Quote of the day: Banned Books

January 10, 2010

Banning Maya Angelou from school libraries and curricula is like banning Jesus’ crucifixion from Bible studies because it is “violent” and possibly “gory.”

Here is the relevant quote:

While you’re at it OC, ban the bible too. There’s a lot more rape and killing in that horrid book.

No, I don’t think the Bible should be banned.  I think every school should have important religious and cultural texts in its library, for students to access and study (including important books of other religions, such as the Torah and Qur’an).

For the same reason, Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings should be in every school library.  It is a relevant, timeless classic that can help us learn about ourselves, including how to develop empathy and compassion.  For example, to overcome internalized homophobia (that says gay people somehow want or need to become straight, rather than asking us to accept them for who they are).  And isn’t that what Jesus was all about?

“The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame.”   –Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

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Open Letter of Resignation

September 21, 2009

PLEASE NOTE:  Many readers have stumbled across this post while searching for example letters of resignation.  I am not suggesting the below resignation as a template or model if you are considering resigning from your workplace for similar issues.  Please be aware that there are repercussions for resigning publicly, and for calling people on their crap if they have more institutional power than you do.  One of the ways you can protect yourself from retaliation is to give your boss a letter of resignation that does not implicate or accuse them or wrong-doing.  Unlike the below.

Below is the letter of resignation I just sent.  I was doing anti-violence work under an executive director who has her entire staff terrified and purges the organization of all employees who show anything other than submissive assent to her.  Why does she bully her employees?  According to some recent peer-reviewed research in social psychology, it’s because she feels both incompetent AND empowered.  Scary combination, and completely unacceptable and inappropriate anywhere — let alone within the context of anti-violence and social justice work!

UPDATE (9/21):  The SATF Executive Director’s response is included, below.

UPDATE (9/24):  Another follow up from the Executive Director, which includes a message that Eva Kutas, Board President, sent to the SATF staff (but not the listservs).

UPDATE (10/7):  A follow up that came through RAINN, entitled “Just What Are We Afraid Of?”

September 21, 2009

To Whom It May Concern,

It is with a heavy heart that I hereby submit my resignation as Prevention Specialist of the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force. Read the rest of this entry »