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13-Year-Old Persecuted By Rochester City School District For Writing Essay

Long story short: a thirteen year old girl named Jada Williams wrote an assigned essay on Frederick Douglass and compared some of his experiences to her own, pointing out that many of her black classmates are borderline illiterate and that her mostly white teachers don't seem to see anything wrong with that. Her English teacher told Jada - this is a grown woman in a position of authority saying this to a thirteen year old girl for whom she is responsible, mind - that she was offended by the essay. She then went on to photocopy it and hand it out to other teachers, many of whom took it upon themselves to call Jada's parents at home and tell them their daughter was "angry." Jada's grades suddenly dropped and when her mother asked to see the homework and essays her daughter had turned in so she could see the grading, the teachers wouldn't let her have them. As of the time the article was written, the school board was refusing to release her records, even though Jada's parents took her out of that school.

Jesus fuck, people. What the hell is wrong with you?
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So Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith wrote a book with a gay POV character and were told by an agent that they needed to make him straight - or erase him entirely - in order for the agent to represent their work. Lovely to know we live in such an enlightened time!

Rachel explains why this is more than a creative issue to her: "When you refuse to allow major characters in YA novels to be gay, you are telling gay teenagers that they are so utterly horrible that people like them can’t even be allowed to exist in fiction."

Her article is here: Say Yes to Gay YA

This came up not very long ago when author Jessica Verday was asked to eliminate a gay character in a short story. (AKA: The Wicked Pretty Things debacle) [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda documented the entire debate over at her LJ. This isn't a one-time thing. There's a small enough LGBT presence in literature in general, and if authors are being actively pressured to keep it that way, it's going to be hard to see a change.
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So, you know what drives me crazy? "I'm sorry you were offended."

Because, um. No. Either you're sorry that you* (general you) OFFENDED me. Or you aren't.

It's like if I punched my roommate (Hi, [livejournal.com profile] kahn!) in the face. And she was all "What the fuck?!" And I said, "I'm sorry you got punched in the face."

Does that sound even the slightest bit sincere to anyone? No, it doesn't. Because it isn't.

(Now, if Person A punched my roommate (sorry, [livejournal.com profile] kahn!) in the face and I heard about it later when she came home (or, much more likely, after I went to the police station to bail her out of jail for breaking Person A's neck) and I said something like "That's terrible, I'm sorry that happened!" that's sincere. I had no control over her getting punched, so I'm basically saying that I'm sorry she had to experience something so unpleasant.)

But that's not how the phrase is normally used, is it? Most people who say "I'm sorry you were offended" aren't actually sorry they offended anyone. It's a non-apology. They have basically said "Well, I'm sorry you're so fucking oversensitive, GEEZ."

And perhaps I should give people the benefit of the doubt - and for the most part I really do - but you know what? Sometimes it's really obvious exactly what they mean.

And yes, I have been reading [livejournal.com profile] sf_drama all night, why do you ask?

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