Jacob Woods

Jacob Woods
Jacob is gay. He eats, breaths, and sleeps lgbt issues. Currently he is a rural psychology student working to educate the simpletons. Enjoy his blog and his other creative meanderings!

Tuesday, April 5

A Good as Gay Reader Interviewed Me for A High School Paper!!!

A Good as Gay reader and friend I have met online sent me an e mail asking me to add some comments that she could add to her high school English paper! I was more than thrilled to answer. Though I am not an expert I felt really good about answering the following questions in regards to bullying! Please contact me if you would like to use me as a primary source for a paper of yours. I am by no means an expert. Just a gay blogger studying psychology. I have no degree yet!!! But going for it. Before reading my responses to the questions posed, please answer the questions in the comment section and than read my view points. Do they match? Are they different? Did I leave something out? What do you think the answers to these questions are?

I'm writing a paper in my AP English class specifically about the Matthew Shepard ordeal. I'm sure you've heard of it, if not you can read about it/check it out here or here. My paper is more so directed toward hate crimes/LGBT victims of hate crimes, violence, bullying, etc. This project requires an opinion/point of view about the subject from an outside source other than the internet, so I thought to myself, "Hey! I can ask Jacob!" So, here I am (hypothetically). If it's alright with you, I'd like to ask your opinion to use in my paper. If you're up for it, go ahead and read on:

-What is your personal opinion about hate crimes/bullying? (Either in general, or in regards to being LGBT)
-Have you ever been a victim or witness to any hate crimes, violence, or bullying? (again, either in general or in regards to being LGBT)
-Why do you think that people have the mindset to do these things to people just because of who they are?
-Do you think there is anything we as a society can do about it (hate crimes, violence, bullying)?
-Any other things you'd like to add about the subject?

My responses:

Hate crimes and bullying is wrong in all cases. This is what the public likes to hear. I look at hate crimes and bullying as a hot topic issue. It doesn't surprise me to see it. I am glad that it is a hot topic issue in some respects but upset in others because there are a multitude of serious issues that need attending out there. Like the education system and the re-boot of the economy. That and an obesity epidemic as well. These are all issues that need attending. Why not approach solving it through creating a stronger more comprehensive education system that allows the lgbt community as well as other minority groups like the Latinos, African Americans, Hmong, Native American, Chinese, and etc thrive and support the American economy. By suppressing the minority through bullying and hate crimes one is destroying the American opportunity as well as the American dream. 

I have been taunted in public while with my boyfriend. But fortunately not in high school. I have seen others bullied in high school for being girly and heard them called gay. As far as crimes and violence I have been fortunate not to witness such crimes first hand. But when I hear of tragedy I am greatly moved by the various events. Stories like Tyler Clementi shock us all. In that way I feel victimized as a part of a larger community. I wish we could all feel this way when we hear the death of someone else.

As a psychology major I am still hard pressed for answers as to why people do what they do. The psychology club on campus bought shirts that say on the front Psychology: on the back they say It Depends. Each person has their own motives. Sometimes bullying happens without knowing it. "That's so gay, athletic nigger, beaner, nerdy chinese kid." People were raised on stereotypes. They pick it up and pass it down. Many times the bullies or even the average person who means no harm are positively reinforced by their friends and peers when such taunting occurs. Positive reinforcement results in the likely hood that they will do the behavior again no matter how bad it makes the other person feel. The victim often times tries to defend themselves. But in some cases even teachers and administration become a part of the problem. The victims fall into Ed Seligman's discovery of learned helplessness. In essence victims learn to be completely helpless in their situations.

Oh my gosh! Yes! There is so much people can do. It is so simple! It is the little things that matter. Not the things that go down on resumes. When a teacher goes out of their way to get a students hand on lgbt literature because they are curious, or when a librarian goes out of their way to give them a reference to a gay poet, or a director chooses a play that targets bullying and hate crimes, or when a student writes a paper about bullying, or when . . . Get imaginative and creative. The side conversations are the best. Sure high school can be dramatic but drama just gets worse and more complex when you grow up. Drama doesn't dissipate in college. It just becomes a larger part of life. So those little conversations you have in defense or in offense or that debate in ethics or AP government on what is right or wrong really makes a huge difference. The main thing is to talk about it. Like I told the classes I was privileged to speak to on campus, "If we can't talk about it we are both going to be in big trouble." By both I meant the left wing and right wing on the political spectrum.


