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Posts posted by KublaiKen

  1. 3 minutes ago, tnmule20 said:

    Even more ironic is the girls are earning the GSUSA Gold Award and the BSA Eagle rank and bragging that they are able to do so. 

    Being recognized for an incredible accomplishment is not the same as bragging.




    Your choice of terms when describing the well-earned recognition these incredible girls and young women are receiving is interesting.

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  2. 7 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

    So, you believe the GSUSA Gold Award is not as worthy of an accomplishment as the Eagle. 

    Irony is that I find all discussions of BSA girls showing off to the GSUSA as sexest as the intent of the bragging. Better to say nothing because there is no moral high road in such comments. 


    Not at all, nor did I say that. That it isn't as publicly recognized or lauded is simply true. And none of this is about showing off to the GSUSA; it's in  part (and in my view) a way to publicly demonstrate that the two organizations are not the same, and that these girls are members of Scouts BSA. There is nothing in my view of this that is sexist nor bragging; the BSA would be foolish to ignore this PR opportunity at almost every level, and those who oppose it are, in my view, hiding the sexist view that girls don't belong behind a "what about the boys" argument.

  3. 49 minutes ago, tnmule20 said:

    Boys have been earning the Eagle rank for the past 110 years or so without all the fanfare. Hopefully things will get back to normal without all the grandstanding. 

    I respectfully disagree with this.

    1. There has been plenty of fanfare about boys reaching Eagle in the past 110 years. That is what has made it one of the single-most recognizable and lauded youth accomplishments, and one that has carried into adulthood for 110 years.

    2. Because girls have not had that opportunity for over a century, this occasion is historic, noteworthy, and therefore newsworthy.

    3. A struggling organization like the BSA, both in finances and in public perception, would be somewhere between naive and negligent not to take advantage of this as a PR blast.

    4. This is an excellent opportunity for an organization being sued by the Girl Scouts to amplify its message and delineate the proprietary nature of what girls in Scouts BSA means.

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  4. I have not heard of that in the context of their there not being a previous relationship (e.g., first year Scouts calling AOLs from their previous Pack). But I don't see anything very weird about it, though I readily admit I could be viewing it differently or wrongly. Can you articulate your thoughts on why you feel that way? It might help me see what I'm missing. Thanks!

  5. 51 minutes ago, BAJ said:

    Much of this discussion is being shaped by interpretations of why BSA National issued the statement that it did during the protests triggered by the death of Mr. Floyd.  Reading that statement, I did not see any of the suggestions made in this thread that National was saying units or leaders or scouts are racist on a broad scale.

    What I focused on was the statement that BSA had not been sufficiently “brave” about issues surrounding race.  I know that Scouting has had a complicated history regarding race issues, though it was not something that I had searched for information about before.  I had heard a piece on the radio about an African American troop — many years ago — where swimming at summer camp was an activity where their scouts were singled out in absolutely unscoutlike ways.  Swimming is an interesting case to consider, since swimming — because of segregation that prevented access to pools — is a core scout activity where the echoes of past overt racism still lives on as I understand it.  So I dug a little.  

    In historical discussion about segregation and desegregation in scouting, I heard things very similar to elements of the discussion we are having here.  One concern about the inclusion of sexual orientation in the MB requirements is that it might spur discussions of that topic.  In an article (written from the perspective of philanthropy that funded some of the early desegregation efforts — https://resource.rockarch.org/story/who-belongs-in-the-boy-scouts/) talks about the question of pushing for the integration of scout troops, particularly in the South, and that some had concerns “that such a move might bring on a racial discussion.”  And so, decisions about integration were largely left to local councils — and as a result, the last segregated troop did not desegregate until 1974, within many of the lifetimes of members of this discussion, myself included.  

    I saw the letter from BSA as a rapid response to a set of nationwide events, shaped by the view that the past history of the organization was not unblemished on this issue.  As many in this community have cited, the approach to the issue of sexual orientation of scouts and leaders was initially done similarly to the way BSA approached desegregation, and I have read compelling posts from people on both sides of that issue that the approach chosen ended up with the BSA ending up criticized from all sides.  My reading of the initial letter is that National had reached a similar conclusion about their past efforts, and felt action needed to be taken in the wake of the protests, and that past “leave the issue to the local councils/units” approach would not be viable.  

    That historical article linked above also echoed some of what I see a the best ideas of the discussion happening here, that the principles of the Scout Oath and Law can provide the basis for taking on these issues in a productive way, and - as a result - that Scouting could be positioned such to make a unique contribution to addressing these issues even at the current polarized time.  The most dramatic demonstration of this was another story relating the history of a black troop in Virginia that experienced a cross burning at summer camp (quoting from that history): 

    I took from this story a productive meaning of the discussion of “upstanding” without any of the negative connotations that some seem to connect to it.  People did something horrible, and Scouts stood together to push back as Scouts.

