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Feb 13 2012

Segregation lives!

The Dallas Independent School District spent $57,000 to send students on a field trip, which sounds like a lot, but given that 5700 kids went on it, it isn’t that bad, and is a fairly routine expenditure. So the story is OK so far.

They went to see a movie, Red Tails, as part of Black History Month. Now it’s getting a little sketchy: that’s a commercial, Hollywood piece of entertainment, and a new release. But OK, I’d let it slide as an opportunity to couple history with an entertaining story. (If it had been for English and a chance to learn about the language from George Lucas’s dialog, though, there would be hell to pay.)

Here’s where it goes really, really wrong: only boys were allowed to go on the trip, and girls had to stay behind under the supervision of substitute teachers.

Their excuse: “it was something the boys would be interested in because it was about African-American men” and:

“There is only so much available space at the movie theater, so the decision was made for boys to attend the movie. Girls stayed at school but principals were given the option to show them ‘Akeelah and the Bee.’”

The girls’ movie is an uplifting story about a girl going to a spelling bee. The boys’ movie is a big-budget sfx-fest with explosions and airplanes. The girls’ movie was an inexpensive afterthought shown in their classrooms. The boys’ movie involved an expensive field trip.

Oh, yeah, that sounds like an equal opportunity for both.

111 comments

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  1. 1
    Marta

    This is an action by a school district that is completely indefensible. And the girls get to stay home, watching “Akeelah and the Bee”?

    Okay, off to vent some rage somewhere.

  2. 2
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    How is that even legal?

  3. 3
    nooneinparticular

    Unbelievable. How in the world could the Dallas school district not see the idiocy of this decision?

  4. 4
    Eskeptrical Engineer

    I am seriously flabbergasted. How many teachers/parents/administrators had to sign off on this plan? How did it take outside groups to point out that something was completely fucked up here?

  5. 5
    thegoodman

    Everything is bigger in Texas. Even stupidity and sexism.

    Can we please just allow these assholes to secede.

  6. 6
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    What did the girls’ parents say? It must have been known that on that day the (male side of the) school was going on a field trip. And I can’t imagine girls being happy with the situation and not complaining at home.

  7. 7
    Gvlgeologist, FCD

    It probably is true that most of the boys would want to see the Red Tails (which I happened to see last night) and few would want (in comparison) to see Akeelah and the Bee. Not being a girl, I don’t know which the girls would want to see. Maybe the girls WOULD mostly want to see AatB.

    But to simply assume that one group as a whole should see one movie and the other group should see the other simply reeks of discrimination. At a minimum, they should have asked each student which they wanted to see and let each student go to their desired movie.

    There is a larger point here – if Red Tails had a point that was important to make for Black History month, everyone should have seen it. If Akeelah and the Bee (which I don’t know anything about) had an important point, everyone should have seen it. Are they really saying that discrimination against African Americans during WWII was only of interest to boys? If not, was this just an entertainment trip just for boys and not girls?

    By the way, an OK movie. Generally good flying scenes, but no FW190s or B24s. Far too many Me262s, and the Tuskeegee Airmen started out with the B/C models of P51s, not the D model. And a lot of historical inaccuracies in the plot. Several stereotypical characters. Definitely not a documentary. Maybe 3 stars out of 5. Could have shown one of the actual documentaries on the Tuskeegee Airmen.

  8. 8
    Travis

    Wow, that is amazing. The though of doing this would have never crossed my mind. I am also amazed that they wasted $57000 on this event of dubious historical and theatrical value. Surely that money could have been used to educate those children.

  9. 9
    Randomfactor

    Unbelievable. How in the world could the Dallas school district not see the idiocy of this decision?

    “Forget it, Jake, it’s Dallas.”

  10. 10
    Chuck

    I think I would have rather seen “Akeelah and the Bee.”

  11. 11
    interrobang

    Notwithstanding that sex-role stereotyping is crap, since when do girls not like movies with explosions and airplanes? I mean, besides the fact that watching airplane movies with an ex-military/commercial pilot dad is a buzzkill because he always has to point out every inaccuracy and mistake, airplane movies are great.

    Besides which, if girls weren’t socialised from birth to also like “boy movies,” they’d never watch anything, because there just aren’t that many “chick flicks” aimed at pre-adolescents at all.

  12. 12
    Travis

    How was the CG in the movie? When I saw the previews for it I cringed, it felt like I was watching computer generated planes fly around without any sort of realism. I thought Tora! Tora! Tora! felt more impressive from what I had seen.

  13. 13
    aaronsavadge

    You’re totally right. This is an outrage. Those boys deserve justice, being forced to watch Red Tails is completely unfair.

  14. 14
    DLC

    This blog needs a W.T.F! button.
    seriously. They sent the boys to see a war movie, left the girls to watch a movie about a spelling bee, and consider this fair ?
    What kind of nonsensical crap is this ?
    Even for Texas, it’s crummy.

  15. 15
    beemee

    35 years on, I am still upset that I didn’t get to try to climb that rope up to the top of the gym because only the boys were permitted.
    On a small First Nations Reservation in Ontario Canada there are two buses to take kids to school. One for the First Nations kids and the other which is not allowed to come onto the Rez but comes down the fringe roads and picks up non-native kids who live on the Rez. This bus takes ‘white’ kids to the public and catholic schools in town and the public high school. Nobody has bothered to change policy to allow non-native kids onto the Rez bus. In this case, I guess it has to do with taxes but all the school boards are amalgamated and have been for over 20 years.
    Let’s not forget our Native People.

