big brother racism

Gay Character in Kids Book Causes Kerfuffle

Gay Character in Kids Book Causes Kerfuffle

Just when we see a positive gay character in a kids book, the heavens explode and all the adult content warning labels come out. From what I gather, Better Nate than Ever isn’t a gay book, but there’s minor sub-plot that deals with coming of age and the character is starting to realize he’s attracted to boys and he’s not certain why. (I think any gay man alive can relate to that feeling.)

And then librarians started pulling the book. After that, in a blog post, an amateur book reviewer who is a Christ Follower gave the book a good review, but also put a warning on the book stating that it contains homosexuality in a positive manner…as if that’s grounds alone for a warning label.

This what the blogger said:

  • Throughout the story, Nate slowly realizes that he might be interested in men. You might want to have a conversation with your child about what your family believes about sexuality and specifically about homosexuality.
  • This isn’t all that unfamiliar to me. I know there are web sites that classify anything with LGBT content with warnings about adult content…yes, even if the book doesn’t contain sex scenes and it’s completely g-rated material. Author Alex Beecroft wrote a post about this topic not too long ago in a way that I found interesting and well executed. Just the fact that there’s a gay character in a book makes it adults only, as if kids aren’t gay. Trust me, Mrs. Kids Book reviewer, I knew I was gay when I was three years old and my parents didn’t have to explain it or tell me about it. I got it then, and I get it now. It wasn’t sexual either. Most openly gay adults would agree with me.

    In an odd way, this all reminds me of what happened on Big Brother, the TV series, a few years ago when Jeff Schroeder decided that Dumbledore in Harry Potter couldn’t be gay because it wasn’t appropriate for kids to read. And Schroeder was very passionate about it. I posted about that here. I had to remove Schroeder’s photo for copyright reasons (my own decision), which is why there’s a blank in the post.

    To say this news took Jeff by surprise would be an understatement. Noting at first that Dumbledore “doesn’t have any gay tendencies,” Jeff grew increasingly agitated and irate. “He’s in school with little kids!” he shouted. “You don’t want to make that guy gay!” Asked to expound, Jeff explained, “It isn’t right to have it in a little kid’s book, and have the head master locked away in this magical land, be gay.

    In any event, now the author of Better Nate Than Ever is dealing with this, too. And I thought it would be interesting to let my readers know how some of these people in the mainstream view gays, or anything with a hint of gay content…they view it with adult warning labels.

    But there is a bright note. From Tim Federle’s post:

    Happily, there are many more educators, booksellers, young readers and parents who have been supportive of this book and books like it, books that tell stories that star diverse characters who aren’t just relegated to the sidelines as the sassy sidekick or the tomboy cousin. And some of Better Nate Than Ever’s most noted reviewers celebrated its “inclusive” storyline or didn’t even mention the gay thing at all, which I kind of loved. If anything’s to be picked apart, let it be my exuberant usage of exclamation points and parentheses, not my character’s maybe-he-is-or-maybe-he-isn’t sexuality.

    Rainbow Award Jurors Thanks; Racism on Big Brother 15 Confronted

    Rainbow Award Jurors Thanks

    Each year the jurors who are part of the rainbow awards work very hard reading and rating books, so when I saw this note of thanks today I asked if I could have permission to post it here on the blog so readers can see what’s going on behind the scenes. I have one good friend who I know is reading at least eight books, and others are reading even more. And it’s nice to see that all this hard work is helping a cause in the long term.

    From my inbox:

    Dear Jury,

    I really want to thank you for all you have done and are doing, reading for the past 6 months, reading all the last minute entries, and be willing to read for the October/November for more than what you have initially agreed. That means a lot, but not only for the Rainbow Awards and the authors, that means that we were able to raise almost 6.000 dollars, and since my input is to not spend a lot of money to print the certificates to the winners (I’m sure they will be more than happy with a nice paper to frame), most of them will go to charity. I want to give you a feeling of what YOU have achieved: with $150 Ali Forney center provides temporary shelter to a kid for one week; with $500 a week they connect with these youth through Outreach Services, which include safe sex education, counseling, and services to help them off of the streets. I’m sure you are proud that we will be able to give them help.

    Again, THANK YOU, Elisa
     
    Racism on Big Brother 15 Confronted
     
    I’ve posted about racism and gaycist comments on the TV reality show Big Brother before this summer, and what’s been happening on Big Brother 15 this season seems to continue to devolve into a display of bullying and hate from certain individual players, Aaryn Gries and Amanda Zuckerman being two of the biggest bullies and racists in the house. There are others. In this article titled, Big Brother 15: A Cesspool of Homophobia and Racism you can read more. For those who don’t know what a cesspool is, that’s where waste water and human waste goes for people who live in rural areas. It’s a dated term, because most have septic tanks, but it’s also an appropriate example of what’s been happening in BB15 this season.
     
    And you have to understand that these people know they are being filmed 24 hours a day, nonstop. So it’s either arrogance or stupidity or a combination of both.
     
    Last night I watched the live eviction show and Aaryn Gries was finally voted out of the house, which meant she had to face Julie Chen at the end of the show before a live studio audience. I have to admit that I’ve been waiting for that all summer. Some of the shows were so vicious I had tears in my eyes. The moment Aaryn Gries walked out on the stage there was a mixed reaction from the audience, to which she didn’t seem to react at first. Julie Chen asked the usual questions she normally asks each contest who has been voted off, and then she went into a few questions about Aaryn’s racist comments that I won’t mention here on this blog. You can see them yourself here.
     
    This post is interesting. There are more examples of what has been said, too, you can find with a simple search.
     
    CBS has little choice but to air the comments during the shows, since the situations are seen and heard on the show’s live feed. The comments spread like wildfire over Twitter and other social media. The repercussions outside of the house are unknown to the house guests, but jobs have been lost and some people are clearly making their lives after the show more difficult.
    The most interesting thing is that none of the players who have made the racial and anti-gay slurs have any idea what’s been happening outside the Big Brother house all summer. Several have been fired from their jobs, and one was close to being fired last I’d read, as a result of this racism. And from what I saw last night by the way Aaryn reacted, she’s in for a few more surprises when the season is over and she goes back home to Texas. At one point in last night’s show she even blamed her comments on being from Texas, which I didn’t buy at all. I know plenty of people who live in Texas and they aren’t racists.
     
    And what’s going on with Amanda and that boyfriend of hers isn’t worthy of posting anywhere. You have to wonder that if Amanda is the way she is openly, and her boyfriend on the show seems to support her, does that make him any less of a bully than she is?  
     
    As a side note, Julie Chen, an Asian American, handled the interview with Aaryn as a true professional, especially considering the fact that some of Aaryn’s comments were directed toward Asian Americans.