Thursday, October 14

A Sad Clash of Values

This morning, I was modeling a certain language use:
"I can't stand ______." I was trying to elicit for a gerund (that's a verb w/-ing that acts like a noun in case you've forgotten!)...but this was the first, unsolicited answer: "I cant' stand gays." And this was uttered with much prosodic vitriol.

After a huge mental sputter and assessing the situation, I decided to move on, sans comment or cultural values discussion. I told this student, "Well, that's just a noun, and we're looking for a gerund..."

Other students didn't catch the exchange, because as students are wont to do, they were paying attention to their own work...distracted by their electronic dictionaries...etc.

My assessment was this: 1) no other students heard and 2) this is NOT a culture class. IF this was widely heard by the rest of the class...

...I would have stopped right then and there to try to preach a little tolerance (which, ironically, was a word that came up not 10 minutes before this exchange), even though I know some of the cultures I interact with may never eschew the hard-line, anti-homosexual stance for a variety of reasons.

Still, when issues like this have come up in the past, I have always tried to illuminate the other side of the coin to discourage continued discrimination in any form, against any population. Not trying today, in retrospect, makes me feel like the biggest asshole ever.

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