Archive for January, 2012

How to ruin my evening (and any hope for a better world)

Friday, January 13th, 2012

1. Work for an organization dedicated to forwarding the rights of a misunderstood minority group — a group about which there are many unfortunate and unfair stereotypes, making it necessary for an organization such as yours to fight for the social and legal equality of this group’s members.

2. Manage to reach me on the phone. (This may be the most difficult step.)

3. Ask me to donate $200 to your cause.

4. When I explain that it would be impossible for me to go along with this request, mention that a donation of time is also quite valuable. Ask about my schedule.

5. Register the fact that I homeschool.

6. Explain that this is fine with you.

7. Explain that, as a matter of fact, you know someone who was homeschooled.

8. Add that this wasn’t a good experience for your acquaintance — that frankly, it “messed up her life” — but that you’re sure I’ll do a much better job than your friend’s parents did.

9. Remain oblivious to the scientific and ethical problems inherent in judging an entire group on the basis of a vanishingly small sample.

10. Remain oblivious to the insult inherent in telling someone that while you haven’t been impressed with her group in the past, you’re willing to believe that she could be okay. If she works at it.

11. No matter how difficult it becomes, don’t give in to the temptation to acknowledge how this idea of positive exceptionality may have held back the rights of the very group you’re working to support.

12. Instead, explain to me what I ought to be doing in order not to fit the stereotypes generally associated with my group.

13. Taking my child outside, for instance, is a good idea.

14. Meeting other people? Also excellent.

15. Continue to advise me on the life I’m currently leading. This advice should be based entirely on the broadest possible stereotypes.

16. Insistently fail to see any irony here.

17. Convince me that there is no hope at all that even those impacted by prejudice can learn the critical thinking processes necessary to make a truly egalitarian world.

18. Finally hang up and allow me to spend the rest of the evening muttering under my breath.