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BSA's Commitment to Act Against Racial Injustice

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55 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

What additional actions would you have BSA take to help eliminate discrimination?  Are there other best practices that they should follow and are not?

BSA must be willing look to its own house, and identify any aspects of its organization, operations, and program that could be considered discriminatory or racially insensitive or belittling, or a cultural misappropriation, or a condition that -- however unintentionally -- results in exclusion or inequality in access to or benefits of the Scouting program.  That would mean looking at things like:

  • Rates of earning Eagle Scout rank by race, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, etc.
  • The use of Native American / Indigenous Peoples themes in the Order of the Arrow and in every other aspect of the program.
  • The Declaration of Religious Principle.
  • Whether any Chartered Organization can exclude any person from a sponsored unit.
  • As @MattR has noted, the presence of Scouting units within various communities, and a full analysis of where Scouting units are found, the demographics of those communities, the types of chartered organizations in those communities, and the demographics of BSA members.
  • The cost of participation in Scouting programs in comparison to income levels in communities where Scouting is found and not found.
  • The burden placed on parental time by the Scouting program, and whether Scouting is more prevalent in two-parent families, single-income families, single-job families, etc.
  • Correlation between the presence of Scouting units and school quality.  

And more.

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4 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

Something much more like this:  https://www.scouts.org.uk/news/2020/june/a-statement-from-chief-scout-bear-grylls/   A statement of support; of the idea that justice, empathy, and peace are part of the very fabric of Scouting; that these events reinforce the necessity for each Scout, each Scouter, each unit, each Council, and every other component of the Boy Scouts of America to ensure that we are living and acting every day in accordance with those principles.  It must be deep, open-ended, and continuing. 

By responding with steps that are minor -- a merit badge, a sensitivity class, a review of property names -- BSA is saying that the underlying racial issues are minor.  And that is coming from an organization that just a few years ago was seen as one of the biggest advocates of discrimination and exclusion in America.  

 

 

I am not tracking your logic -  BSA also put out a statement and then a decision to take positive action to educate Scouts on racism and discrimination.  The UK put a statement out and that is more proactive?  This is an opportunity to educate scouts on racism and discrimination, to have a difficult conversation about this subject, and hopefully develop young men adn women who can add to the conversation and elimination of this scourge.  Statements alone are no enough.  This is a chance for scouts to be educated and informed, and become the future leaders of this nation this program is designed for.  

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Just this past weekend my son's Law Enforcement Explorer leaders emphasized to the post youth to keep their opinions to themselves and not wear anything identifying them with law enforcement for their own safety.   Got a lot of feelings and thoughts about all of this but I'll just keep them to myself.

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Just now, Navybone said:

I am not tracking your logic -  BSA also put out a statement and then a decision to take positive action to educate Scouts on racism and discrimination.  The UK put a statement out and that is more proactive?  This is an opportunity to educate scouts on racism and discrimination, to have a difficult conversation about this subject, and hopefully develop young men adn women who can add to the conversation and elimination of this scourge.  Statements alone are no enough.  This is a chance for scouts to be educated and informed, and become the future leaders of this nation this program is designed for.  

As soon as BSA said, "this is what we're going to do," anything else BSA had say was irrelevant.  All that matters is what BSA is going to do, and what it is going to do is next to nothing:  a merit badge, a class, a review of names.

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1 minute ago, dkurtenbach said:

As soon as BSA said, "this is what we're going to do," anything else BSA had say was irrelevant.  All that matters is what BSA is going to do, and what it is going to do is next to nothing:  a merit badge, a class, a review of names.

I do not agree that merit badges are useless, so I can see why I did not follow your logic earlier. 

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5 minutes ago, thrifty said:

Just this past weekend my son's Law Enforcement Explorer leaders emphasized to the post youth to keep their opinions to themselves and not wear anything identifying them with law enforcement for their own safety.   Got a lot of feelings and thoughts about all of this but I'll just keep them to myself.

A scout, that used to be in my troop and is now a cop on the city police force, said it's a very complicated mess. As long as people appreciate that fact I think it's possible to talk about it. We talked about a lot of issues and I learned a lot. Let's just say I'm proud of this scout and my town's police force.

