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  1. #1
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    IL-‘Straight Pride' shirts become free speech fight at St. Charles North

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/2...ews/711119792/

    “The reason why we wore the shirts was just to express our views,” Boi said. “People have said Ally Week is for everyone, but after Monday it was clear that it was more designed for homosexual students. We wore our shirts on Tuesday to express our views that we're straight, and we have the right to express that. But my dean told me on Tuesday, because of the people who wore the other shirts on Monday, our shirts were considered disruptive to the learning environment. To me, Ally Week itself has been disruptive. Instead of learning in class, we have to sit there and talk about all this other stuff that's happening because of Ally Week.”

    Pezzuto said it made no sense to him that he was asked to remove his shirt when other students have worn “Gay Pride” shirts in the past.
    I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it left.


  2. #2
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    See, I was with them on the free speech issue until I got to this part of the article.

    Three students Monday wore shirts to school with the words “Straight Pride” on the front and the back quoted one translation of a Biblical verse that calls homosexuality an “abomination” and says those who perform homosexual acts shall be “put to death.
    Now they just look like bigoted morons.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by angelmom View Post
    See, I was with them on the free speech issue until I got to this part of the article.



    Now they just look like bigoted morons.
    Yeah, but the students who were made to cover up their shirts, did not have the bible verse on it. All their shirts said was, "Straight Pride."

    The reason they had to cover their shirts was because the day before other students had both the verse, and "Straight Pride" written on their shirts. Those students were allowed to keep their shirts on, but mark out the verse.
    I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it left.


  4. #4
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    The students in the second group of shirt-wearers wouldn't have been told to cover them up if the condemning/threatening message hadn't been included in the first set. Wearing a shirt with the same message on the front after that was condoning the first set. (That's what I think, and I believe that's the reasoning of those involved.)

    Tuffy, I am a little surprised that you decided not to include in the OP the message on the back of the shirts. Luckily--and appropriately--Angelmom pointed that out. Did you not think it was an important part of the incident, or did you not want to emphasize it for some reason?
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tapu View Post
    The students in the second group of shirt-wearers wouldn't have been told to cover them up if the condemning/threatening message hadn't been included in the first set. Wearing a shirt with the same message on the front after that was condoning the first set. (That's what I think, and I believe that's the reasoning of those involved.)

    Tuffy, I am a little surprised that you decided not to include in the OP the message on the back of the shirts. Luckily--and appropriately--Angelmom pointed that out. Did you not think it was an important part of the incident, or did you not want to emphasize it for some reason?
    I think the school was really backwards about the whole thing. The students that had the offending message were allowed to wear their shirts, as long as the verse was scratched out. They were allowed to wear the shirts with the "Straight Pride" message still showing.

    The next day when students showed up with shirts saying only, "Straight Pride" they were made to remove their shirts.

    That's what I don't get. If "Straight Pride" is no more offensive than "Gay Pride" why not let them wear it? Or is "Straight Pride" now offensive because it had been used on the same shirt with the bible verse? If you're going to allow one, you should allow the other.

    FTR - My opinion is that the school should not allow any T-shirt messages, period. The school I taught at didn't allow any writing at all, just for this reason. The school should spend so much time and energy trying to decide what is offensive or not.
    I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it left.


  6. #6
    IMO, if the wearers of the Gay Pride shirts would have had a message regarding putting heterosexuals to death, any and all Gay Pride shirts would have been disallowed in the following days, even if the message was removed. If the Straight Pride students wouldn't have included that message on the first day, they probably would have been fine, too.

    I, too, was okay with their free speech "Straight Pride" shirts, UNTIL I saw the part about the message on the back. That's what makes it not okay. One idiot can ruin the party for everyone.

  7. #7
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    As in any of these kind of things they always have to extend to the extremes on either end of the spectrum. The farthest on the end of the left or right, aka the 2 percenters always ruin it for everyone.

    Though I will bet there were far more middle of the line appropriately behaved students who did not make the news, only the wackiest of the wacko's are newsworthy anymore.

    What a shame. I bet there could have been some great discussion among these students about difference and tolerance. Tolerance being the key point.

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  8. #8
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    I reluctantly agree that unless the school has a policy in place about wearing message t-shirts, the "Straight Pride" shirts should have been permissible in the event that they had not originally had the condemning messages on the back of the shirts. I say reluctantly because I feel that wearing the Straight Pride shirts was a thinly veiled attempt to make an inflammatory statement and editorial comment on homosexuality. After all, it's not as if straight people are ostracized, condemned and persecuted based on their sexual orientation. Would it be ok to wear "White Pride" t-shirts at school or anywhere else for that matter? I think it's safe to say that these kids are snot nosed little bigots itching for a fight. As another poster mentioned, wouldn't tolerance have been a more timely and mature message? I also have to commend the "Gay Pride" students for having the guts to make a stand and wear their shirts. Good for them.
    Last edited by animlzrule; 11-13-2010 at 09:45 PM. Reason: spelling

  9. #9
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    I have very mixed feelings on this subject, as it's a rare occasion when I don't enlist wholeheartedly on the side of freedom of speech.

    However, I'm afraid I agree that once "straight pride" had been associated with death threats, the implication became clear. As such, these shirts are precisely the proverbial "yelling fire in a crowded theater" that is not protected by the 1st Amendment. (And, frankly, shame on anyone who would wear such a shirt after the first day. I know I wouldn't.)

    Moreover, I have very mixed feelings about "majority pride" statements and the idea that they are the moral, political or free-speech equivalents of minority pride statements. (Since I'm gay, WASP and male, I fall into majorities or minorities depending on context.)

