I often read news stories that cover discrimination issues. Headlines like, “Middle school teacher fired for being openly gay” and “Industry bosses openly discriminate against working mothers” are anything but hard to come by. In fact, they seem to be trending.
Go to any major online news publication and you are almost guaranteed to find a “Social Justice” column. And websites like Upworthy.com – which are a lot like Morgan Freeman’s voice (making even the most pointless stories seem meaningful) – will also deliver you up to date content on the racist, sexist, oppressive and corrupt world we live in.
I’m not completely sure why, but I find such news stories entertaining. It is likely that this is due to me having never been a victim in one – or an antagonist of one. However, before you categorize me as being morally on par with Satan, let me explain my dark humor.
About two months ago I came across an article titled, “Teacher suspended for showing class Macklemore’s ‘Same Love’ video”. For those who are not familiar with it, it is a beautifully produced video by the artist Macklemore that promotes gay and lesbian rights – but more specifically marriage equality.
The video won the 2013 MTV Video Music Award for best hip-hop video with a social message last August. And since winning that title it has been accepted as an iconic piece of art for promoting marriage equality. However, some people simply aren’t receptive to its message.
Just a few weeks after the video had won its VMA award a North Carolina schoolteacher was suspended by the school board when they learned that she had shown the music video to her students. The school argued that the suspension was due to the video not being related to their curriculum. But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that is an excuse – and that the truth is someone on that school board simply doesn’t support marriage equality.
This article has nothing to do with right or wrong – it has to do with common sense. Whether or not you should support marriage equality or any other social justice issue isn’t what’s being discussed. And even having an opinion on such issues is unnecessary to appreciate what I find humorous – because if you have ever laughed at someone for acting like an idiot, you should be able to laugh at this.
I imagine the school board meeting having gone something like this (the names are fictitious):
Bob: “Members of the board, Carol showed her class a five-minute video yesterday that supported marriage equality; I think we need to do something about this.”
Joe: “Agreed, why not suspend her from work – that surely couldn’t backfire!”
I’m no Douglas Adams when it comes to writing dialogue…but hopefully the point clear. How can the parties responsible in such discrimination cases be so incomprehensibly out of touch with contemporary culture as to not realize that every media outlet and social organization will instantly crucify them for making such a decision? A goddamn goldfish has the foresight to see that coming!
Sure enough within just three days the story spread across dozens of news networks, caught the attention of millions of readers, and the suspension was lifted after a protest by the American Civil Liberties Union. And once again, this has nothing to do with any moral position pertaining to the story – but instead the one simple question of, “did they really not see that coming?”
If you do support marriage equality, that’s great – and if you don’t, fine by me! You are free to believe in and act upon anything you like (even if that is the limiting of freedoms). However, I do suggest one thing. If you must make a decision based on a moral position that will affect anyone but yourself, why not try giving at least a moments thought to what the outcome might be? And hopefully save yourself the embarrassment of looking like a complete ass.