Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Those Zebra Shoes

Huffington Post has this cool story this week. Seems a little boy who is known as "Sam" picked out a pair of pink shoes to wear to his first day of preschool. His mother posted a picture of him on Facebook. His sister reposted it on a Facebook group called "Have a Gay Day" and said:
"Yesterday my mom posted a picture on Facebook of my 5-year-old brother Sam wearing a pair of shoes he picked out for his first day of preschool. She explained to him in the store that they were really made for girls. Sam then told her that he didn’t care and that 'ninjas can wear pink shoes too.'

However, my mom received about 20 comments on the photo from various family members saying how 'wrong' it is and how 'things like this will affect him socially' and, put most eloquently by my great aunt, 'that sh*t will turn him gay.'" Photograph Of Little Boy Wearing Pink Shoes To Preschool Sparks Heated Blogosphere Debate
It's interesting that there was no problem at his preschool. The other kids didn't care.

Here's the picture.

That is one happy kid!

Huffpo goes on:
The user goes on to explain that Sam liked the shoes because they were "made out of zebras," as zebras are his favorite animal: "What does it say about society when a group of adults could stand to take a lesson in humanity from a class of preschoolers?"

The photograph has since drawn over 120,000 likes and has been shared over 19,000 times.
So in the long run it turns out that the kid didn't even care that his shoes were pink. He didn't care that they were made for girls. He liked them because they had stripes, like a zebra, his favorite animal.

Pause here and think about that.

The Huffington Post goes on to quote a blog that argues that the mom should not have sent her boy to school in pink shoes -- not because it will turn him gay but because bullies will pick on him.

Everybody makes concessions to the tyranny of the mob, that's just how it is. You dress the way you have to, you watch what you say -- if everybody makes some concessions then life can be orderly, it is not inherently evil to sacrifice some of your personal self-expression for the greater good. We have freedom to do whatever we want but do not have freedom from the consequences of our behavior, and the result of that is that we obey social norms, in part, as a way to arrange for more positive consequences for ourselves.

The wise individual negotiates with the public that surrounds him or her and finds ways to experience life fully, to participate in a satisfying way, to communicate honestly and completely. It can be done. Everybody wants to be happy, and generally people will support one another's quests for happiness.

A coward gives the crowd control over his or her own personal satisfaction, deprives the self out of fear of consequences administered by the other. This kid wore his zebra shoes to school and his picture has been posted on the Internet 19,000 times, as of the writing of the Huffpo piece. Everybody loves that picture, they love that happy kid -- they love the shoes.

What kind of person would actually advise that this is wrong, because some other kids might not approve?

11 Comments:

Anonymous Robert said...

Hate is learned.

December 12, 2012 12:09 PM  
Blogger Patrick Fitzgerald said...

That picture is pitch perfect.

December 13, 2012 6:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

boooring!

just like improv!

December 14, 2012 6:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why it's Anon back from his "the GOP got its ass whooped" hiatus.

Now he says he finds some comments "boooring!" but he can't manage stay away from the object of his obsession, the Vigilance blog, or stop himself from insulting people.

You and your kind define "boooring" and "defeated."

The G.O.P.’s Existential Crisis

"...Since the 1970s, the Republican Party has fallen increasingly under the influence of radical ideologues, whose goal is nothing less than the elimination of the welfare state — that is, the whole legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society. From the beginning, however, these ideologues have had a big problem: The programs they want to kill are very popular. Americans may nod their heads when you attack big government in the abstract, but they strongly support Social Security, Medicare, and even Medicaid. So what’s a radical to do?

The answer, for a long time, has involved two strategies. One is “starve the beast,” the idea of using tax cuts to reduce government revenue, then using the resulting lack of funds to force cuts in popular social programs. Whenever you see some Republican politician piously denouncing federal red ink, always remember that, for decades, the G.O.P. has seen budget deficits as a feature, not a bug.

Arguably more important in conservative thinking, however, was the notion that the G.O.P. could exploit other sources of strength — white resentment, working-class dislike of social change, tough talk on national security — to build overwhelming political dominance, at which point the dismantling of the welfare state could proceed freely. Just eight years ago, Grover Norquist, the antitax activist, looked forward cheerfully to the days when Democrats would be politically neutered: “Any farmer will tell you that certain animals run around and are unpleasant, but when they’ve been fixed, then they are happy and sedate.”

O.K., you see the problem: Democrats didn’t go along with the program, and refused to give up. Worse, from the Republican point of view, all of their party’s sources of strength have turned into weaknesses. Democratic dominance among Hispanics has overshadowed Republican dominance among southern whites; women’s rights have trumped the politics of abortion and antigay sentiment; and guess who finally did get Osama bin Laden.

And look at where we are now in terms of the welfare state: far from killing it, Republicans now have to watch as Mr. Obama implements the biggest expansion of social insurance since the creation of Medicare.

So Republicans have suffered more than an election defeat, they’ve seen the collapse of a decades-long project. And with their grandiose goals now out of reach, they literally have no idea what they want — hence their inability to make specific demands.

It’s a dangerous situation. The G.O.P. is lost and rudderless, bitter and angry, but it still controls the House and, therefore, retains the ability to do a lot of harm, as it lashes out in the death throes of the conservative dream.

Our best hope is that business interests will use their influence to limit the damage. But the odds are that the next few years will be very, very ugly.


Just the way Anon likes it.

December 14, 2012 9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone tell me again why it is far easier to get your hands on an assault rifle than affordable mental health care in this country?

December 16, 2012 5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's an easy one to answer.

The NRA.

