NOTE: I must have been completely out of my mind when reading this piece at Verum Serum. I completely misinterpreted their argument, and inserted all sorts of venom and vitriol into it that wasn’t there. I’m not one to cover up mistakes, so the post stays as-was-written. I’ve since made an apology–I NEEDED to–and it can be found HERE.
I’m so sorry, again. I know you expect better of me.
Assigned Reading: Safe Schools Czar: ‘Killing Someone Who Calls You a Faggot is not Aberrant Behavior…’
(FROM: Verum Serum)
A great catch and even better write up from the folks at Verum Serum about Obama administration ‘Safe Schools Czar’ Kevin Jennings who, in just the past two weeks or so, has been facing questions about how he mentioned in a speech that he had been inspired by NAMBLA advocate Henry Hay, and how as a school official he condoned a sexual relationship between a 16-year-old boy and an older man.
This time around, Verum Serum dug up a 1998 article in The Advocate in which Jennings actually excused murder as a response to anti-gay slurs. No joke. Here’s the full quote from Jennings in the 1998 piece:
We need to own up to the fact that our culture teaches boys that being “a man” is the most important thing in life, even if you have to kill someone to prove it. Killing someone who calls you a faggot is not aberrant behavior but merely the most extreme expression of a belief that is beaten (sometimes literally) into boys at an early age in this country: Be a man – don’t be a faggot.
As Suzanne Pharr so eloquently explained in her landmark work Homophobia: A Weapon of Sexism, antigay bigotry is inextricably intertwined with the maintenance of “proper” gender roles by which little girls are supposed to be “sugar and spice and everything nice” and boys are supposed to be, well, quite the opposite. When boys take up guns to kill those who torment them with words like “faggot,” we shouldn’t be surprised. They’re just doing what we have taught them to do.
And, because I have neither the time nor the ability at this point to do a better job explaining this than the folks over at Verum Serum, here’s what was said there:
You can read the entire article here – it was originally published in the Advocate in 1998. Jennings wrote this in response to a series of school shootings where, he claims, homophobic harassment was a prime motivator for the violence. But don’t be confused by this – the three “victims” of this harassment were actually the perpetrators of the crimes, which included the murder of seven students and teachers.
And so what’s even more outrageous than the statements above is that Jennings’ sympathies seem to be with the young men who shot and murdered their fellow students. Because they were “just doing what we have taught them to do” in response to being called a “faggot”.
Now look, I think harassment and bullying is a real problem, and schools should aggressively enforce a no tolerance policy with this sort of thing. And cases like these cited by Jennings are real tragedies.
But to suggest that this sort of violence is a direct consequence of the teaching of traditional gender roles in society is just completely outrageous. Even assuming Jennings has the facts right in these cases, how many kids around the country are taunted every year with terms such as “faggot”, or worse, without responding with this level of violence? Whatever that number is, I’d wager that there is an even greater number of children who have been taught traditional gender roles and yet have never directed a gay slur at someone in their life.
I honestly can think of no reasonable explanation for statements such as these from Jennings. And I don’t think he should be given a pass because they were from 10 years ago. Comments like these suggest the existence of beliefs on his part that are just way, way outside the norm of mainstream America.
When news of Jennings’ earlier indiscretions were brought up, the administration and the left had a quiver of excuses, and employed them one at a time. But I’m with the folks at Verum Serum — there is no reasonable explanation for this whatsoever.
Furthermore, how much more do we need before Congress gets involved and really begins to look at the process by which presidents can name these executive appointees? How much more do we need before deciding to really take a hard look at the character of the people serving alongside President Barack Obama in his administration?
Meanwhile, this news comes out only a few days after the House passed a hate crimes bill, something I have several issues with. First, there’s already a motivational component in criminal law. It’s called mens rea, and translated from the Latin it essentially boils down to “guilty mind.” For a particular act to be considered a criminal act, there must be actus reus (the action) and mens rea (a guilty mind). Therefore, to say that there must be weight placed on the motivation behind a criminal’s actions is redundant, as the mechanism for that is already there. Second, the hate crimes legislation is biased toward everybody but straight, white Christian males. If a white man beats a black man, it’s a hate crime. If a straight man beats up a gay man, it’s a hate crime. But when Obama administration Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings advocates KILLING somebody in response to a tasteless anti-gay slur, it’s suddenly okay.
Kevin Jennings needs to resign. Now.