Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Stella Morabito tries to explain how anti-bullying programs create more bullying

Boil, boil toil and trouble. Fire burn and caldron bubble
About 2½ years ago Stella Morabito claimed that the goal — the real purpose — of marriage equality was to abolish the institution of marriage entirely. Morabito has not kept us apprised of our progress in that regard. More recently the conspiracy theorist has explained that the real purpose of the LGBT agenda was to silence dissent. Now Morabito, through the Federalist outlet, informs us about anti-bullying programs, which she does not like:  Her inspiration is titled “Why Anti-Bullying Programs Will Cause More Bullying.

Morabito's rambling polemic interchanges nondiscrimination ordinances with anti-bullying programs. This woman needs a proctologist.

It takes Morabito quite a few keystrokes to get to the point and when she does she is in error:
Even now, playgrounds and school hallways across the nation are echoing with insults and cruelties that will largely go unnoticed—or, just as often, be tolerated by the adults in charge. Modern anti-discrimination laws seek to protect students against such bullying on the basis of factors such as race, national origin, sex, and disability.
Adults should not tolerate such conduct. Not in a civil society. Anti-discrimination laws have absolutely nothing to do with bullying. They protect people from, well … discrimination, usually in employment, housing and public accommodations. Here — have another helping of bullshit:
Gay or transgender students receive even higher levels of attention, thanks to the alliance between powerful LBGT lobbies and the federal government. President Obama’s administration has displayed a single-minded devotion to this specific area of discrimination with his personal endorsement of the “It Gets Better Project,” which offers special insulation to students who identify as gay or transgender.
Our Defender of the Faith should just say “special rights.” Ugh. The objective is for LGBT bullying to be no more acceptable than bullying based upon race, religion, national origin, gender or disability. This would not be necessary were it not for Christian parents who not only pass on ignorance and intolerance but sometimes encourage it. As for “It Gets Better,” the project has little to do with anti-bullying programs and nondiscrimination actions. Rather, its purpose is to build the self-esteem of LGBT children. It is not part of some sinister conspiracy between Obama, the government and LGBT activists. As for Morabito, she gets worse:
At first glance it may seem these special protections help students. But the problem with such anti-bullying programs is that they depend on dividing and labeling children into categories. Children can sense the disparate levels of treatment proffered to them according to their outward appearance or political categorization—and this is not a good thing.
None of these people, including Morabito, ever complained about anti-bullying programs until they included LGBT kids. And no, they most certainly do not depend upon categorizing children. Nor, for that matter, are there disparate levels of treatment that children can sense. For the kids it's nothing more than basic civics; teaching them about equality and tolerance at an early age. For adults it is a bit more complex. In addition to being taught what to watch for, they are taught to identify children who are the target of bullying and to identify the bullies. Both require counseling. There is no reason whatsoever for one more child to die because they were teased to insanity.

In 13-year-old Daniel Fitzpatrick's suicide note he wrote “I gave up” after his school, Holy Angels Catholic Academy, “didn't do anything” to stop the bullying. I am certain that Morabito will defend the school.
Rather than promoting an overarching ethic that respects human dignity across the board, anti-discrimination laws (ironically) divide and discriminate. They don’t allow us to point to the Golden Rule, which commands us to treat others as we would like to be treated, with an understanding that we all share a common humanity. Instead, they encourage separatism and impede friendship.
Throughout this piece, Morabito maddeningly mixes nondiscrimination laws with anti-bullying programs. This is hard enough without her being unfocused.  Nondiscrimination laws define protected classes for legal purposes but they do not divide us. Morabito's proposition is outrageously stupid.
Today’s Anti-Bullying Policies Help Bullies Pick Their Targets

Today’s grievance culture has killed the spirit of the civil rights movement. Civil rights leaders intended to provide equal protection under the law to all people—but today’s establishment carves out protections on the basis of increasingly narrow demographic criteria. Modern anti-discrimination law compartmentalizes people into cubbyholes promoted by intersectionality theorists, and both media propaganda and celebrity messaging reinforce and support these classifications.
Translation. “This was all fine when it was about race or religion but adding the gays got things all fucked up.” It is preposterous, if not insane, to suggest that anti-bullying programs help bullies choose targets. Hopefully we can instill in children the understanding that bullying is wrong regardless of who the target is. Once again, is Morabito writing about anti-bullying or nondiscrimination laws? Apparently she is unable to differentiate between the two.
…If you survey the vast array of privilege workshops mushrooming on college campuses—extracting Maoist-style confessions from clueless kids who basically repent of having happy childhoods—it becomes clear that anti-discrimination policies do not bring people together. Quite the opposite.
I give up.
Adults Force Children Into An Identity Labyrinth
[…]
But today’s identity politics dismantle this innocent outlook. Children learn instead to obsess about their skin color, genitalia, clothes, or class status. Identity politics force them to navigate a scary labyrinth in which any move deemed “wrong” by the establishment results in marginalization.
Morabito is intentionally over-complicating all of this. Teaching kids to be kind requires some understanding of what kindness is and instilling in them the notion that being identified as kind elevates them above being identified as a bully. Bullies suffer long term psychological consequences similar to the kids being bullied.