  16. 16
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    According to the DISD website the contact information for the board of trustees is:

    [email protected],
    [email protected],
    [email protected],
    [email protected],
    [email protected],
    [email protected],
    [email protected],
    [email protected],
    [email protected]

    Go get ‘em.

  17. 17
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    Well, shit. I tried to post a list of the DISD Board of Trustees email addresses, not realizing that they would post as links and my comment would go to the moderation hole.

    The addresses are here: http://www.dallasisd.org/Page/2647

    Go get ‘em.

  18. 18
    Gvlgeologist, FCD

    @Travis: CG was pretty good. In many cases, if I didn’t KNOW that they were fake (there aren’t a hundred B17s around any more), I wouldn’t have realized it. A lot of the scenes (especially w/ P40s and P51s), especially landing/taking off/flying near the ground, I think were not fake. The CG flying was, I’d say, on a par with the History Channel’s Dogfights but the rendering was much better.

    My biggest complaint was what actually happened – B17s losing wings from a few hits (a LOT), large numbers of Me262s attacking at once, at least a half dozen Me262s shot down in dogfights w/P51s in ONE mission. These are simply historically inaccurate.

  19. 19
    normolsen

    PZ:
    there would be hell to pay.

    I hope that quote was on purpose because that was excellent!

  20. 20
  21. 21
    pentatomid

    Wow, Texas never ceases to surprise me with their level of stupid.

    You’re totally right. This is an outrage. Those boys deserve justice, being forced to watch Red Tails is completely unfair.

    Is Red Tails really that bad? I haven’t seen it yet, but was planning to, since I love WWII aircraft.

    35 years on, I am still upset that I didn’t get to try to climb that rope up to the top of the gym because only the boys were permitted.

    Pff… I’m still upset I did have to climb. Most of all, I’m upset that in my school, any time we had sports, the girls would get to do all kinds of different sports (javelin throwing, baseball, tennis,…) and all we boys ever did was run around the park and play soccer.

  22. 22
    zb24601

    I wish I had known that girls would not be interested in Red Tails. I took my niece (who is a girl) to see it, and she (not knowing she should not be interested) liked it very much. The whole way home, we talked about the Tuskegee Airmen, and how racial discrimination is counter productive to society.

  23. 23
    starstuff

    I remember the boys being shunted out to the playground so we could watch a presentation on feminine hygiene. I’m surprised the district didn’t utilize boys-on-field-trip-time for that purpose…

  24. 24
    carlie

    5700 kids went on the field trip?? How big is this district? That sounds like it crosses at least two schools.

    Or was it 5700 boys, since the girls didn’t get to go at all?

    Regardless, with that many I can’t believe there weren’t a lot of complaints.

    This makes me so mad I can’t even.

  25. 25
    thedancingkid

    This is a bit off topic, but I wonder if anyone noticed something about the trailer to this movie that has been playing on television. In it the voice over calls Red Tails the feel good of the year. Seconds later a fighter plane is shown strafing or bombing a warship and a giant fireball ensues.

    Can you imagine the horror of sailors on a ship being burned alive, or being gravely burned and dying after an extended period of unimaginable suffering, or being scarred horribly for life? What is there about that that anyone should feel good about?

    And what sort of collective thinking is it that produces pro-war movies such and this?

    Over forty years ago, Martin Luther King called the U. S. the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. This certainly is every bit as true now as it was then. Is this sort of movie what we want black children to see? Or any children? Or instead, are not pro-war movies precisely one of the things this country doesn’t need?

  26. 26
    lofgren

    If there is one thing that teenage girls hate, it’s handsome black men in uniform.

  27. 27
    drl2

    It’s on a smaller scale, but the local school district is having a big “Real Men Read” event. While I’m all for encouraging kids to read, I have a problem with not being invited to bring my daughters along – there are number of sessions they’d be interested in seeing, especially if you rip out the phrase “real men” everywhere they’ve sprinkled it through the brochure.

    http://www.apposchooldistrict.com/news/index.cfm?step=1&ArticleID=1134

    The segregation is based on the claim that boys’ pre-teen recreational reading time is lower than girls’, so they lag behind in later school years. This might be true, but I don’t see it as justification for telling my daughters they can’t attend an event where they can see animals, artists, pirates, science, and, er, that sport-ish stuff.

  28. 28
    Rieux

    I’ve seen Akeelah and the Bee. It’s okay; nothing to gush about, but it’s not garbage. It’s more or less Rocky recast as a likeable ~eighth-grader training for and succeeding in a major spelling bee. It’s certainly pro-education and pro-intellectual activity, or at least as much those things as spelling bees themselves are.

    I haven’t seen Red Tails, but George Lucas being George Lucas, I think there’s a very good chance that Akeelah is the better film.

    None of which makes the Dallas administrators’ behavior any the less reprehensible, or potentially illegal.

  29. 29
    Pteryxx

    …ARGH. And this being Dallas, of course NONE of those girls who didn’t get to go see Red Tails MIGHT’VE BEEN BLACK or anything.

    *raaaage*

    And Red Tails isn’t supposed to be a documentary or describe the horrors of war. It doesn’t even go into depth on the horrors of racism at the time. It’s a cheesy, simple, underdogs-prove-everyone-wrong story made specifically so that kids could have black heroes. It’s meant to get under the US movie-going radar.

    I already wrote that when I went to see Red Tails, here in Texas, there were a few elderly black men in walkers with their whole families around them, cheering with huge grins of pride. This story needs told, and it needed to be told to the general clueless movie-going public who’d never pay to sit through a documentary of their own free will.