    The word "pride" in these contexts has to mean something other than its traditional meaning of a sense of accomplishment and achievement for one's actions. How can one be "proud" (in that sense) of an immutable characteristic? I might as well wear a sign that says "I'm proud I have ten toes!"

    In the context of "gay pride", "black pride", etc., the word "pride" means "I like who I am even if society as a whole doesn't, even though I am different from most people and even though many people look down on people like me." I have worn gay pride insignia in the past and that's what it meant to me.

    But what would "white pride" mean for me? "I accept that I've gotten some lucky breaks from time to time for no reason but that my skin is fair and so I fit certain cultural stereotypes of what is 'normal' and 'desirable'."

    If you ask me, that would be an odd thing to publicize.

    Worse, any sign that says, in essence, I'm "proud" to be part of the majority (whether that be straight, white, Christian, suburban, whatever) implies there is something deficient about being otherwise. And that borders on bigotry and may even be an outright statement, even if unintended, of prejudice.

    (BTW, European American (including those of us from the British Isles) have various occasions where we celebrate our Irish, Italian, German, Scot, English etc. heritages. It should be obvious that those are different contexts yet, since in none of these contexts is the celebrant claiming to be "normal" in contrast to others.)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuffy View Post
    ...FTR - My opinion is that the school should not allow any T-shirt messages, period. The school I taught at didn't allow any writing at all, just for this reason. The school should spend so much time and energy trying to decide what is offensive or not.
    I do understand your view and that of schools which ban shirts with messages on them.

    However, one of the reasons for the high rate of suicide among gay teens is that the subject is officially "unmentionable" -- except among the kids themselves where bullies are all too free to employ derogatory words and comments on the subject.

    Maybe t-shirts aren't the answer. But we have to find someway to let gay teens know they are not alone in the world, that there are not only millions of people like them, but millions more who support them and their right to be who they are, and millions beyond those who don't care one way or the other.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by animlzrule View Post
    I reluctantly agree that unless the school has a policy in place about wearing message t-shirts, the "Straight Pride" shirts should have been permissible in the event that they had not originally had the condemning messages on the back of the shirts. I say reluctantly because I feel that wearing the Straight Pride shirts was a thinly veiled attempt to make an inflammatory statement and editorial comment on homosexuality. After all, it's not as if straight people are ostracized, condemned and persecuted based on their sexual orientation. Would it be ok to wear "White Pride" t-shirts at school or anywhere else for that matter? I think it's safe to say that these kids are snot nosed little bigots itching for a fight. As another poster mentioned, wouldn't tolerance have been a more timely and mature message? I also have to commend the "Gay Pride" students for having the guts to make a stand and wear their shirts. Good for them.

    Wow, Animalz, you really bring it!

    I am very impressed by this post. I think it cuts to the heart of the matter. You have put your finger on the motives of these kids and called them out on it. I didn't have the nerve to say anything like that because, being gay, I thought I would look intolerant of straights. That's not it, though. I think it's fine if they want to wear Straight Pride shirts. But not then. (And certainly not with the condemnation message, or afterwards when it's presumed to be support of it.)

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    I have very mixed feelings on this subject, as it's a rare occasion when I don't enlist wholeheartedly on the side of freedom of speech.

    However, I'm afraid I agree that once "straight pride" had been associated with death threats, the implication became clear. As such, these shirts are precisely the proverbial "yelling fire in a crowded theater" that is not protected by the 1st Amendment. (And, frankly, shame on anyone who would wear such a shirt after the first day. I know I wouldn't.)

    Moreover, I have very mixed feelings about "majority pride" statements and the idea that they are the moral, political or free-speech equivalents of minority pride statements. (Since I'm gay, WASP and male, I fall into majorities or minorities depending on context.)

    The word "pride" in these contexts has to mean something other than its traditional meaning of a sense of accomplishment and achievement for one's actions. How can one be "proud" (in that sense) of an immutable characteristic? I might as well wear a sign that says "I'm proud I have ten toes!"

    In the context of "gay pride", "black pride", etc., the word "pride" means "I like who I am even if society as a whole doesn't, even though I am different from most people and even though many people look down on people like me." I have worn gay pride insignia in the past and that's what it meant to me.

    But what would "white pride" mean for me? "I accept that I've gotten some lucky breaks from time to time for no reason but that my skin is fair and so I fit certain cultural stereotypes of what is 'normal' and 'desirable'."

    If you ask me, that would be an odd thing to publicize.

    Worse, any sign that says, in essence, I'm "proud" to be part of the majority (whether that be straight, white, Christian, suburban, whatever) implies there is something deficient about being otherwise. And that borders on bigotry and may even be an outright statement, even if unintended, of prejudice.

    (BTW, European American (including those of us from the British Isles) have various occasions where we celebrate our Irish, Italian, German, Scot, English etc. heritages. It should be obvious that those are different contexts yet, since in none of these contexts is the celebrant claiming to be "normal" in contrast to others.)
    Excellent Post!!!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tapu View Post
    Wow, Animalz, you really bring it!

    I am very impressed by this post. I think it cuts to the heart of the matter. You have put your finger on the motives of these kids and called them out on it. I didn't have the nerve to say anything like that because, being gay, I thought I would look intolerant of straights. That's not it, though. I think it's fine if they want to wear Straight Pride shirts. But not then. (And certainly not with the condemnation message, or afterwards when it's presumed to be support of it.)

    you get tapu smiley:
    For the reasons I listed above, I'm leery of "straight pride," "white pride", etc., messages in any context.

    But I want to add that I agree with you that when not associated with out and out hate speech as in this case, I wouldn't ban such displays.



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