Anonymous said...

To the AP English student who is writing a paper "specifically about the Matthew Shepard ordeal":

Your questions (above) are horrendously watered down and "general" ized to the degree where they lack any connection to Matt. Sorry if that was harsh, but Matt deserves better. Matt was an extremely intelligent young man and his death was brutal, it was evil, and it was horribly profound. The aftermath was and is equally profound.

Want to know more of the "ordeal"? Check out a play called "Laramie Project". Read the script, all of it. And, since you have an AP teacher who I suspect is trying to push the class beyond their comfort level, consider asking that cool teacher to help you arrange for the "Laramie Project" to be produced live on stage at YOUR high school.

Jacob Woods said...

First off is you didn't understand that this wasn't my paper. This is how I answered the questions given to me.

I appreciate your input, however I think in regards to the person who did write this paper and did decide to come to me for some more to discuss on the matter is ridiculously brave for her age.

I have talked to her for some time and she lives in an extremely toxic environment for lgbt supporters and youth.

At any rate she is a catalyst in her high school to stand up for what she believes in. She is writing on this topic for more than just a grade alone. She is writing on this topic for a belief that lgbt and the rest of the world can have in the least an equality chance in this world.

Surely, the paper is not going to be perfect. And surely, it is high school and perhaps watered down. But it is so much more.

Thanks very much for your input and thanks for the tips. The laramie project can be extremely beneficial to look into. I have heard of it before but unfortunately not had the chance to read it yet!!!

Anonymous said...

I respect that you may be protective of a HS student who may live in a toxic environment. Kudos for that.

My comment above was based solely on the premise that she is writing an "AP" level paper, nothing more.

Jacob Woods said...

You feel it should have more depth and higher standards. Focusing more on the entire poor standards of the generalized American education.

Does this more accurately define your stance? Regardless what you said I value greatly. Just didn't want her to read that and feel bad.

Anonymous said...

You feel it should have more depth and higher standards.
Focusing more on the entire poor standards of the generalized American education.
No, an AP student has (hopefully) risen above the generalized American education, so focus is on the AP level.
Just didn't want her to read that and feel bad.
Feel bad? It's not about feelings. It's about doing AP level work. It's about asking AP level questions.

Jacob Woods said...

What sort of questions would you have asked?

Anonymous said...

As the student who wrote this paper, I didn't have a complete idea about what I was going to develop and write the paper about. The questions were just to get a head start about where I was going to go with it. As unprepared and "unprofessional" as it is, I started solely on getting information about different topics that had to do with Matthew's incident. It was first based upon what had happened to Matthew Shepard, his story, his parents story and how his mother wrote a book about him and his impact and the events that had taken place, etc. etc. As I did more research and asked more people for their point of view on the subject, I came to a conclusion that what happened to Matthew--how sick and horrible it was--happens every day. Not to those extremes, but sometimes it tends to be to that degree and not everyone is aware of it. So I took it another direction than what the questions perceived. I finally ended up writing my "AP" paper on the act of hate violence and how hate crimes are 2 times more likely for the lgbt community, included statistics and opinions and what have you. So it turned out to not be "specifically about the Matthew Shepard ordeal". I understand what Matt went through was horrific and like you said, he does deserve better. and I should have set up my intro to the questions more based around the idea of hate crimes/violence. It was more so inspired by what had happened to Matthew Shepard, and in no way to disrespect him nor to have no connection. It was my fault for not setting that up properly.

I also apologize for my "lower leveled" questions. I didn't want them to be too specific so I'd have more room to develop the paper itself. I do appreciate your input and will attempt to focus more on the AP level of things.

Anonymous said...

Care to post your paper for viewers to read?

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