  30. 30
    unclefrogy

    starstuff
    well it is Texas how long can you talk about abstinence only sex education?

    uncle frogy

  31. 31
    shouldbeworking

    What moron approved that field trip? I thought the field trip approvals were tough in the district I teach in. Dallas is at the wrong end of that continuum. If my daughters ere registered that school, I would in the administration’s face using some very small simple words that they might understand.

  32. 32
    ibyea

    I have an idea. We should begin a process of evacuating all rational people from Texas while allowing the morons there to secede.

  33. 33
    Lynna, OM

    Follow the money. Who made money from this field trip in which 5700 boys were taken to the movies?

  34. 34
    jerthebarbarian

    Clicking through a couple of links to get to one of the sources, we also find this choice nugget:

    He said the district paid for the $32,000 field trip with Title I federal funds, which are earmarked for educating low-income students, and that the district’s Texas Education Agency monitor approved the field trip.

    (The $32,000 figure was what was originally reported, the $57,000 was in a later update).

    I was already WTF-ing the whole gender discrimination thing, but this makes it even more of a WTF moment. They not only discriminated against female students, they did it with federal funds. And they spent almost 60 grand worth of federal funds to send the kids to a movie. Is there nothing more educational than a Lucas film that the school might have wanted to spend 60K on?

    I’m actually waiting for the update now that says that the theater owner is the brother of the principal or the superintendent.

  35. 35
    Rieux

    Pteryxx @28:

    …ARGH. And this being Dallas, of course NONE of those girls who didn’t get to go see Red Tails MIGHT’VE BEEN BLACK or anything.

    I think the Dallas administrators’ response to that would be to point out that Akeelah and nearly all of the other main characters in Akeelah and the Bee are black, too. (And that Akeelah and her mother are, of course, female.) There’s even a not-all-that-subtle subplot in the film about the heroine overcoming white privilege and not a little (albeit unspoken) white supremacism.

    None of which is an adequate defense of the nasty-sexist policy you’re raging at, of course—but I’d bet heavily that it’s the reason that Akeelah, in particular, was chosen as the “good enough for girls” counterpart to Red Tails.

  36. 36
    robro

    Texas…What more can one say?

  37. 37
    pseudosphere

    If you haven’t seen it already this article is really good:
    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/01/22/us/tuskegee-airmen-first-couple/index.html

  38. 38
    firefly

    This just makes me want to run outside and scream! Damn it this makes me angry! And just yesterday I had someone telling me ‘there is equality now!’ Off to e-mail her this story…

    @jerthebarbarian, #33
    And this being in Texas, would this decision have been made by people who want to reduce government spending perhaps? Disgusting!

  39. 39
    Tsu Dho Nimh

    This is STUPID! I would have wanted to go to the movie about pilots, not watch some stupid spelling bee thing.

    There were non-white women in the military, some were officers and a few of them flew or trained pilots.

    Capt. Della H. Raney, Army Nurse Corps, who now heads the nursing staff at the station hospital at Camp Beale, CA. As a lieutenant serving at Tuskegee Army Airfield in Alabama, she was appointed Chief Nurse, Army Nurse Corps in 1942, the first African American to be so appointed.
    http://www.archives.gov/research/african-americans/ww2-pictures/images/african-americans-wwii-147.jpg

    Willa Beatrice Brown, a 31-year-old Negro American, serves her country by training pilots for the U.S. Army Air Forces. She is the first Negro woman to receive a commission as a lieutenant in the U.S. Civil Air Patrol
    http://www.archives.gov/research/african-americans/ww2-pictures/images/african-americans-wwii-154.jpg

    And my dad may have worked with some of these women: American Negro nurses, commissioned second lieutenants in the U.S. Army Nurses Corps. The nurses, who already had extensive training in the U.S., will be assigned to Allied hospitals in advanced sectors of the southwest Pacific theater.” February 1944

    http://www.archives.gov/research/african-americans/ww2-pictures/images/african-americans-wwii-183.jpg

  40. 40
    WordsOfAWizard

    Is this the whole story?

    The solution to limited space is a theater is pretty obvious. Send half of the students one day, wait a week for the place to clean up, and then send the other half of the students.

    Did they ever send the girls, or did it just stop there?

  41. 41
    carlie

    Wait wait wait.

    That was 57 thousand? I misread it as 57 hundred. So they didn’t even get a group discount on the tickets???? Or not much, if you include the cost of buses in it? Yeah, somebody at the movie theater is in bed with the school board (figuratively).

  42. 42
    A. R

    That’s not even “separate but equal”!

  43. 43
    carlie

    And they made a big deal about how it was “educational”, with lesson plans and everything, so there’s no denying that they specifically were withholding their own educational curriculum from the girls in the district.

  44. 44
    leonpeyre

    That’s just sad. If they did that to my daughter, I’d be p*ssed. ‘Course, the schools here in CA are unlikely to try something like that.

  45. 45
    dianne

    Ah, Dallas. I grew up in a “trendy and enlightened” suburb of Dallas with a “good” school district. My older sister went to the public HS and her biology teacher was not only a creationist but also a raving sexist. Not even in Dallas but in the wealthyish suburb that “real” Texans thought was a mass of liberal decadence. I ended up at a private school.

  46. 46
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    I wish people would quit slamming on the movie aspect of the thing. Especially for kids of that age, it’s really important for discussions of privilege and racism to have stories, to personalize the face of what goes on.

