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Is the BSA discriminated against?

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"If we really do believe in living by the golden rule? How would we feel if we were being discriminated against?"


Eamonn said this in a previous thread and it set me down a train of thought that I thought might interest you all.


I think that there are places where people who are a part the BSA are discriminated against. That is especially evident in the school system. In my old school I would never have admitted that I was a Sea Scout and part of the BSA for fear of getting beaten to a pulp. There were times where I would wear one set of clothes on the way to our meetings, then change clothes in the car before heading inside because we were going to be making a stop or two on the way. It is not the adults who do this, it is the other teens, but the attitude has to be coming from somewhere.


The schools one town over wouldn't allow you to even talk about the Boy Scouts on the school property. I believe they made that rule because of the Gay thing. Though they also banned the girl scouts too I think.


There were not really any scout troops, ships, packs, or crews on my side of the river. Once in a while one would pop up for a while then disappear again. If you wanted to join one of the above you had to cross the bridge ($4 toll), and that put a lot of people off.


So yes, I think that in places Scouts are discriminated against, and like I said I think a lot of it is in the school system. It is dangerous to be known as a scout in some schools.


You know funnily enough those who would cause bodily harm to a scout consider scouts to be gay.

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Many of us involved with Scouting seem to have a problem admitting that Scouts and Scouting isn't seen as being "Cool" by many, especially by many youths who are not Scouts.

We older guys tend to harp on about the things we do that are "Cool".

I'm not really sure if discrimination might be a little bit too strong of a word?

I love dogs, I really love my dogs. I would never harm or hurt any dog.

At work I'm happy to share photos and stories of my dogs. Being as I work in a place where most of my co-workers are male and most of these tend to be ex-military bigger type guys, I'm not so sure if my dog was a poodle with a French cut, that I'd be as willing to share the pictures?

Poodles aren't cool even though at one time they were used as hunting dogs for bears (believe it or not!)

Things are changing. Our School District has a parent night each year for all of the HS sports teams. The parents stand on the field as their son comes out on the field as he runs out the announcer reads off a list of what clubs and the like the Lad is involved in, a good many of these Lads are listed as being Eagle Scouts.

Maybe the fact that the head of the department sits on our District ESBOR's plays a part in this?

We are fortunate in the area where I live that Scouts and Scouting is viewed as being a great organization, even people who are not and never have been involved tend to view it as being a good thing. I do not this might not be the case elsewhere.

I think that we who are members do need to recognize that some of the things we do are not acceptable to others and that they are within their rights to prevent us from doing what they see as things that are wrong.

Just as I would be unhappy about our local school district allowing a chapter of the KKK to use school buildings, the people who view the BSA as being anti-whatever?? Feel the same way.



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Belonging to any organization makes you a target for discrimination. But oddly enough, the discrimination often starts from within the organiation. Most groups and organizations expect the members to meet certain criteria to join, regularly attend gatherings, and uphold certain belief systems.


Sports teams require members to regularly attend gatherings where they discuss internal policies about how to operate. They require members to wear uniforms. They outline how members will interact with other members during gatherings. They even employ referees to enforce these rules.


If you are not a member of the team, you cannot attend their practices, wear their uniform, or particiapte in their games. Anyone not on the team is considered less worthy than those on the team. The discrimination starts within the organization and then is reflected back on the team.


Same is true of the Spanish club, the Corvette Owners club, XYZ Church, etc. If you are not part of the club, certains things are not open to you. This creates varying amounts of discomfort from those outside the club.


Boy Scouts are widely known to be Good Deed Doers. Initially this was applauded by the public but has become a point to show how out of touch Scouts is with current society. The ME generation changed the culture to one of self centeredness. The quaint idea of helping others has became something to put down. If they only knew that Scouts promotes self alligence and advancing in rank based on individual achievement rather than helping others they might change their minds.


Those who earn the rank of Eagle have suffered through the constant barrage of discrimination long enough to reach the pinncale of sucess that is recognized outside the organization. They can stand up and say I did it. They know at that point that any discrimination is based on jealousy and ignorance.

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Boy Scouts are widely known to be Good Deed Doers. Initially this was applauded by the public but has become a point to show how out of touch Scouts is with current society. The ME generation changed the culture to one of self centeredness. The quaint idea of helping others has became something to put down.