I think this is one of those areas where there are lots of assumptions on both sides about how easy it is to solve that just make things hard to talk about.

 

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1 hour ago, dkurtenbach said:

BSA must be willing look to its own house

BSA doesn't own the councils or the units.  It is not their house.  

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IMHO....this is a family discussion issue just like the YPT pamphlets for Scout Ranks and Cubs.   This is not just a BLM issue, it spans across all ethnic and other groups who experience racism possibly including groups we don't agree with?   

With an almost 600,000 loss of membership in the last year. The BSA needs to focus on their current issues that could put them out of business. 

Adding an Eagle Required MB is unnecessary.    If you want to inculcate this into scouts you make American Cultures a required MB for Tenderfoot.  Doing it as the last MB the night before a scout turns 18 does nothing for the scout or the younger guys.  Will this be a required line of questioning for the Eagle BOR?  All BORs?  How do you show diversity and inclusion diversity in your scouting actions?

Will the BSA eliminate the OA?   Indian Lore MB? 

Will they remove all references to Baden Powell from the history of the BSA?  Does the term Brownsea get axed?

Again JMHO. 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, PACAN said:

IMHO....this is a family discussion issue just like the YPT pamphlets for Scout Ranks and Cubs.   This is not just a BLM issue, it spans across all ethnic and other groups who experience racism possibly including groups we don't agree with?   

With an almost 600,000 loss of membership in the last year. The BSA needs to focus on their current issues that could put them out of business. 

Adding an Eagle Required MB is unnecessary.    If you want to inculcate this into scouts you make American Cultures a required MB for Tenderfoot.  Doing it as the last MB the night before a scout turns 18 does nothing for the scout or the younger guys.  Will this be a required line of questioning for the Eagle BOR?  All BORs?  How do you show diversity and inclusion diversity in your scouting actions?

Will the BSA eliminate the OA?   Indian Lore MB? 

Will they remove all references to Baden Powell from the history of the BSA?  Does the term Brownsea get axed?

Regarding Baden-Powell, to quote Bear Grylls  “Baden-Powell may have taken the first step in creating Scouting, but the journey continues today without him. We know where we came from but we are not going back." (I added emphasis).  The organization and the leadership can, must be stronger than one man. It does not mean tossing out all his ideas, it means keeping and strengthening the right ones. 

Regarding a pamphlet for family discussion - racism is a learned behavior.  The racism that Blacks in this country have been experiencing is not a new problem, and if we want to be part of the solution to end racism, of all types, than the MB is not a bad idea (be it a stand alone badge or part of American Culture).   Expose the youth to understanding the dangers and inherent inequity of racism, so that they can recognize it and act.  Empower them with the knowledge not to perpetuate.  Just like the CitNation MB makes the scouts learn about the Bill of Rights, this gives them the tools to understand why people protest when the constitution is failing them. After all, is not the mission of BSA: " to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law."

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Posted (edited)
On 6/15/2020 at 8:27 PM, Jameson76 said:

So...

BSA has decided to change the Eagle requirements AND add a new merit badge with little or no input from volunteers.  Sort of on a whim.  Great move.  This falls into the "let's do something even if it's not well thought out" category

BSA has decided to add to the required training for volunteers with little or no input.  Another great move

Not saying these are necessarily poor initiatives.  They wreak of knee jerk reaction and a lack of actual leadership

I got my Eagle 33 years ago and OA Brotherhood.  I’ve commented a lot lately on decentralization and focus in various ways.  I was a little taken aback at this new diversity merit badge, let alone its requirement. For my part, I don’t like having to inject high octane gas politics into the enjoyment and development of youth.  As I’ve written elsewhere, that was not my experience in Memphis, TN...not always viewed in a particularly progressive light.  Diversity is certainly a fact of life.  I was under the impression that Boy Scouts, being a global enterprise with just about every ethnic group and major culture under the sun included, was diversified.  I thought that Jamborees were indicative of that.  I thought the God and Country award  allowed almost all main religious belief systems on Earth to have their system represented.  I also was under the impression that most of the values and principles taught in Scouts were fairly universal across the globe.  
 

