Thursday, October 28, 2010

Arkansas school district official makes anti-gay remarks on own Facebook page

An elected school district official (Clint McCance) in Arkansas wrote anti-gay comments on his own Facebook page recently, and the Arkansas Department of Education had to condemn his comments.

Anderson Cooper covered this incident on his CNN 360 program Wednesday night and tweeted about the incident then.

The posting reportedly used inappropriate and hostile language. He did say that he would disown any gay children of his own, which sounds like he expects his kids to give him heirs (behavior recently displayed by the Stefano character in a "Days of our Lives" episode and commonly shown in soap operas by networks, perhaps as "normal").

As with a recent incident involving a Michigan assistant attorney general, the behavior of elected or appointed public officials expressing their own negative views on line (in this case, about gay people but as a principle, about any group) is becoming itself a public policy issue regarding online speech. Needless to say, there would also be issues with Facebook's own terms of service.

There is a Facebook group urging the firing of McCance here.

Update: later Thursday Oct. 28

Washington DC/Arlington VA ABC Affiliate WJLA-7 did a report on anti-gay bullying in local high schools, with two students, at about 5:45 PM today. The link for the story does not appear yet.  As it was for me in junior high school in the 1950s (but not high school for me), boys who are less physically "competitive" are more likely to become victims. In the adult male world, the stereotypes about appearance, manner and demeanor disappear, certainly during the college years.

Also, in thinking about the Rutgers tragedy (yesterday's posting) I thought about the years that I lived in Minneapolis (1997-2003), and often visited the University of Minnesota campus there, through connections to both the Libertarian party and LGBT groups (as well as film festivals).   I never detected anti-gay attitudes at all.  I had thought that at mainstream state campuses, things were generally much better than when I went to college in the early and mid 1960s.

Update: Oct. 29:  Media reports indicate that McCance has volunarily resigned.

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