Tuesday, August 25, 2015

No Fun at Home? Just kill him!

A freshman at Duke recently posted a concern on his Facebook account. Brian Grasso, who plans on studying Global Health, recently saw a graphic novel on his syllabus and decided to refuse the assignment.
Better on Broadway... apparently.

It's not just that he decided not to read the book and refuse the assignment, but that he decided to post his reasoning - which turned his decision into into a national discussion.

"I don’t believe my position will limit my exposure to essential lessons in history, philosophy or literature," he states. " I assume that having to view graphic images of sex for a class will be rare. If it does happen, I will avoid any titillating content and encourage like-minded students to do the same. And I believe professors should warn me about such material, not because I might consider them offensive or discomforting, but because I consider it immoral."

Grasso claims that the issue is not homosexuality or any LGBT issue. He states that in his research over the graphic novel he found that it contained pornography. He decided to take a stand on moral grounds without an eye to any political standing.

"I recognize, of course," he states, "that Christians on campus and throughout the country have an important responsibility, too. We need to learn how to dialogue across differences. Over the past couple of days, I have received many encouraging messages from a new friend, who considers herself bisexual and a Buddhist. She and I became friends after she saw my Facebook post. Instead of criticizing me, she asked me to explain my beliefs. I, in turn, asked her to explain the Buddhist perspective on sexuality. This is how diversity is supposed to work. We each shared our perspective, and walked away from the conversation with a deeper understanding and compassion for each other. That is what college is really about."

He says nothing of the negative comments that follow his essay in the Washington Post - and they are plenty. He gets called gay and stupid. He is told to go find a quiet conservative college. He is labeled as a homophobe and a bigot.

One comment caught my eye:

"I've never met Brian Grasso, but based on what little I do know (his picture and these paragraphs), I can tell that he's flaming."

I am appalled, and unfortunately am not surprised that I am appalled. Is it not possible anymore for anyone to decent or disagree with the norm without being skewered?  It's not just his opinion that is being questioned, but his right to it.  His very being is called into question.

Another comment made suggested that the public should check to see if his email is on the Ashley Madison list. These comments are along the same lines of established and intellectual retorts as "Oh, yeah!"  and "I know you are, but what am I?"

Sometimes I am embarrassed for humanity in general. This is one of those times.

1 comment:

  1. I think that those who chose to polarize themselves should think of our planet's polar environments...and realize how uninhabitable they are. We were not meant to be so vitriolic. I wish I knew Grasso...I wish I knew you...and that all of us who love and care and influence in our circles of influence would become the voice...but to become the voice we must begin to reach beyond our current circles of influence in a positive and affirming way. Did you, for instance, reach out to Grasso and send him a link to this blog? I believe that change is possible in me and in everyone...and we must ask for the irrationality to change to where we can be proud of our shared humanity. Proud that we can collectively accomplish great and wonderfully good things that benefit everyone wherever they stand. Thanks.