Thursday, April 8, 2010

go jump off a bridge

Will Phillips made national headlines last fall in Arkansas when he refused to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance on the grounds that there was not "liberty and justice" for LGBT people. When asked to stand and recite the pledge he told his teacher, 'politely', that she could go jump off a bridge.

What do we learn from Will Phillips? According to Will what he did took a bit of a risk but it was worth it in the end and he encourages others to take a risk as well. I do commend this 8 year old for standing up for others and possibly himself (that remains to be seen?), but why was he specifically thrust into the spotlight. Well, for one, he is white and male, images of him and his family evoke the prototypical "american" family aesthetic. What about the thousands, and probably hundreds of thousands of kids who refuse to stand or recite the pledge of allegiance everyday, those who are swept under the rug and forgotten?
And how does his position as a young, innocent white boy allow him to tell his teacher to "jump off a bridge" and still he is enrolled in school and now glorified for his actions (although he did issue an apology for the manner in which he talked to his teacher)? How is this boy able to take this risk and be safe within that?

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