Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Letter to Dan Burton

My aunt sent an email today describing a bill coming up in the US House of Representatives. I decided to send a letter to my representative, Mr. Burton. Here it is:

I urge you to vote no on ENDA, H.R. 3685. If this bill were passed into law, it would violate the consciences of people like me. I am currently a student, and while I'm not in a hiring/firing role as of yet, I have been on the other side of the interviewing table. What bills such as this one seem to forget is that a person hiring for a job must be selective. Some jobs can only be done by certain individuals. A person who is not fit for one job may be fit for another.
For example, as a teenager I worked with kids in a summer program for about 6 years. I understand how kids, especially younger kids, believe much of what a person in authority tells them. Because of this vulnerability, kids need to be protected. Different people (parents and child caregivers) have different standards on what they want their kids to be exposed to, and those businesses which deal with childcare should have the ability to make hiring decisions based on those standards.
Before I was hired for my summer job with kids, I had to have a background check cleared. If a person applying for this same job had had a past history of molesting children, they would not be eligible for this type of job. Why? Because there would be significant risks involved in hiring such a person -- that person might become a repeat offender.
The person in the hiring role has a significant responsibility in selectively determining who would and who would not be suited for the job they are filling. In our society, it is at least recognized that child molesters are not typically suited for jobs involving childcare. But what about a more grey area: hiring a lesbian for a job involving childcare.
Previously I mentioned that parents and child caregivers can have different standards when it comes to their children's exposure. Some parents and caregivers would invite exposure to lesbian workers while others would prefer that their child not be cared for by someone who was lesbian. Shouldn't a childcare provider be able to respect their own beliefs, and the preferences of the parents whose children they are caring for?
The reality is that many people involved in "alternative lifestyles" are very eager to recruit others to join with them. Some parents realize that a child of five is not ready to handle questions such as "do I want to be a lesbian?"
Forcing any individual to hire someone against their conscience is a grave error.
Thank you for taking the time to read this email.
God bless you

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Chief and the Tree

I received an email this morning inviting me (and many other students) to a Town Hall meeting this month to discuss sterotype themed parties here at UIUC.

This leads me to wonder: how has getting rid of the Chief at UIUC solved any racial issues?

Getting rid of the Chief seems to be about as effective as cutting down what some referred to as the "white" tree in Jena, LA.

Take it or leave it, this is how I see it:

1. A problem is noticed.
2. The problem seems too big or incomprehensible to solve at once, but the public demands action.
3. To quell murmurings, a school administration takes action in a highprofile (but useless) manner.
4. Congratulations abound from some quarters that "the problem is taken care of."
5. The problem continues because the action taken does nothing to alleviate the situation.

On the UIUC campus, I have yet to see that abolishing the school mascot has improved anything. I believe that those calling for his removal at the Town Hall meeting on the UIUC campus were simply pushing to see what they could accomplish by complaining loudly enough.

In changing such a highprofile aspect of the school, I believe school administrators were trying to show publicly that they are willing to make changes on this campus.

A similar motivation might have led the school administration in Jena, LA to cut down the "white tree" on the school grounds. While concerned parents were not holding town meetings pressuring the school to cut down the tree, the administrators might have hoped that such public action would send a positive message.

But are the Chief and the tree simply decoys that we have conveniently directed our emotions against?

Is there a deeper, more fundamental problem with our thinking that is leading to white/black divisions in our society?

With the Chief gone, it is harder to say that the school supports racial profiling. With the tree gone, no more nooses can be hung from it. But have these public amputations done anything to change individual hearts and minds? Do these drastic and largely useless actions indicate that many school administrations have no solution to racial profiling and racial conflicts?

Pummelling highprofile decoys will not alleviate problems. The core problem must be addressed. "Racial" unification cannot be based on evolutionary principles or baseless appeals to love your brother: it can be based on Christ's love and God's purpose.