    When I was in middle school my whole grade went to see Malcolm X. I think as a group, we felt grown up and excited to go see am important movie. We talked about it for days and days, and it opened avenues of discussion that I am not sure could have been opened any other way.

    The point is not that federal funds were spent to take the kids to a movie (with a relevant educational and discussion purpose). Federal funds are supposed to be there to educate kids, the crime is that there aren’t more of them, not that they’re actually being spent. And the point of this incident is that only some kids got the opportunity to see this discussion and thought provoking movie, and the rest were left out unfairly.

  47. 47
    frog

    Who works for this school board? The same fuckwits who came up with that Dr. Pepper 10 commercial?

  48. 48
    Jadehawk

    It probably is true that most of the boys would want to see the Red Tails (which I happened to see last night) and few would want (in comparison) to see Akeelah and the Bee. Not being a girl, I don’t know which the girls would want to see. Maybe the girls WOULD mostly want to see AatB.

    dude…

    neither “girls” nor “boys” are monoliths or hive minds. “girls” don’t prefer anything any more than “boys do”; individuals would have a preference for one movie over the other. Not that it matters: the boys got a field trip, the girls were stuck at school; that in itself is already fucked up.

  49. 49
    Ing

    The solution to limited space is a theater is pretty obvious. Send half of the students one day, wait a week for the place to clean up, and then send the other half of the students.

    Did they ever send the girls, or did it just stop there?

    Look, read the damn story before you start looking for ways to excuse behavior. For fuck sake.

  50. 50
    footface

    That there were African American women involved in the historical events portrayed in Red Tails—and that therefore African American girls might have enjoyed the movie—isn’t really the point.

    The point is that the girls shouldn’t have been viewed as girls, but as students. (Likewise, for the boys.) If Red Tails contains things worth seeing and facts worth knowing and ideas worth exploring, then anyone who sees the movie would benefit. As students. As citizens.

  51. 51
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    This is true, footface, but it does make the facepalm even harder and more tragic.

  52. 52
    Algernon

    Hahahaha! This is where I’m from. I told you people it sucked here.

  53. 53
    Algernon

    Fuck I wish zombie Ann Richards would take over some times. This place didn’t suck as much then, it really didn’t. The Bush/Goodhair attacks on education and women are a part of this. We are now the state that requires you to be probed up the vagina if you need an abortion while you are shamed, where it’s easier to get crack than sex ed, and where we would rather spend astronomical amounts per year on toll fees than pay our taxes so that kids can have an education.

  54. 54
    Aquaria

    Can we please just allow these assholes to secede.

    Fuck you.

    You would consign the millions of African-Americans and Latinos and women and gays of Texas to no recourse whatsofuckingever against bullshit like this.

    Is that what you really want? For their lives to be worse?

    This is why remarks like these are stupid and disgusting.

    Fuck off.

    5700 kids went on the field trip?? How big is this district? That sounds like it crosses at least two schools.

    RTFL

    The link says that 5700 fifth grade boys got to attend, for the whole district. DISD has something like 12,500 kids in fifth grade for all of the district, so 5700 boys is roughly what one could expect to attend something like this, after taking into account any kids who were out sick (always some of them), the kids whose parents didn’t agree to the field trip (always some of them), and those in special ed who probably didn’t get to attend.

  55. 55
    Aquaria

    Oh, and DISD has about 150 elementary schools.

  56. 56
    Algernon

    You would consign the millions of African-Americans and Latinos and women and gays of Texas to no recourse whatsofuckingever against bullshit like this.

    Oh screw them. They’re not important. It’s not like it’s, you know, attitudes like that which are responsible for the way things are in Texas. What really matters is one’s sense of superiority.

    Yes, yes indeed.

  57. 57
    Aquaria

    That was 57 thousand? I misread it as 57 hundred. So they didn’t even get a group discount on the tickets???? Or not much, if you include the cost of buses in it? Yeah, somebody at the movie theater is in bed with the school board (figuratively).

    It’s not 57K, but 5700. Look at my stats for DISD. There are only 76K elementary age kids total in grades 1-6 in DISD.

  58. 58
    Aquaria

    Is this the whole story?

    The solution to limited space is a theater is pretty obvious. Send half of the students one day, wait a week for the place to clean up, and then send the other half of the students.

    Did they ever send the girls, or did it just stop there?

    RTFL, moron.

    The girls got sent to a girlie film on campus you fucking dolt. They weren’t sent to the Red Tails movie later. There “wasn’t enough money” to send them, too.

    Do fucking keep up.

  59. 59
    Algernon

    Not even in Dallas but in the wealthyish suburb that “real” Texans thought was a mass of liberal decadence. I ended up at a private school.

    Yep. Super liberal Austin isn’t much better.

    http://www.kvue.com/home/Texas-policy-sends-students-from-class-to-court.html

    We still have the ridiculous “zero tolerance” laws that allow kids to have a fast track to the prison system if their parents don’t pay fines.

  60. 60
    Weedless Monkey

    $57,000 for 5,700 boys. PZ linked it.

    The $32,000 only covers the cost of movie tickets for the 5,000 students. The district spent another roughly $25,000 on the buses to take the fifth graders to the AMC 30 Mesquite.

  61. 61
    'Tis Himself

    I told you people it sucked here.

    We’ll never doubt you again.

  62. 62
    dianne

    The girls got sent to a girlie film on campus you fucking dolt.

    Not even. The girls MIGHT have the opportunity to see a girlie film on campus IF the principle decided that they could. I hesitate to think what the alternative was. Probably a day long home ec course or something.

