Letter to a Hate-filled Podcast


A few months ago I heard a podcast by two men and their female guest. I won’t mention them or the name of the show so as not to give them any more attention than they receive already. They were taking down Dwyane Wade’s son (now legally his daughter) for referring to her gender as a girl and her partner, born a girl but who refers to his gender as male. The outright display of vitrial was outrageous to me and I felt compelled to respond. Here is my letter to them.

I recently listened to your show discussing children identifying as another gender, pointing out the feigned “confusion” you experienced in discovering Dwayne Wade’s son considering himself a girl and her boyfriend, a girl who considers himself a boy.  As if it didn’t speak for itself.  There was nothing confusing about the facts there.  You displayed utter contempt for this occurrence and were appalled by the family’s support of it.  You and your guest, a certain female journalist,   mocked how it evened out since they still had a balance of opposites.  This was especially disappointing to hear from her; someone I’ve known to have different opinions than mine but someone I always thought to have compassion for others.  You all displayed abject ignorance of the importance of individuality in human beings.  Have you not yet figured out that we all have things that make us different from one another? Quirks. Interests. Phobias. Talents. And on and on. All things that teach and enrich our lives and make them interesting and curious. Things that can expand our understanding.  Do you not yet realize that these differences are gifts and can be seen as positive contributions to society because they help to bring understanding to the spectrum of possibilities that come with being a human being; a spectrum of thought, creativity, compassion, community and yes, sexuality. Can you not live your life happily and freely without having to wade into the personal decisions and life choices of another?  Why do you care?  Are you saving the human race in your mind? What are you preserving?  A manmade construct of what humans “should” be?  What qualifies you to stand in such judgemental opposition?  

Why are you and others of your mindset not reaching out to understand and make these groups feel ok about who they are?  Is there something broken in you that while you’ve wanted to be supported and considered for who you are and for your life choices, you can’t do the same for someone who thinks, looks and loves differently from you?  Don’t we all share the one same; our humanity?  Who are any of us to define the limits of what a human can be? Do you realize all that you miss by closing your mind to such groups of people? 

What you do is contribute to the tearing down of others and thus destroying the possibility for all people to have equal opportunities.  By ramping up the ire of people who are less likely to question your motives and thus, use your words as a reason to hate, you continue to put people you might consider wrong for society, ie. a boy who identifies as a girl, in harm’s way.  You are adding to the grossness of our country’s rotten stomach.  You’re poisoning the well.  And for what end? Preserving something for the sake of keeping it the same because that’s all you’ve ever known?  Or because YOU believe that know what is right?  Can’t you be better than that?  Why not use your platform to help others to feel better about who they are and to enable them to live proudly and openly because they don’t fear the vitriol and ignorance that produces self-doubt, low self-esteem, depression, loneliness and in the worst cases, assault, injury suicide and murder.  This is, whether you like to admit  it or not, what you are doing.

I have worked in special education for my entire career and I know that if people adopted your beliefs and voiced a consternation for those who can’t walk or speak or hear or see or jump or eat without a tube and decided that they are less worthy of equality, respect and being recognized, then we would destroy a percentage of the human population and miss out on all, and trust me when I tell you ALL the gifts, talents, joys and humor of these incredible fellow humans.  

I encourage you to think about the power of your influence and try to meet with the “other” to see what makes them tick.  Say to their faces what you so callously pronounce in the safe confines of your bubble.  Who cares how someone lives as long as they aren’t doing intentional harm to others. No one is objecting to your oddities, of which we all have.  Stop poisoning the well.  The country needs you to do better. 



Teachers On Social Media


As the new school year approaches, the classroom is a thing of the past for me and I am, in addition to my freelancing, now more involved in the world of blogging and podcasting. As a result, I have joined the social media sector, somewhat reluctantly, but aware of the positive impact it can have on getting messages out, connecting with other folks attempting to do good for others and hopefully sharing great, constructive ideas.

But as I do see the up side to these app sites, I equally see the down side and the curious, creative and unexpected ways that others use these platforms. Ultimately, this is the way of the world now and I’m not fighting it and people can do what they want with it as long as it’s not hurtful, abusive or violent.

That said, I have come across many teachers, mostly younger and newer, who have an ax to grind and who are using Instagram and Tik Tok to express their complaints, without a filter, or share how overworked, frustrated and tired they feel. I even saw one where a teacher used the f-bomb, “jokingly” to get her point across to her imaginary students in her scenerio.

To be fair, I have also seen teachers celebrating and sharing ideas, materials and strategies which I think is wonderful. So I’m not here to say don’t do it. What I want to express to you, as a veteran Special Ed teacher of 30 years, is to be careful. What you think is funny is out there for your students and their parents to find and it may send an unintentional message. Not everyone sees things as you do. That may be obvious to say but it is apparently often ill-considered .

Honestly, I’m open-minded and appreciate bringing creativity and inventiveness into the classroom. Anything to make school more appealing and considerate of the students is worthwhile in my opinion. But you have to remember that this is a job where parents are putting their trust in you to nurture their children. If they see you complaining, admitting to being ignorant or cursing, trust can be eroded quickly and there will be those who do not find the humor in it and they may confront administration. This can result in marks against you that may cause administration to keep an eye on you, damage the employer/employee trust, lead to disciplinary action, suspension and it could cost you your job. Don’t think this is an exaggeration.

As teachers we all have complaints and understand that teaching is an incredibly difficult job. We are frontline workers. We LITERALLY put our lives on the line each time we enter educational settings. So what I’m saying is that this job is dangerous enough without pouring your reality into a video to get a “like” that might backfire and cost you. We, as professionals, have an enormous responsibility to earn and keep the parents’ trust. Complain to your friends, take a boxing class, run or JOURNAL!

But if you must, make videos that put out messages sharing positive and constructive experiences, lessons and ideas. Be careful not to take lightly your position as a professional being looked up to and trusted. Pause for a bit before you risk it all in order to display your negative feelings or the challenging realities of your daily encounters to the world including, yes, your students and their parents.

As a member of your community we are all family and as one of you I am writing this because I’m looking out for your best interest so you can be an exceptional role model for a long time to come. Good luck this new year!

Peace and Keep Rising!