Citizenship merit badges are of course required as tgey should be.  I could easily see the need for making sure that diversity,  as the current culture climate wants it to be, was fully represented.  I was under the impression that Citizenship fully means the citizenry of the US and each of the community,  Nation and World badges not only introduces a youth to the history and fundamental institutions of government but politics.  Youth need the introduction to all of the matters in those badges AND the guidance and input from parents and leaders on the local level.  I have a great deal of difficulty, very great in fact, understanding how a separate merit badge and it’s requirement is anything than a forced peace cow to a hot potato issue.  
 

Do not mistake me, I do not belittle diversity or the importance of it.  As a nation and world of mixed people, cultures and traditions we interact with others.  But we have no less that at least 3 required merit badges and national and international programs that squarely deal with this.  I’m aware merit badges come and go (I wish they’d bring martial arts back from 1911) but most of these changes do not appear to me to have been the subject of political and legal difficulties.  At some point, the national organization is going to render itself obsolete for district and local groups.  They will have so angered and disaffected entire swathes of the country that they will simply be ignored.  Scouting cannot be repossessed or taken away from the people but the people can do without the national umbrella in their own way, even if it means reforming under a slightly different entity.  
 

The Indian culture is another matter.  That is a slippery slope.  First you do away with representations, then you strike district names, the you gut  content so as not to offend.  Then camps and parts of camps are re named and so it goes till all the possible content that might offend is expunged.  Im not advocating offending anyone, far to the contrary, being ugly and rude to individuals is not for me.  But the last time I checked, there was no guarantee in the US Constitution of the right not to be offended.  Someone will always be offended.  The native tribes near Mt. Rushmore hate it it because the land was stolen from them.  So how will Scouts deal with that reality?  By all that’s consistent, we should condemn it, and not refer to it at all or at least remark that there are offended people (If we are talking about Indian and Indian culture). Some may remark that the examples are absurd.  They absolutely are.  ALL of them.  I have never known anyone to use Order of the Arrow regalia or anything other than a respectful manner.  But, I suppose that this doesn’t matter.  There is a risk in doing this sort of thing.  A desire to be correct may lead to an entire culture being excluded and ignored because no one will risk dealing with them.  The drivers of such a correcting force also risks being ignored.  That takes me back to the first part of what I said about the national organization.  
 

The LDS broke away with hundreds of thousands to preserve its understanding of tradition.  It appears that more legions of youth and adults may likewise part company and renew themselves under a different but similar fashion.  That’s a shame really.  Traditional scouting isn’t about creating a new unrecognizable creature out of a Frankensteinian lab.  There are alternatives and many may choose to take them.  It won’t make them lesser or ugly people.  It doesn't make them ingrates, backwards or hateful.  It means they have particular communal visions for how scouting was, is, and should be for the development of their youth in what is foremost a fun environment with particular features. 

Edited by Troop75Eagle
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On 6/15/2020 at 11:48 PM, David CO said:

No, I think they have been planning something like this for some time now.  They have probably been looking for a reason to impose their political correctness doctrine.  I don't think this is just a knee jerk reaction.  I think they are taking advantage of recent events to do what they have been wanting to do all along.

This won't be just about racism.  They will add the whole liberal grocery list.

Perhaps National reacted, rather followed, the response of some local Councils. Consider Gulf Stream Council which posted this video a week before National's letter in OP. The content is similar.

 

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30 minutes ago, RememberSchiff said:

Perhaps National reacted, rather followed, the response of some local Councils. Consider Gulf Stream Council which posted this video a week before National's letter in OP. The content is similar.

Thanks for the video clip.  I'll watch it later.  I have grandkids sleeping in the next bedroom, and I don't want to disturb.

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@Navybone

The point on B-P is that rational decisions and thought processes are devoid in people today.     There are folks who want to remove the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial.

The question  on the pamphlet vs a MB is making it Eagle required is where do you want the BSA to inject itself in this area?   My point is early.  This will overtime become another last minute MB done to check the block.  Also believe it or not we are not the primary influence on a boys life.   We see then an hour and a half a week and once a month on an outdoor event if we are lucky.  Just as in Family Life MB family meeting requirement there are sensitive topics that are discussed and we are not going to inject ourselves in these.

Again JMHO with recognition that nobody asked me and nobody will.   Enjoy.

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