  63. 63
    Usernames are smart

    This, dear friends, is why YOUR KID(S)’S PRINCIPAL NEEDS TO KNOW YOUR FIRST NAME.

    If my young’un’s principal tried ths shit (she wouldn’t; her cortex works), she would know that I would be in her office that day to call her on it. Hell, I’d call her on it on the monthly parent-principal breakfast before the event even happened.

    School is not a day-care. In my view, if I’m not involved, then I’m not doing my job as a parent.

    BTW: standardized testing is the debil. A pox on the lazy-ass bean-counters who force the schools to use it. When I take over, those LABCs will be one of the first against the wall, believe you me.</rant>

  64. 64
    carlie

    It’s not 57K, but 5700. Look at my stats for DISD. There are only 76K elementary age kids total in grades 1-6 in DISD.

    I meant the money was 57k. Using the corrected figure of 32k exclusive of the bus they got in for $5 each, which is something of a discount I guess.

    Wouldn’t the theater have asked where all the girls were? After all, that would have been twice as much money for them.

  65. 65
    truthspeaker

    starstuff says:
    13 February 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I remember the boys being shunted out to the playground so we could watch a presentation on feminine hygiene. I’m surprised the district didn’t utilize boys-on-field-trip-time for that purpose

    Teach girls about their bodies in school? What, you want them to have unwed sex when they’re teenagers? </conservative>

  66. 66
    jloopy

    Wow.

    I’ve always argued against accepting that the male experience and male perspective in history and literature is ‘universal’ and that not telling the stories of fully half the species is wildly unfair, but insisting that stories-about-men-and-boys are only of interest to males is offensive. Even more offensive is catering to an idea that it’s okay for males to not be interested in and not exposed to stories-about-women-and-girls.

    Why didn’t they just purchase movies about both Black men and Black women and have all the kids watch them at school? They could have waited the few months until Red Tails comes out on DVD.

  67. 67
    ibyea

    @aquaria
    I joked something along the line of allowing Texas to secede, so I apologize for the insensitivity. I really don’t think Texas should secede because I know it would have terrible consequences.

  68. 68
  69. 69
    ericpaulsen

    I am surprised that the boys didn’t get to go out to the movies and the girls would have to have lunch ready when they returned. “Where’s mah turkey pot pie woman!” they’d holler and a smack in the mouth if it wasn’t hot and on time. Ah Dallas, now THAT’S some good learnin’!

  70. 70
    feralboy12

    If the movie was suitable for girls, they would have called it Pink Tails.

  71. 71
    lismitchell

    Whoa. Flashback to fifth grade when the boys were all allowed to watch Top Gun while the girls got to watch Savannah Smiles. Sigh. This crap is still going on?

  72. 72
    cygil

    The ultimate origin of this might be the kind of panic spending government bureaucracies do when they realize the federal grant is about to expire and they have to disburse 57,000 dollars by Friday or they lose it. Usually this sort of thing happens just before the financial year, but who knows what funding arrangements were in place for that grant.

  73. 73
    Eskeptrical Engineer

    You know, when I was a kid, I probably would have rather seen Akeelah and the Bee than Red Tails.

    Until I was told that I had to watch it because I was a girl, while the boys had to see Red Tails. Then I probably would have demanded to watch Red Tails.

    It’s like how I would ask for the “boy’s toy” at McDonald’s, or how my favorite colors have always been green and blue, even though I was told those were “boy colors.” If you tell me I can’t have something because of my gender, it tends to make me want it more.

    Heck, maybe that’s how I ended up an engineer.

  74. 74
    Pteryxx

    Rottentomatoes as of tonight:

    Critics’ ratings of Red Tails: 36%

    Audience ratings of Red Tails: 67%

    datasolution, go echidna yourself.

  75. 75
    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    I joked something along the line of allowing Texas to secede, so I apologize for the insensitivity. I really don’t think Texas should secede because I know it would have terrible consequences.

    I’d like to think those jokes are usually about calling Perry’s bluff: that there are still enough Texans who’d recognize it wouldn’t turn out well, even the privileged ones, if not Perry himself. And reminders that appeals to the federal government (which would be lost in secession) are what has kept and will keep still more of this lunacy in check.
     
    http://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2010/jul/07/bill-white/bill-white-says-rick-perry-threatened-secede/

  76. 76
    datasolution

    Statistics don’t matter, well argued reasons do.

  77. 77
    DLC

    Actually, Richard Carrier right here at FTB reviewed the movie, if anyone’s interested.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/197

    I have not seen the movie, but might go if I had money to spend on it, which I do not. I would even support *all* the schoolkids seeing the movie, provided there was a lesson plan devised around it explaining the history of the Tuskegee Airmen and why they were an important unit in the war and how their performance helped change the perception of black men in America.
    It should go without saying that it would have been better to have not had a separate unit for black fighter pilots.

  78. 78
    Koshka

    Usernames are stupid #62,

    I wish there were more parents like you at my child’s school. Too many parents just accept what happens at school (like linking Father’s Day with Science Week). I think most parents are still suffering fear of the principal from when they were at school.

  79. 79
    Crissa

    As far as I know, the Red Tails specifically never lost a bomber under their protection. So anyone who says that saw the movie and there were B-17s falling out of the sky is a liar; there’s only one scene in which this happens, and it’s not ‘from a few hits’ it’s from sustained flak and fighter engagement. We only get to see one bomber crash and the rest are statistics.

