A humble little blog about books, information, and other things that are good to know.

Posts tagged ‘anti-bullying’

Catholic Students and Gay-Straight Alliances

Archbishop of Toronto, Thomas Cardinal Collins

Image via National Post.

Today’s episode of Ontario Today on CBC radio featured an interview with Catholic Archbishop Thomas Collins, who argues that anti-bullying legislation giving students the right to form gay-straight alliances infringes on freedom of religion. It’s less than fifteen minutes long and well worth listening to, primarily because of the way Collins deals with the question of Catholic doctrinal objections to homosexuality and whether those are at the root of his objection to GSAs.

Because he doesn’t.

It’s a bit of amusing to listen to him straining so hard to avoid the very blatant question, “Is this really about Catholic teachings on sexuality?” It really obviously is. You can’t complain that gay-straight alliances infringe on Catholic religious freedom without calling attention to the fact that Catholicism is very much against homosexuality. But gosh darn it, he sure does try.

In order to skirt the issue of church teaching on homosexuality, Collins essentially invents a made-up world in which the government forces GSAs on schools that don’t want any, while non-LGBT victims of bullying get ignored in favour of the glamorous gay kids. Then he describes what he finds objectionable about that scenario. He’s right. That’s a horrible way to combat bullying . . . but it’s got nothing to do with what is actually being proposed.

(more…)

Slacktivism: What Good Are Silly Facebook Memes?

Change your default Facebook picture to a cartoon from your childhood. The goal? To not see a human face on facebook until Monday the 6th of Dec. Join the fight against child abuse, and invite your friends to do the same.

That’s the latest cause on Facebook, and it’s got traction – not because people think this helps to fight child abuse, I rather suspect, but because we have such fond nostalgic memories of the cartoons we watched as kids. I chose a picture from Rainbow Brite – maybe I’m supporting abused gay children? Hard to say. But it’s been super-fun, and in some cases rather educational, to check out what TV shows others choose to represent themselves online.

My profile picture on Facebook - Rainbow Brite and Friends

Image via TV Tropes.

But are any of us really “joining the fight against child abuse”? Well, not really. I’d wager we’d all be willing to make a statement about how wrong it is – after all, child abuse isn’t one of those things people tend to stick up for. Even abusers would probably speak against it, justifying their own behaviour towards children by saying it’s “discipline” or “tough love”, not “abuse”. And like I said, most people aren’t really making a statement about child abuse. This is a fun Facebook game.

My good friend Drumrider wrote about this back in October, when the Facebook charity causes were breast cancer (through the bra colours meme or “I like it on the floor”) and supporting gay kids against bullying (where we showed our solidarity by wearing purple). In her post, she asks, “Did wearing purple make a difference?” and largely concludes that it did not. She references the Malcolm Gladwell concept of “slacktivism” – a passive kind of activism where Internet users can substitute changing a status here or a profile picture there for actual substantive work towards change. They can then say, “Well, I did my duty, I raised awareness” and go to bed with a clear conscience, even though they’ve actually made no real difference at all.

Have they?

(more…)

Tag Cloud