brought victories to Columbine teams. The innocent victim euologizing later was bullshit, and the true story of what happened was whitewashed. The real shame was that the parents of Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris claimed to see no signs of the abject agony their children suffered every day.

Lord of the Flies social impulses are fundamental to human nature, and all they need to flourish is the slightest implicit encouragement. As a practical matter, attitudes which encourage systemic persecution are beyond the reach of law, making violent response a logical recourse. For a primer on how this works in the regular old non-religious way, give this blog post a peek:

I was an All-State football player. I participated in spontaneously persecuting and physically harrassing my classmates, and sometimes initiated it. I'm very lucky to have not gone to a school system which condoned or encouraged such behavior, as were the gay, the oddcast, and the disadvantaged children we bullied. Demonizing the muslim religion is going to spark major violence in this country.

Posted by: MarcLord at January 6, 2007 12:11 PM

My wife and I were so disgusted we did a little detective work on Google, as we plan to write the teacher a letter. It wasn't hard to figure out that the teacher was one Cindy Cunningham in the Cape Henlopen School District in Delaware. Here's the link with more details, including the court dockets

Posted by: vanya at January 6, 2007 06:38 PM

I don't think I'd be able to resist tuning up a teacher that did something like that.

I wouldn't either... but I'm lily white with no Middle Eastern or Islamic background at all. If I had I'd be damned scared to report, much less push, actions like that.

Posted by: QrazyQat at January 6, 2007 07:39 PM