Friday, March 05, 2010

Diversity's Not A Drag

This article from the Star Tribune explains that not all blacks who make history are welcome during black history month:

During a Feb. 26 parade in the school playground honoring Black History Month, some youngsters carried photos of Simpson, RuPaul and Rodman while others displayed more conventional role models such as President Barack Obama and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Essentially, the principal of this Los Angelis school is very upset that during a black history parade, 1st, 2nd and 4th grade children carried pictures of certain unapproved blacks who made history. Unapproved by the NAACP, who complained to the school district.

The district has suspended three white male teachers that they claim were responsible for, "questionable decisions were made in the selection of noteworthy African-American role models," according to principal Lorraine Abner.

At first glance, one might agree that inclusion of convicted felon and acquitted murder suspect OJ Simpson is a questionable decision. However, Simpson's name was on a list of approved persons for the school district's Black History Month activities. The district admitted that they hadn't updated the list since 1985, prior to Simpson's controversial actions.

The fact that Simpson was on the list published in 1985 means that sports figures were included. Dennis Rodman was a multiple time NBA rebounding champion with a handful of NBA championships in his career. He was also known as an eccentric personality and for occasionally wearing a wedding gown and other items of women's clothing. There is no doubt that Rupaul is the world's best known cross dresser, and is known as a pioneer in transgender performances.

I am surprised that the same people who champion diversity based on the color of one's skin cringe at the ide of diversity across male/female gender roles. That those who hail Jackie Robinson as the first to break a color barrier in one popular form of entertainment would scorn someone like Rupaul, who broke ground in a different form of entertainment.

The whole attitude seems discriminatory.

It would be interesting to know what black figures were on the approved list, besides President Obama and Dr. King. Were any rappers known for violent lyrics or musicians with drug problems on the list? Anyone who's ever uttered a public slur or committed violence against women? How about Congressman Charles Rangel, who'se accused of major ethics violations.

As our friend Jay B says, the game of diversity-based rock, paper, scissors is a fascinating thing.