For four years the Charlotte chapter of the National Conference for Community and Justice has held an annual summit promoting diversity at a local high school. And for four years it has proceeded without objection. Nyala Hunt, NCCJ's executive director, says the summit has been hugely successful, involving 10 students from every high school (200 overall) in a day of workshops and entertainment. But in its 5th year -- the event is scheduled for April 21 at E.E. Waddell -- a familiar face has emerged to voice an electronic dissent. Yes, folks, another installment of the "Bill James Homo-Bigot Song and Dance Show."
From an e-mail James sent to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools administration, dated March 14:
"'Diversity clubs' that include 'sexual orientation' as a goal are unacceptable as taxpayer funded school day events because State law does not recognize sexual orientation as a valid or approved class and State law related to public education discourages such behavior."
Response from NCCJ's Nyala Hunt: "One [of the laws] he quotes is a regulation about how you have to teach sex education in schools. . . . We're not talking about sex. We're talking about inclusion and diversity when it comes to lesbian and gay people in our conmmunity."
More form James' e-mail: "It is frankly distressing that CMS appears to insist on both flaunting [sic] the law and public opinion by using taxpayer resources. ... Both the process by which the event is planned and its location appears to be nothing more than an attempt to force children to accept that which their parents teach them is wrong. Most parents teach their children that homosexuality is wrong, a sin, illegal or immoral. . ."
Hunt, on the reasons for the summit: "Young people don't always know how to deal with their own sense of who they are, or who other people are. And they learn some very negative messages from various places within our society."