December 17, 2012 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But the odds are that the next few years will be very, very ugly."

indeed

Obama is determined to destroy our economy and our standing in the world so we'll all be dependent on the government and socialism will become inevitable

"Can someone tell me again why it is far easier to get your hands on an assault rifle than affordable mental health care in this country?"

it's because civil rights organizations have made it close to impossible to commit dangerous people to institutions

virtually all of the incidents of mass violence over the last few years have been committed by people who once would have been off the streets

it's also the reason for most of the homelesness in America

people who can't cope with life because of mental disabilities are left on their own

December 17, 2012 1:02 PM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

Over on another thread, Myopic Anon claimed:

“it's because civil rights organizations have made it close to impossible to commit dangerous people to institutions

virtually all of the incidents of mass violence over the last few years have been committed by people who once would have been off the streets

it's also the reason for most of the homelesness (sic) in America

people who can't cope with life because of mental disabilities are left on their own”

It’s amazing how you can always find a liberal whipping boy to explain all of our society’s problems.

Open your eyes a little wider and see what the big picture is.

Over at http://www.sociology.org/content/vol003.004/thomas.html
is an interesting article by Alexandar Thomas called “Ronald Reagan and the Commitment of the Mentally Ill: Capital, Interest Groups, and the Eclipse of Social Policy” written in 1998.

While it is true that the ACLU had its small roll to play in making sure that people who were involuntarily committed received their due process before their freedoms were taken away by the state, that fact is all but irrelevant given that the system of state and federal mental health institutions has been systematically gutted in order to reduce the tax burden. So even if the ACLU laws were NOT passed, there would still be no place to send these people.

So the question is, if you want to see these people cared for in a way that is safe for them and society, who is going to pay for it? How much should we raise taxes to do so? Can we get enough money from imposing a “Psycho Tax” on bullets and guns? How much does it cost to house a mentally ill adult for a lifetime? Do you expect him or his family to pay for it?

From the discussion section of the aforementioned article, which includes an interesting history showing the first steps we took as a nation to become the nearly bankrupt plutocracy we are today:

“The net result of federal abdication of responsibility, the push to state orientated programs (often underfunded), the dis-organization of groups, and the confluence of public interests (in crime prevention and fiscal restraint) with state goals, were reforms that only marginally addressed the real concerns of stakeholders and that ultimately benefitted capital by reducing the cost of social safety net. To be sure, the shift in policies dealing with involuntary commitment emerged from larger social issues. By the middle of the 1970s, groups representing the mentally ill, their families, and those who cared for them had reached a consensus on the need for reform. This culminated in the passage of the Mental Health Systems Act. This implementation, though not without its problems, was seen as a progressive step forward. However the costs of these reforms were unacceptable in the new neoconservative climate and ran counter to the interests of capital. Reagan, who never presumed to support social policy, promised to cut federal spending and ensure a "favorable business climate." So under Reagan the new law was rescinded. This signaled that for Reagan's administration, social policy was of lower priority than fiscal policy. After this act, the interest groups would need to settle for piecemeal reforms within the limitations of the administration's desire for low cost reform measures.

The "New Federalism" served as justification for relaxed federal "interference" in state issues, including mental health policy. The business community was facing a crisis of accumulation, and a shift in the political economy was perceived as necessary to guarantee adequate profit. With the abdication of the federal government, mental health policy was almost entirely in the province of the individual states.”

December 18, 2012 10:32 AM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

(Quote continued):

“A survey of initiatives shows that they came primarily from individual state legislatures, and thus varied according to state (Peters et al, 1987; LaFond and Durham, 1992). The procedures for commitment of the mentally ill accordingly vary by state. Many states have adopted outpatient commitment as an alternative to inpatient care, and this policy has met with mixed results. 4 Many state hospitals have been closed, and many others are facing the possibility. Debate around mental health policy is still, to a large degree, concentrated around issues of deinstitutionalization and reinstitutionalization and the relative merits of each.5 Sadly, professional groups with opposing interests have stalled the implementation of a comprehensive mental health policy in most states (Becker, 1993; Wilson, 1993).

Under the Reagan Administration, groups and individuals who had hoped for a change found that the federal government did very little to effect a change. The appointment of conservative justices for the federal court system was a part of the "law and or der" platform advocated by the administration and thus was never intended to have a direct effect on procedures regarding involuntary commitment or any other aspect of mental health policy.

Perhaps what is most interesting about the change in policies of involuntary commitment is the coalition that helped bring it about: a combination of "law and order" conservatives, economic conservatives, and liberal groups that sought reform in the provision of mental health services. But the policy shift had hardly anything at all to do with the mentally ill or the practitioners who treated them. It was designed to lower taxes and shift responsibility away from the federal government. Ironically then, the need for reform perceived by those involved and concerned with the mentally ill (practitioners and families) was co-opted by the interests of capital.

Reagan's social policy is best seen as an abdication. Reagan's economic policy was to adjust government regulation so that it favored business once again, and social policy was merely an outgrowth of this larger issue. While family groups and professional groups and patient groups did clamor for respect, the real struggle was between the state and the business community. Reagan worked to lessen the tax load for the rich, and the social policies were meant to match this goal. Business needed a more favorable corporate climate, and Reagan worked to that end. The coalitions that were necessary for election were either gratified (the elderly) or abandoned (the poor). As for the mentally ill, certain changes that their families and practitioners wanted were gained, and the administration pointed this out. Even though these changes came about primarily through state governments and the courts, the Administration would take credit. All in all, business interests were served. Families and doctors were appease d. Patients were forgotten.”

Have a nice day,

Cynthia

December 18, 2012 10:34 AM  
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