It used to be necessary (perhaps it still is) to teach children that their Black classmates had the same intellectual potential that they have. We have made some progress in that area. It used to be necessary (perhaps it still is) to teach children that their Jewish classmates weren't devilish Christ killers out to steal their lunch money. Some parents make it necessary to teach children that their gay classmates aren't evil little perverts intend on recruiting them into an unhealthy lifestyle. It would be nice if we could teach kids that transgender children aren't sick, confused or pretending. That likely scares the living shit out of Morabito.

Teaching children about bullying is often about teaching them about stereotyping. Good citizenship starts at a young age. Here, have another helping. Yum, good:
This labyrinthine system is perfect for bullies: they can easily see who is fair game and who is not. For example: if a child comes from a traditional Christian home, public school policy increasingly dictates labeling her family bigots. It doesn’t matter if the child minds her own business, is friendly to others, and sees the world “heart-filled, head-filled with glee.” New forms of anti-discrimination policy focus a bull’s eye on her demographic, and by extension, on her. By painting her as a bigot and distancing her from her peers, bullies believe at some level that they are merely validating school policy.
This is such utter nonsense. What Morabito is saying is that some children are predisposed to being bullies and teaching the value of kindness has no effect on them. Then, because they are bullies, teaching them that black kids are their intellectual equal will cause them to bully black kids.  Were that the case (which I doubt) then identifying these children for counseling is a good thing. But then we get to the Christian as bigot victimhood. Oh, how refreshing. This is all about gay kids and teaching children not to prejudge them. That is not teaching them that their parents are bigots (even if they are).  Christian children do not become targets for abuse because we teach them not to bully gay and transgender kids.

At Apple, Inc. it is probably detrimental to one's career to run around the office with a Bible screaming “death to homosexuals.” That person will be fired, not for his Christian beliefs, but for his disruptive conduct. Of course he'll hire Mat Staver who will claim otherwise, sue Apple and lose the case. But I digress. The same thing goes for  the playground. People are free to believe as they choose. However, no matter how devout one's family is, running around to the gay kids in school while shouting passages from Leviticus is disruptive and it is bullying. It is not the beliefs of the child or his family that create a problem. Rather, it is the child's conduct. That conduct is unkind and the child deserves to know why it is unkind and that is what is at the core of anti-bullying programs. Remember that bullies benefit from counseling too.
It Isn’t ‘Getting Better’

… the suicide rate has risen for youth, suggesting that kids feel more isolated and lonely than ever. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for age groups 10-14 and 15-24, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC’s latest report on suicide statistics in the United States (1999-2014) notes that the highest rate increase among females in the US occurred in the age group 10-14. Since those are prime middle school years, we can’t avoid the possibility that peer dynamics are a factor.
I don't want to make a literature review out of this because I do not think that suicide rates are a metric of the success of anti-bullying programs. Looking at the CDC data, there is a significant problem with young girls. We do not know, we cannot know, what the numbers would look like without anti-bullying programs.

The bottom line is found through common sense. Are anti-bullying initiatives likely to increase or decrease suicide rates among teens? Morabito is suggesting that anti-bullying programs are contributing to teen isolation. I cannot find a single piece of peer reviewed research that would concur. Indeed a 2015 peer reviewed article in the American Psychologist notes the “growing body of evidence” of the long term consequences to both bullies and the bullied:
Given a growing body of evidence on the concurrent and long-term consequences of bullying for both bullies (see Rodkin et al., 2015) and victims (see McDougall & Vaillancourt, 2015), considerable emphasis has been placed on finding the most effective ways to address bullying, clinically, legally, and educationally.
As stunningly surprising as it may be, nowhere in this five page report can I find any notion that anti-bullying programs are creating more bullying. Imagine that. Later on and in conclusion:
Sadly, what most people recall most about their school years is the socialization process they went through. Perhaps they enjoyed a circle of friends with whom they fit in, but all too often schools foster an atmosphere in which students endure a litany of degrading incidents. Many school administrators magnify the problem by allowing identity politics, political correctness, and cliques to separate students.

Like it or not, our schools are breeding grounds for all manner of neuroses. And we all pay the price.
What can I write that I haven't already written? Morabito never provides any ev-i-dence that anti-bullying programs cause more bullying which is the promise in the title of this piece. It is a promise that goes unfulfilled. How many brain cells died for me to find this out?

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