Letter to the Editor: Education Is Weapon Against Ignorance and Hate

By Patrick Lagua, Junior, Political Science


I am writing in response to Mike Chidester’s March 15 opinion column “Some Lessons Better Learned at Home.”

While I appreciate his point about not pushing certain points of view on people who do not want to hear them, I think his analysis of the situation is seriously narrow-minded and extremely one-sided.

As a gay teenager who grew up in this highly conservative state, to say that my high school experience was hellish would be somewhat of an understatement.

At times it almost felt like there was a conspiracy going on, especially when the algebra teacher/football coach’s favorite catch phrase to use in class was “that’s so gay” or “so and so is a fag.”

Programs like what the National Education Association is doing would have been such a welcome help. While I agree that some things should be left up to parents to teach their kids, what should we do when parents teach their kids “It’s OK to hate them, son, because they are “morally” wrong, totally abhorrent to nature.”

Mr. Chidester, I wonder if you would be saying the same things if the situation involved attempting to teach a white supremacist community about tolerance for blacks? Don’t even try to get out of that one, the situation is entirely the same. Most good values begin at home, unfortunately so does prejudice.

Most people hate and discriminate, not because they innately want to, but rather because they have been inundated and conditioned by a society that legitimizes such actions. If we start allowing stereotyping at such an early age, what else can we expect but a continuation of this sad situation? The NEA’s program would go a long way towards helping to break some of the stereotypes regarding homosexuality. We are all not pedophiles, sexually promiscuous, and we do not recruit.

Mr. Chidester do not try to confuse the issue?the political implications isn’t really what is at stake here, rather I think you’ve missed the most important point in this issue. Education is our most potent weapon against ignorance and hate. By keeping programs such as this out of schools we only perpetuate prejudice and hate. The first step in legitimizing hate is to treat the subject of such hate as inferior, either “morally,” physically or racially.

By not dispelling these dangerous myths, we only assure that such treatment of minorities will continue. Don’t confuse the issue as being a “moral” one. Morality would imply that a choice can be made by an individual with this “condition.”

I wish things were that easy, Mr. Chidester, I really do. In fact, a few years ago, if they had a gay pill I could take to correct my “condition,” I would have taken it, no questions asked.

The issue is no longer a moral one, but rather one of fairness, when an individual does not have a choice.

Tell me, Mr. Chidester, is being black a conscious “moral” choice? I didn’t think so. Did you just wake up one day and declare, “I’m going to be heterosexual today?” I didn’t think so either.

Don’t make judgments on issues you are not qualified to judge on, Mr. Chidester. I’ll accept your views when you finally have rainbow shoes on.

Patrick Lagua, Junior, Political Science