Hi - I'm new here. I am seeking advice about an incident that recently happened.
I was talking to the husband of a work colleage of mine. Let's call the husband Roy. Roy is a Boy Scout leader and father of two middle school boys who are members of Roy's troop. Roy had taken his troop, including his two sons on a camping trip. I asked Roy how the trip went. He said they all had lots of fun even though the weather was quite cold for camping. He said,"We played lots of running games outside so they never got cold." He went on to say with a tinge of sarcasm in his voice."We played a a 'politically incorrect' game called 'Smear the *****.' I guess it's not really around anymore - I used to play it as a kid - but they had seemed to like it."
I was stunned and offended. I had to just walk away from the conversation. So many aspects about this offended me:#1: This guy is supposed to be a role model to his kids and troop. What kind of behavior modelling is it to play a game called "Smear the *****?" Would it have been 'politically incorrect' to play "Mash the Muslim" or "Crucify the Christian!?" Or would it have been just plain WRONG?#2: What if a kid in his troop (middle school boys) may be realizing he's gay? How safe does he feel now in this troop?#3: Roy KNOWS I'm a lesbian w/ a partner and two kids. I just could not believe the breezy matter-of-factness manner in which he related this story to me.
I want to confront him gently but firmly to let him know how offensive this conversation was for me and the greater implications of his seeming ignorance of how hurtful this "game" is.
definitely confront him. his behaviour is disgusting. makes me wonder what kind of criteria organizations have to let people like this get into leadership positions. fine if he believes this as long as it doens't effect anyone besides him, but to brainwash and perpetuate discrimination is terrible.
i actually would confront him, and if you think he will do it again, i would write an annonymous (if you are worried about keeping a friendship with him ad his wife, which i really wouldn't be) letter to his organization letting them know about this. and follow up! a person like him should not have the ability to mould little people's minds!
also, if it works out well when/if you confront him, i think he needs to sit his troop down and explain that game will not be played anymore and explain why. those kids will beleive its acceptable otherwise. its gross to think that some of those kids may be passing the game along to their friends now!
Yes, the name of the game is not very sensitive, but the game itself is basically tackle football, where EVERYBODY tries to tackle the person with the ball. So I don't really think the game is an issue. As a troop leader, maybe Roy should have realized that it wasn't an appropriate name, and called the game something else. On the other hand, we are talking about the Boy Scouts, which, as an organization, are very openly anti-gay. I would never let any of my 3 sons be a part of the Scouts because of the intolerance that they promote.
You could tell Roy how you feel about it, but keep in mind that he has probably never experienced any type of discrimination, so he won't truly understand where you're coming from. To him this was just a fun game from his childhood. (Don't ask me why pummeling each other is fun to boys, I have no clue.) Back then nobody knew anybody who was openly gay, so even though it's called "smear the *****" it really had nothing to do with homosexuality.
Thank you all for your feedback. I did post my concerns on a scouting message board. Seven out of eight answers from scout leaders said that Roy was way outta line. One leader write words to the effect that even though there are membership criteria (I know what that means: no gays or atheists allowed) they still teach diversity. Dunno how they do that within the context of the BSA's bias against the LGBT community and non-believers, but at least they all felt that "Smear the *****" is inappropriate.
They also agreed that I need to make my concern known to Roy. I am steeling up my courage to do so.
Please get the courage....thats completly unacceptable! I'm a girl scout leader and I was horrified by your post. This person should never be allowed to lead another boy scout meeting or even be around children for that matter! Sadly, he's raising them
He will not be able to get away with this anyway-I'm sure there were boys at the camping trip that felt very uncomfortable and told there parents. Scouting is about (at least where i'm from) celebrating diversity- in any form!
I'm sorry you thought this was a "friend". It must have been very hurtful for you.
BTW-Either girl scouting is different or it's different where i'm from but our scouting council has no rules in regard to sexual prefrence or color or religion or ANYTHING!
Last edited by dfroman1166; 02-27-2007 at 06:02 PM.
I agree that the title of the game is offensive, but I'm hoping you at least talked to Roy about it first. That's a very important step. If you haven't yet, then you should know he might completely agree with you and apologize, and change his ways. I'm not taking his side. I'm just saying not all prejudice is intentional. As a guy, I can say there's a possibility that maybe he really is just that stupid.