    The flying and fighting was fairly accurate – much more so that anything I can think of in the last twenty years. The planes do actual maneuvers, the fighter pilots talk about it, the bombers and fighters fly in historical formations. Sure, they crushed hundreds hours of flying, months of missions, and hours dogfighting into a few minutes on-screen, but what’s to help a movie? Sure, there’s lots of 50s and 60s movies which are better – but none of them show a single black face.

    Lastly, when I was reading about this on the local news (local to the school) the comments were rife with teachers saying they had not heard anything about the ‘alternate movie’ – they’d just continued with their lesson plans without the boys.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with gendered rewards, but somehow I doubt there’s any particular reason they boys in that school need extra coddling. They could, I don’t know, but I doubt it on that huge of a scale.

  80. 80
    Crissa

    PS, the dialog was stilted, the characters wooden (except the main character’s buddy), and yeah, it was kinda not a great movie. Can’t blame Lucas, exactly, he didn’t write it nor did he direct the dialog. If they’d gotten the money like a normal movie production, they’d probably had been able to be on set a bit longer and seen to the rough lines before they got to the screen.

    On the other hand, it was a movie that showed heroes as heroic yet flawed, triumphing against adversity, and treating the main characters are people. The love interest is somewhat hackneyed, but refreshing to see that on screen. We need to have these positive role-models, even if it’s a movie I would’ve watched when I was seven.

    And I’d let a seven-year-old watch it. That’s another thing in its favor, although it garners no acclaim from reviewers.

  81. 81
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Sure, there’s lots of 50s and 60s movies which are better – but none of them show a single black face.

    I wonder if subconsciously the latter issue contributes to the endless, monotoneous drone that “50s and 60s movies are better.”

  82. 82
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    Only in Texas, home state of the fundagelicals. Sky Cake, why are you so misogynist?

  83. 83
    grumpy1942

    @Aquaria #54

    ibyah makes a fine joke about evacuating the rational people from Texas and letting the morons secede.

    You get all huffy about it and make it clear that you don’t think the A-As, Hispanics, Women, etc can qualify as rational and get evacuated. I don’t think it’s ibyah who needs to apologize.

  84. 84
    Gvlgeologist, FCD

    @Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe, #48:

    You did read my entire comment, didn’t you? If you do, you’ll realize that my comment does, in fact, agree with the point you were making in reply – that it should be an individual choice. Right after the part you quoted, I said:

    “But to simply assume that one group as a whole should see one movie and the other group should see the other simply reeks of discrimination. At a minimum, they should have asked each student which they wanted to see and let each student go to their desired movie.”

    How does that differ from your criticism?:

    “neither “girls” nor “boys” are monoliths or hive minds. “girls” don’t prefer anything any more than “boys do”; individuals would have a preference for one movie over the other. Not that it matters: the boys got a field trip, the girls were stuck at school; that in itself is already fucked up.”

  85. 85
    Jadehawk

    geologist, honey, if I wanted to disagree with your second paragraph, I’d have quoted your second paragraph. you walked into the trap of “girls” and “boys” in the first paragraph, and that’s what I commented on.

  86. 86
    IncredulousMark

    Ok, I get that there are plenty of Texans bigoted enough to think this type of segregation is a good idea, how is it possible that everyone involved in the decision to allow this are stupid enough to think it would not result in incredibly bad PR? You’d think at least one person would have said “Hey, if we do this a lot of people are gonna think we’re shitheads.”

  87. 87
    Gvlgeologist, FCD

    @ crissakentavr, #79:

    “As far as I know, the Red Tails specifically never lost a bomber under their protection. So anyone who says that saw the movie and there were B-17s falling out of the sky is a liar; there’s only one scene in which this happens, and it’s not ‘from a few hits’ it’s from sustained flak and fighter engagement. We only get to see one bomber crash and the rest are statistics.”

    Well screw you, asshole. A liar? Did you see the movie? I did not say that the Red Tails lost bombers under their protection in the movie. I said that there were many cases where B17s were shot down by losing wings (or, of course, other causes) after being hit by fighter attacks (and as I recall no flak was shown as contributing). This did happen in the movie, and it occurred before the Red Tails started escorting them. I’m sorry that I did not count the number of planes that went down to satisfy you. Perhaps if another commenter here sees the flick they’ll count for us. But the early scene or scenes where this happened was/were done specifically to show how horrendous the losses were before the Red Tails started.

    And seeing only one bomber crash and the rest are statistics? Really? How many of the out of control bombers or bombers without wings do you think made it back? What do you actually mean by “statistics”? That they didn’t crash?

    What a jackass.

    By the way, what shithead above said about the Red Tails never losing a bomber is the conventional wisdom (although it refers specifically to enemy fighter attack, not flak). However, subsequent studies suggest that there were some losses:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_Airmen#Controversy_over_escort_record

    This is not to disparage their achievements. They were magnificently successful in significantly reducing losses, in the face of intense discrimination.

    Do I seem pissed? I don’t like being called a liar.

  88. 88
    Gvlgeologist, FCD

    Jadehawk, sweetypie, I made no prediction of the desires of the girls. As for the boys, do you really think that they wouldn’t want to see a blood and guts WWII flying movie over a movie about a spelling bee? Again, I’m saying as a group, not as individuals. And I’m not making a value judgement over which is better. As groups, boys’ preferences DO differ from girls’ preferences, whether biologically or sociologically, but there are differences. And I DID address the point that they should NOT be treating either the boys or the girls as a monolithic group. Babe, the second paragraph was not irrelevant to the first.

    And before anyone wants to complain about my patronizing use of “sweetypie” and “babe”, note that I’m making a point about Jadehawk’s patronizing use of “honey”. We can have a discussion without that crap.

