“We’re a small but determined group.” — WKRP Protesters
WKRP was a favorite show of mine growing up. We stream our television, so we are at the mercy of what is available to us these days. The first season has been available, but now is not. Who knows why these things happen, but we occasionally watch an episode on YouTube.
The above line came from the pilot episode. A group of five or six old, white people were protesting the change of the format from easy listening to rock and roll. Of course, the format didn’t change. It would be silly to bend to the whim of five or six people when the overwhelming majority was happy with the change. Those were simpler times. Of course, it was also fiction.
Similar groups have been descending on school boards across the country. They are protesting mask mandates wherever they may find them. They’ve been protesting other COVID protocols wherever they may find them. They’ve been protesting particular books that might present LGTBQ+ people in a favorable light. They’ve been protesting the teaching of critical race theory in the classroom.
Maybe we could take each of those one at a time, but what’s the point? It’s a small but determined group that really shouldn’t have an effect on what goes on. We are a complex and sophisticated society. Simple democracies have the tendency to trample on the rights of the minority. We have always strived not to do that. We haven’t always succeeded, but you get the idea.
The difficulty with this group is that even if all these things were true, no one is trampling on their rights. No one is forcing them to read a book about LGTBQ+ children. No one is really teaching critical race theory in the classroom. About the most anyone can claim is that someone is asking them to wear a mask. In most districts, that isn’t even the case. We suggest that they do, but we don’t force them to do anything.
Yet, we have school board members and superintendents resigning across the state and the country. The latest one was in Richardson near Dallas. She committed the cardinal sin of promoting diversity in a majority minority school district. The horror. It doesn’t take long to find an example closer to where you live of a significant administrator that either was forced to resign or is currently in hot water.
In many cases, these administrators aren’t doing the things they are being accused of. Nobody teaches critical race theory really. It is an academic theory studied at the college level. It might be somewhat popular at some law schools, but there would be little reason for even high school curriculums to include it.
Similarly, English classes are reading the same books they’ve always read and due to the demands of state testing, we are reading far fewer of them then we ever have before. No one is studying that controversial book with two lesbians in a relationship or with a troubled teen grappling with whether to get a sex change. Those books might be available in the library. If you don’t want your kid to read that then monitor what they check out in the library.
There is a big difference between making sure that the policies chosen for the benefit of the majority don’t trample on the rights of the minority and the minority clearly dictating policy. Yet, that’s what’s going on right now. A small but determined group is torpedoing mask mandates, other COVID protocols, any mention of diversity in the classroom, and the literal burning of books that may or may not be in the school library.
Certainly these are all pertinent issues and they deserve an airing on their merits. That airing won’t be today. In each and every case, a small minority is calling the shots. In each case, a small minority is forcing dedicated professions to leave their job and seek employment elsewhere. In each case, a small minority is either purposefully or inadvertently perverting what is in order to protest what they perceive it to be.
I can’t get too angry with school boards and higher level administration. When you have a bunch of rabid idiots yelling at you, it is human nature to relent at some point. You just want the yelling to stop. Unfortunately, it won’t stop until they get exactly what they want and then we will discover that 10 to 20 percent of the population is at the wheel of our society.