Censoring Topics That Make You Feel Bad

When I was in the seventh grade, I was in a theatre class that was supposed to perform “The Diary of Anne Frank.” As the only Jewish kid in class and one of only a handful of Jewish families with children in town, I was looking forward to participating. But after reading through the play in our class, my theatre teacher said that the play was “too sad for the Christmas season” and we instead performed a silly Christmas show.

The message I received that day is the same message I hear from the straight white parents trying to oppose LGBTQ content and critical race theory in both our town and across the country: “Your identity doesn’t matter. Your struggles, your history, the history of your people does not matter, because it makes me feel bad. It makes me feel bad to be part of a group of people that has hurt yours, and therefore I do not want children to be exposed to those parts of reality.”

It is the most harmful, selfish, close-minded and perhaps downright malicious point of view I have ever experienced. To demand that your children be sheltered from the real lives and histories of people just because they make you uncomfortable is reprehensible.

For one thing, it is not wrong to feel uncomfortable when talking about issues such as racism, antisemitism, and homophobia. In fact, “uncomfortable” is probably the correct response. It should make you uncomfortable to hear about people in crisis. Not every facet of history is positive, nor should it be. “Being uncomfortable” means you understand the depth of the issues, and you understand the harm that has been brought to people.

But rather than making the issue about how uncomfortable you feel, you should seek to do something about the problems of history. Rather than refusing to let your children learn about racism because it makes you feel bad, find ways to solve racism in your personal life. Rather than refusing to let your children learn about the LGBTQ community because you don’t understand it, spend some time learning about the community so you know enough to educate your children. If you respond to everything that makes you uncomfortable by hiding from it, you will be hiding every day of your life.

There is also a grave misunderstanding about how topics like Black and LGBTQ history will be taught to children. I promise you, nobody is going to go to a kindergarten class and show them porn, or give graphic descriptions of slavery. Open-minded conversations at that age will likely be as simple as an ABCs book having more children of color featured in it. Heavier topics will be reserved for children at appropriate ages to learn of such things: for example, many of my fellow students did not start discussing slavery until at least sixth grade.

If you truly don’t want your children to learn about the injustices that white people have done to people of color or the LGBTQ community, then homeschool them. (Perhaps the work will give you insight to the struggles of teachers in this country.) Lock them away in your home, away from the real world, if you are so concerned about them learning things that make your people look bad. And when they grow up and discover the truth, they will wonder why you didn’t teach them all of your history. They will wonder what you had to hide. And they will decide – whether you like it or not – whether to stay close-minded like their parents, or expand their horizons and become a reasonable, well-rounded person.

I’ll leave you with a bit of the scripture I know y’all goyim love to throw around to make your points: Simeon ben Zoma would say, “Who is wise? He who learns from every man, as it is said: ‘From all who taught me I have gained understanding’ (Psalms 199:99).” I believe the parents driving these campaigns could stand to benefit from the teachings of every man, even if those teachings make them uncomfortable.

Categories: Opinion

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