  89. 89
    Therrin

    how is it possible that everyone involved in the decision to allow this are stupid enough to think it would not result in incredibly bad PR?

    You know how you keep hearing about stupid things happening around the country? Thinking ahead is no longer taught in schools. “Consequence” is a dirty word. And remember, backing down or admitting a mistake means you lose.

  90. 90
    Jadehawk

    I made no prediction of the desires of the girls. As for the boys, do you really think that they wouldn’t want to see a blood and guts WWII flying movie over a movie about a spelling bee? Again, I’m saying as a group

    the point, it went over your head; if it didn’t, you wouldn’t repeat that silly mistake here again. the only reason there are differences is because people do what you just did: assert that there are, and make silly statements such as “boys like x”, and “girls like y”

  91. 91
    Jadehawk

    Babe, the second paragraph was not irrelevant to the first.

    the second paragraph was irrelevant to my critique of the first. seriously, learn to fucking read, cupcake.

  92. 92
    Jadehawk

    And I DID address the point that they should NOT be treating either the boys or the girls as a monolithic group.

    and then you went on to do so yourself; again.

  93. 93
    Crissa

    Yes, gvlgeologist, I’m saying you did not watch the movie. There’s only one scene in which B-17s are being lost. It cuts away after one falls.

    Yes, I watched the movie. The rest of your comment is irrelevant to accuracy of the movie.

  94. 94
    Crissa

    I wonder if subconsciously the latter issue contributes to the endless, monotoneous drone that “50s and 60s movies are better.”

    I hope not.

    But I think it’s because movies back then were allowed to be more dry and still get produced. And accuracy – at least with tactics and history – would’ve been watched by many who had been there and come back. Few are still with us today, and they aren’t a large portion of the moviegoing market.

    I would rate Red Tails at the same level as ‘Black Sheep Squadron’ but with better production values stemming from being able to have an effects budget for the air-to-air and modern technology.

  95. 95
    Crissa

    PPS: I think that being at the level of a TV show is probably what Lucas was at least hoping for, giving us the heroic version of events, rather than just a drama version. Something which could be seen and loved by people who didn’t already know the history.

  96. 96
    feralboy12

    Thinking ahead is no longer taught in schools. “Consequence” is a dirty word. And remember, backing down or admitting a mistake means you lose.

    My “theory” is that the conservative mindset rejects the “thinking ahead” approach, where you do thought experiments and real investigation to determine likely or potential consequences, as being too unpredictable. It’s just not safe to think like that–you don’t know where you’ll end up.
    So they take the approach to everything that what you need to do is just Stand On Principle, and you can’t go wrong if you’re just determined and inflexible enough–just stick to it! Stay the course! That’s the “American character” that they want to celebrate–where refusal to adapt to what the real world is telling you becomes a virtue.
    So, naturally, morality becomes a matter of following a set of rules, preferably some archaic ones that have “stood the test of time” even if they make no sense anymore, or ever did. Economics becomes a matter of Reagan-esque platitudes, and never mind what really happened when we tried that shit or the contradictions that the simplest thought experiments reveal–just “stick to your guns” or some shit.
    And that’s the approach they take to education, whatever the subject–teach kids to think ahead, weigh possible consequences? To the conservative mind, that sounds dangerous. Uncertain. Who knows where that might lead them? Teach them to live by commandments, and you’ll always know what they’re doing.
    Conservatives just can’t fucking live with uncertainty–they’re terrified of it–and curiosity implies uncertainty. So best not to be curious, or approach problems without ready-made solutions already in mind. Hell, Reagan even had a phrase he regularly used with his underlings–”don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions.” And nobody saw anything wrong with that.
    They don’t want to think in terms of consequences, because they can’t control consequences. And what’s funny, sort of, sometimes, is they can’t even see how the rules and laws and policies they want to enact could someday be used against them. I mean, it never seems to occur to the religious yahoos that allowing school-sponsored prayer could lead to their kids or grandkids having to wash Rajneeshi’s feet or whatever.
    But that would be consequences. They never get past the simplistic notion that it’s good for kids to pray.
    Done ranting for now. I hope I haven’t missed too much of the thread whilst composing this.

  97. 97
    Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD

    Just because the socialisation of boys to like active things and girls to like nurturing things (as a general trend, not an absolute) exists, does not mean that this is innate within the children, nor that it is a good thing.

    It alas still exists.

  98. 98
    Jadehawk

    eh. you can, arguably, make the claim that boys tend to like x more than girls, and girls tend to like y more than boys. but “boys like x, girls like y” is binary BS. and amending it with “but we should ask just in case anyway” only goes so far to undo that bit of stereotyping.

  99. 99
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    If the school board really wanted to be educational and save money they could have just bought copies of Tuskegee Airmen for all the classrooms and still have plenty left over for popcorn…and cognac…and cigars. No children would have been left behind, especially the girls (who I am told quite enjoy a cognac with their historical films).

    I don’t want to say anything bad about a positive story, but the unit did have some losses. I have a feeling the ‘no losses’ thing came about because of wartime propaganda and lack of access to actual records until very recently. It probably helped the success rate that the unit had pretty good aircraft to work with, especially as they went along. The Thunderbolt is a bloody tank, even its engine block was considered armor as it could take a shit-kicking of bullets and still turn over. Then the unit got the Mustang, probably the ultimate in perfected WWII flying tech, and by then the opposition was on the defensive anyway, many of the Nazgul (oops, wrong airforce) aces having been turned to ashes. Not to diminish what the Tuskegee pilots did. It takes a heck of a lot of skill and attention to training and sometimes suicidal craziness to be consistently successful in combat flying. Perhaps when we can read the news reports from the alternate universe where the flight group began combat right at the start of the war and fought in the Pacific with inferior equipment we can compare statistics.