    Before commenters — legitimately — point out that these examples from those articles happened a long time ago, I don’t agree with the suggestion made in many comments here that these are solved problems, as much as I hope there will be a time when everyone in the country is judged as individuals, without bias from their race, creed, sexual orientation, and other factors.  I have heard personal stories from leaders about much more recent events, about the tying of nooses at summer camp, and what that meant when minority scouts found them.  As an ASM of a troop of female Scouts BSA, I witnessed some, thankfully minor, flak incoming to them because of their gender (though I have hear rumors about other leaders who might not be the best choice to send our scouts to for MB counseling, given their opinion on whether young women should be in the BSA).  And I have read secondhand accounts of issues around issues of sexual orientation focused bullying happening within Scouting.  

    While many of the stories shared on this thread of very inclusive and diverse troops are similar demonstrations to the story above about the potential power of Scouting and its core ideals to bring people together in diverse groups, I do not believe that all troops meet that standard — no matter what commentators, pundits, or online videos argue that racism and bias are things of the past and that they believe that people who experienced decades of discrimination (even in something as simple and tangible as the swimming example above) wouldn’t reasonably have consequences that persist.  The legacy of past treatment of different groups of people in this country affects all sorts of parts of our society.  To cite an example closer to my professional area, the protections that are in place for all of the people who volunteered for COVID-19 vaccine trials largely exist because of the mistreatment of minorities in the Tuskegee experiments decades ago — and that same legacy shapes the trust of those minority communities in the vaccine itself.   

    So, as a result, I do believe that this merit badge could be a positive contribution to a Scout’s career, in spite of it seeming rushed in development.  On whether or not it should be an Eagle requirement, the requirements levied by BSA defines the minimum that a scout needs to accomplish to achieve that rank.  That BSA has included this in that set says they think it is important enough that every scout who reaches Eagle should have this as part of their program.  I don’t think its addition says “the program is lacking,” just as others have pointed out that having Camping and Cooking a required merit badges doesn’t say the program is lacking in those areas either.  But the requirements do define a floor for the amount of those scout activities a boy or girl will have done before they earn Eagle — they are the standards that are the counter to the concern also raised in this forum at various times about standards dropping, merit badge mills, etc. etc. 

    As many have mentioned, whether this will truly be a positive will depend on what exactly the requirements end up being and the quality of the MBCs and how they run the discussions involved.  I have had many flavors of diversity and inclusion training over my professional career, and the best experience I had was actually part of scouting... in a discussion moderated by an NYLT trained scout that was part of Woodbadge.  It consisted entirely of questions that we discussed as a diverse group of patrol members, and which let us explore these issues in a really productive way.  If this badge gives Scouts the experience I had there, it will be of value.  Like some others, I fear implementation like that described earlier using commentaries that many view as one sided, and adding blue lives matter to “balance” the fact that the BSA letter mentioned BLM.  Going that route will mean that those at the other political extreme will likely view themselves licensed to bring resources into their MB discussions that could paint specific words used by Conservatives as systematically racist, or pull video of protestors carrying thin blue line flags behaving violently and illegally to paint “the other side” with as broad a brush as they see “that side” using to paint them.  Ironically, that could make more likely the very outcome that many of the commenters on this thread are concerned about.  I frankly don’t believe having competing political flavors of this MB serves the nation’s interest, or will help achieve BSA’s goal of producing future leaders and good citizens.

    Finally, in my view some of this thread is not contributing to the chance of BSA coming to a truly productive conclusion here.  Words have been used here like “evil” and such a broad brush has been used to characterize what “the left” believes and the reasons why “they” are doing what they are doing, it’s hard to see some posts as attempts persuade.  In other threads on this site, I have heard many commenters express frustration about how they may be characterized.... whether their using specific words will automatically lead them to be called “racist” or whether there is bias or discrimination against people of their faith, or people of faith in general.  Yet in this thread, the use of single words in BSAs letter or the leaked draft requirements are treated as in incontrovertible evidence of National’s bad faith, political agenda, and more. 

    I resist the use of such broad brushes and try to push back on their use by others - right, left and center.  There is an element of the Golden Rule in this... argue unto others as you would have them argue unto you.  If you think citing one internet video by someone on the Right is evidence enough of reality that it should bury someone who disagrees with you, someone posting one from a talking head on the Left is evidence of equal weight and validity and should be expected to bury you.  And then we just end up all buried.

    Looking at the history of segregated Scouting, BSA National has been juggling Politics since the beginning of Scouting.  At some points, perhaps people with one opinion were happier with the results of that juggling than others.  I personally think that a “negotiated settlement” around this MB that tried to integrate many perspectives would actually be a valuable outcome, but that assumes that there are compromises that can be made ... and given the number of posts I have read here recently that essentially begin with “I realize this isn’t going to change anyone’s mind” and even my own reticence to even post something, I don’t know what the chances are of that negotiation even really happening.


    I deleted my drafted post. This one is better.

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