Yah, resqman, I think this is mostly a made-up old-people's story, eh?


Can't say I've ever heard anything even remotely like it out of da mouths of young folks.


Around here, it's fairly common for sports teams to do service work on occasion, for athletes to coach or ref younger fellows in summer leagues. It's a requirement for NHS to do more service hours than anything we require in Scouting. And all those things are considered relatively "cool."


Kids aren't down on good deed doers. And this generation, I'll be honest, I find more courteous and community-centered than a lot of folks my age. Us old folks tend to be opinionated, grumpy, and selfish. We want Medicare and Social Security at the expense of the younger generation, and we're willin' to send 'em to war halfway around the globe while we fly a flag. But we don't want 'em to have health care at our expense, and we won't vote ourselves a tax increase to pay for supportin' our soldiers and veterans. We are the "ME ME ME" generation, not them. :(


Da problem with the image of scouting isn't the good deed doin'. Boys are happy to be good deed doers, if it's Harry Potter or James Bond or all da guys in their video games. They just don't want to be wimps. And da BSA in their minds is associated with being wimps. With little-kiddie stuff from Cub Scouts. With overweight, goofy adults in clown uniforms.


Don't blame da perception of the BSA on the kids. Da blame lies squarely at our feet.


Now, sailingpj raises a different issue, eh? He's talkin' about real discrimination by public entities. I think that's true, eh? I think the BSA and individual scouts really do experience some of that, especially post-Dale. Same as some Christian kids experience discrimination in schools. We should listen carefully when the kids are tellin' us that, and as adults address it forcefully.




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The BSA has discriminated against the non religious and the gay segments of our society so of course they will be discriminated against for those exclusionary policies. As far as the scouts being cool or not among the youth I have to disagree with the ol Beav, working with youth for over two decades now I have indeed have heard and seen some youth tease scouts, especially if they are in uniform, as being "mommas boys", "gay boys", and a variety of other names I can not mention in a public forum.


The scout youth have told me part of the problem is the "uniform stigma" and the other is the goody two shoes imagery scouts seem to have among youth. These are not adult prejudices but come right from the kids themselves. Sadly many of the scout youth have said they will not wear their uniforms at school or in public because of the insults they receive from other youth. Now this same problem was around when I was a kid as well many years ago, so the question becomes why has the BSA uniform attracted such mean natured attacks for such a long period in scouting history?

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I'm not sure you're disagreeing with Beavah. You both agree that Scouts are not perceived to be cool. Beavah is saying it's not because they do good deeds - it's because of the uniforms and stuff associated with Cub Scouts. You are saying it's because of the uniform and because of the goody-two-shoes image. I'd say you're both right.


So what causes the goody-two-shoes image? I think a lot of it is the uniform. Another item is probably the constant repetition of the Scout Oath and Law, especially while in uniform. I don't think that it's doing service projects though - lots of groups do those and don't share the same image.

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What causes the image problem? Yes, the uniform (shirts in particular though neckers don't appear to be wildly popular among the guys I know). Also, the fakery. It is one thing to *say* you are going to have an adventurous program where boys learn real skills and get to do cool stuff with more respect from adults and less overwhelming adult presence/control. It is another to watch what really happens. If what really happens is that adults run everything and (to borrow from something Nike wrote elsewhere) "tell the youth what the adults decided the youth want to do" then it won't work. Teens are amazingly good at picking up on hypocrisy, shallowness, and lack of genuine respect, and they respond accordingly.



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I've never heard of a Boy Scout (including Boy Scout Leaders in all future mentions) denied a job because they were a Boy Scout. I've never heard of a Boy Scout fired because they were in Scouts. I've never heard of a Boy Scout denied housing because of Scouts. I've never heard of a Boy Scout denied a vote because they were in Scouts. I've never heard of a Boy Scout denied membership in an organization because they were a Scout. I've never heard of a Boy Scout being harrassed by Law Enforcement because they were a Scout. I've never head of a Boy Scout being denied the right to marry the person he loves because he's a Boy Scout. I've never heard of a Boy Scout being denied visitation rights to a loved one because he was a Boy Scout. I've never heard of a Boy Scout being thrown out of military service because they were a Boy Scout. I've never heard of a Boy Scout being denied service at a restaurant because he was a Scout. I've never heard of a Boy Scout being told to sit in the back of the bus because he's a Boy Scout. I've never heard of a Boy Scout unit denied a spot to march in a parade because they were Boy Scouts.