  100. 100
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Not that there’s anything wrong with gendered rewards…

    And Crissakentavr continues her record of never making an intelligent statement.

    Are you also Crissa from Pandagon, btw? It would explain a lot.

    Gvlgeologist:

    As groups, boys’ preferences DO differ from girls’ preferences, whether biologically or sociologically, but there are differences.

    Idiot.

  101. 101
    julietdefarge

    I looked it up, and apparently there isn’t a comparable movie about the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP.) They did, however, get some official recognition and media attention. And, they suffered some losses. One of my prized possession is a set of “Ferry Girls” paper dolls from the ’40s.

  102. 102
    truthspeaker

    MarkNS says:
    14 February 2012 at 12:00 am

    Ok, I get that there are plenty of Texans bigoted enough to think this type of segregation is a good idea, how is it possible that everyone involved in the decision to allow this are stupid enough to think it would not result in incredibly bad PR?

    My guess is most of them think everyone else has the same attitudes they do. Besides, criticism can just be dismissed as liberals and feminazis stirring up trouble.

  103. 103
    Gvlgeologist, FCD

    @ Ms. Daisy Cutter, #100:

    Ignorant, perhaps, not an idiot. The last study I remember reading about on this topic (long ago) claimed that there were behavioral differences between very young (toddler or even younger) boys and girls. The book you referenced claims that these types of studies are flawed. Not having read the book or the original study, I cannot comment on the reliability of either. If I was wrong, I stand corrected. What is the generally accepted theory among behavioral scientists today?

    By the way, the link you directed me to was the author’s own website, hardly an unbiased source. Amazon reviews are generally favorable, though, and probably less biased.

    Having said that, do you understand that I was not advocating that the differences were biological, only acknowledging (in pretty mild terms) that it may be the case? Do you understand that I was primarily pointing out that there are differences in group behavior?

    And @ Jadehawk, babykins, if it will make you happy, I will amend my comments to say “tend to like” instead of “like”. I sort of thought that my prefacing of the comment with “It probably is true that most of the boys…” showed that, but I guess you didn’t understand it. How does “most of the boys” like differ from “boys tend to like”? And I never stated what I thought the girls would like.

    As far as your dismissive quote of me saying, “but we should ask just in case anyway”, that is inaccurate to the point of deception. What I said was,

    “But to simply assume that one group as a whole should see one movie and the other group should see the other simply reeks of discrimination. At a minimum, they should have asked each student which they wanted to see and let each student go to their desired movie.”

    This is considerably stronger that your false quote of me.

    I don’t know why you’re picking this fight. We are both arguing that the students should be treated as individuals. All I did was acknowledge that there “probably” are differences as a group, not that those groupings should be used to treat the individuals differently.

  104. 104
    Ing

    “But to simply assume that one group as a whole should see one movie and the other group should see the other simply reeks of discrimination. At a minimum, they should have asked each student which they wanted to see and let each student go to their desired movie.”

    Actually no we shouldn’t. If it’s important enough for a field trip then it’s important for the kids to see period. If not than we can save the money and just not do it.

  105. 105
    Ing

    Especially for black history. No sorry, asking people whether they want to be educated on this or not would be a very bad idea

    “Jimmy do you want to see the movie?”

    “No, my parents say that I shouldn’t expose myself to coon propaganda”

    “Ok you can sit home and watch Transformers two”

    “HURRAY!”

  106. 106
    Gvlgeologist, FCD

    @We Are Ing, #104:

    Oh FSM! Did you read my entire post? The paragraph that you object to (which dealt only with the choice aspect) was immediately followed by:

    “There is a larger point here – if Red Tails had a point that was important to make for Black History month, everyone should have seen it. If Akeelah and the Bee (which I don’t know anything about) had an important point, everyone should have seen it. Are they really saying that discrimination against African Americans during WWII was only of interest to boys? If not, was this just an entertainment trip just for boys and not girls?”

    Your second point was a good argument for not allowing choice as well.

  107. 107
    Ing

    @gvlgeologist

    So gender differences are not important to topic but you want to harp on them anyway? Thankx.

  108. 108
    Gvlgeologist, FCD

    @We Are Ing

    I really don’t know which of my (now unfortunately numerous) posts your comment refers to.

  109. 109
    dianne

    The last study I remember reading about on this topic (long ago) claimed that there were behavioral differences between very young (toddler or even younger) boys and girls.

    Given that there have been studies that document differences in the way people treat male and female newborn babies, differences in behavior by toddler age wouldn’t be unexpected. Just kids doing what they’re encouraged to do.

  110. 110
    pf

    All this treating women as idiots from an early age makes me wonder if they realize that some of the smartest human beings alive today are women. No, really.

    Also, I don’t remember the cite, but dianne’s 109 reminds me of reading an abstract of research where they’d dress babies in the correct and wrong clothes for their gender, and then left people to tend to the baby for a while to see how they’d react.

    It’s a little weird how differently people treated the babies based on no further input than the clothes, even those who self-identified as “feminist” or “liberal” or some label like that.

    It sure runs deep.

  111. 111
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    I’m still waiting for my copy of Delusions of Gender to show up so I can find out for sure if girls really do like cognac while watching historical films, or if it’s just something I made up.

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