There’s been something going around the internet over the last few days that alarms me. A lot.
It’s this. Click to embiggen.
It ran in the National Post a few days back, posted by the Institute for Canadian Values (apparently, Canadian values are homophobic, transphobic, pro-Israeli, and anti-prostitution) and it’s been bouncing around the internet since. I get why. From my perspective, it’s pretty heinous. Misinformation. Bigotry. Etc. So I’ve done something I haven’t done often. That is: write back directly. I think it’s opened a can of worms. It took more time out of my afternoon than I wanted, but I feel better, personally, and I hope my approach is received by the ICV folks who have run this ad.
So here is my open letter to the “ICV.” I encourage everyone who reads it to also write to the ICV (full contact info at the bottom of the post). Call them. Email them. Send physical letters. But rise above whatever gut reaction you’re having and for the love of God be civil.
Tel: 416.391.5000 EXT 344
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Re: “Please! Don’t Confuse Me!” ad, National Post.
I must preface this letter, in fairness and full disclosure, that this will also be published as an open letter to the Institute of Canadian Values at spillway(brain). The full posting can be found at http://spillwaybrain.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/an-open-letter-to-the-icv/.
As a recent graduate from a teacher education program and a volunteer with high-risk youth, I am deeply offended by your “Please! Don’t Confuse Me!” advertisement.
In my work, I frequently encounter youth and young adults who have not had sufficient education to understand their own sexualities, gender identities, or spirituality. When special-interest groups push for the reduction of what children are exposed to in controlled, responsible educational environments, we are effectively reducing their ability to understand and cope with their peers and themselves. Education on a topic is not the same as enforcing an agenda. Teaching a child about Communism and Stalin is patently different from indoctrinating them with a manifesto or justifying genocide. Similarly, educating children about alternative sexualities, family structures, and gender identities has not been proven to encourage their adoption nor has there been significant evidence that education on these topics confuses or distresses children more than learning about normative or normalized behaviours. By actively normalizing these sexualities and identities, it actually reduces the potential for confusion, hostility, and distress later on when confronted with them later in life.
I would like to point out as well that discrimination based on sexuality is expressly forbidden under Canadian law, and an attempt to make invisible these demographics is akin to silencing the voice of any other demographic.
Given my earlier point regarding the pedagogical and psychological nature of this kind of educational practise and the further point about discrimination by exclusion, I have to conclude that the effort on the part of the ICV is not based on genuine concern for student welfare, nor is it grounded in Canadian values. It must, then, be motivated by sheer bigotry.
Mr. Malcom, I find your use of the modifier “Canadian” to be an egregious liberty taken on the part of you and your organization. Bigotry and prejudice is simply not a Canadian value by any passable definition. You have appropriated an entire nationality for your means, and I as a Canadian citizen object. Your Institute is not reflective of Canadian values, but the values of a subset of the radicalized political right. I suggest modifying your organization’s name or posting a disclaimer in the banner at the top of your site.
Further, you claim to operate your Institution under Judeo-Christian values. If, sir, you read your Bible, there is a simple message preached by the Son of your God Jesus Christ. That message is love, Mr. Malcom. Love, charity, community, understanding, and the spreading thereof. Don’t forget that. And don’t forget, too, Mr. Malcom, that Christ also preached redemption. It’s not too late for you to be redeemed for the blatant appropriation, ignorance-mongering, and hate-speech you have indulged in.
I encourage you to retract your ads, cancel any upcoming placements of said advertisements, and discontinue the stopcorruptingchildren.ca campaign. Further, in the interest of fairness, I applaud your efforts in some camps–fighting human trafficking and ending the spread of child pornography are laudable objectives. Please do not sully these legitimate efforts with the hateful, underinformed rhetoric found in the aforementioned campaign.
If you would like to discuss this letter further, I encourage you to write to me at the email provided. I will be encouraging as many as will listen to contact you as well and to approach you in a measured, articulate fashion. After all, everyone, regardless of gender, sexuality, gender identity, or family structure, deserves respect, Mr. Malcom.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to any response you have.
[personal email redacted]
ICV Contact info
Tel: 416.391.5000 EXT 344
Canada Christian College
50 Gervais Drive
Toronto, ON M3C 1Z3