If any of the above occurs because someone is in Scouts, let us know. Until then, can we agree not to diminish real, harmful discrimination with watered down complaints about being treated the same as everyone else?





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Here's my .02 on it:


Name anything that isn't discriminated against in some part at some place.


I live within, between 10 minutes to 2 hours (any direction) from 7 military bases. The closest being Marine Corps Base Camp Lejune.


As I have lived in my area since 1977, I have met many , many fine marines. Many kind courtious and helpfull sailors too.


But let one Marine or "boot" get into a fight at a local bar, and all you hear about for 6 months is "Those stupid jarheads!"


Nobody sees, notices or remembers the marines who do good deeds, work with habitat for humanity or cleaned up and rebuilt the local kids park.


There are about 6 different churches in 3 square miles from my house17 in a 20 sq mile area. Not a big deal, But each church gets a bad reputation due to a few "self rightous and egotistical self proclaimed saints".


Let 1 member of any church be a braggart, and the whole church gets a bad name.


I'm not so sure scouting is any different. Let that one mom or dad brag about why Jr is sooooo much better than your kids because he can tale a pine cone and create a nuclear bomg and luanch it into space with a super popsicle trobuchea? ..Uhhh..catapult!


Those parents kids just sucks up all the "glory is me" attention and soon becaomes conceted. Nobody likes that kid either!


That parent makes you want to punch them when they talk about their kids. You hope your kid never turns out that way and as a matter of fact, you do not allow your own kid to join!


In NASCAR, some fans get the notion that if you can yell louder than anybody, not only are you smarter, but your driver somehome magically becomes more skilled!



So, my point? Let one conceited scout( or his parents) stand up, yell louder , harder and more self rightously than anybody else.. and that's all the public sees. Not the other 50 scouts in the same pack who are normal and do great stuff for the community for the sake of doing it!


Anyways, we as scouters see the discrimination against us, but everybody( groups) gets it. Some more or worse than others.

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Sure, there's the national political bias against the BSA. I just think we live in a time where there is a segment of our population that doesn't like institutions such as the BSA, organized religion, the military, etc... Personally I think it's got something to do with folks who grew up in the 60s and 70s being in charge today. A lot of those people in turn passed their feelings along to their kids.


At the local level, I can't say I see a lot of discrimination against the BSA. Generally everyone I meet is pretty OK with the BSA. Sure there have been some policy decisions that affect the BSA at a local level (such as no units in schools), but I think I can count those on one hand.


Sure, a lot of the kids think it's not cool to be in an organization such as the BSA. But I don't think that constitutes discrimination.


I certainly don't feel discriminated against.


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Why do white suburban kids emulate black urban "culture?" That has been happening for over 40 years. Rebellion sells for some.


Adolescence is very awkward age. Both boys and girls are trying to find out where they fit in and heaven forbid they are "different" than their peers. Whether it be Scouts, Goths, marching band, robotics, jocks, cheerleaders, nerds, etc. - most want to be a member of something.


I got a big kick at being a Scoutmaster for the national jamboree. Because of the age restrictions (and maturity) the Scouts are the age of what I think Boy Scouts should be - 13 to 18. I remember the SPL was the captain of the high school football team (i.e. "cool"), the ASPL was in marching band, cross country and track teams, we had scholars, jocks, etc. but they were 'stealth' Scouts - you would not know they were Scouts unless you were in their troop. Because there are about seven different troops in the area of medium size or bigger (

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh, having lived in several locales in the country, I can say for certain that there are many different views on Scouts.


I haven't heard the Gay one though.


Most of the views have to do with BSA's perceived discrimination against others.






White Supremacists


In my current location, the schools will use Cub Scouts as helpers for functions and provide facilities for them, but no the BSA. This due to the religious affiliations of BSA Troops.


There are those who view BSA to be a paramilitary organization...



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For blacks, an organization that wore uniforms, built fires, net out in the woods at night, etc. was too close to other organizations. That was 20 to 30 years ago.


Right now, I think many boys, of all races, need to have "adult association" preferably with adult males, because it is lacking in their home life. Scouts can provide that for some.

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