Doesn’t Sherman Frederick know it’s Mother’s Day?
Here I am trying to enjoy a rare day off with my family and I have to deal with this piece-of-shit op-ed by the former Review Journal publisher, who was demoted three years ago following his very public “leadership” of the newspaper to endorse Sharron Angle (remember her?) over Harry Reid, including a very real smear campaign which included dubious polling techniques and the then-publisher appearing on Fox News shilling for Angle every chance he got. This is a man who once drove his high-priced sports car to my building and then proceeded to lay off entire departments in one afternoon. You couldn’t have chosen the less noticeable sedan that day, Sherm? Classy.
By now he has so fully shed the patina of unbiased newsman, that his Sunday op-ed, titled Silver State Girls Are Easy, seems hardly a surprise. (How the powers-that-be have seen fit to retain Sherm — we called him Sherm when I worked at Stephens Media, the RJ’s parent company — I have no idea.) He is hardly a quality writer. Past op-ed material has been similarly sloppy and offensive.
According to Sherm, the reason why liberals are asking for comprehensive sex education* is because Nevada “girls are easy” and Hispanic girls are “really, really easy.” I’m not making this up. Here’s what Sherm said:
This phenomenon was in full evidence in Nevada last week when legislators advanced Assembly Bill 230, which seeks to teach children in public school about the birds and the bees in a more “comprehensive” way.
Not sure what “comprehensive” will mean exactly, but you can bet it’ll start with showing youngsters how to put a Ziploc bag over a cucumber and go from there.
Why must Nevadans double down on sex education? Because, not to put too fine a point on the argument blaring out of Carson City, Nevada girls are easy.
Nevada has the nation’s fourth-highest teen pregnancy rate, therefore public schools need a more “comprehensive” birds-and-bees curriculum so Silver State girls don’t lead the league in unwise sex.
And there’s more.
To sell this sex education bill, progressive legislators are getting racial about it.
As easy as Nevada girls are, you see, Nevada’s Hispanic girls are really, really easy. That comes from the mouth of Sen. Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas. According to him, that’s because Hispanic parents never talk to their children about sex. So government must do it.
I’m about ready to give Sherm a time-out. Don’t make me count to three!
Frankly, I’m not really sure where to start. Should I start with the idea that Nevada’s girls are easy and how very judgmental and slut-shaming that is? Should I start with the not-so-covert racism that Sherm is displaying at calling out Hispanic teen pregnancy rates as proof that they are “really, really easy?”
I’m actually stuck on the “Ziploc bag over a cucumber” line, which he repeats more than once in the post. Sherm, you do know that a Ziploc bag will not stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases or stop an unwanted pregnancy. You do know that, right? … Sherm, do you need some comprehensive sex education? Studies have found that the Baby Boomer generation have the lowest rates of using condoms and other forms of birth control. Maybe this abstinence-only sex education has more causalities than we thought.
Indeed, maybe that’s where we should start. Because something I have been noticing about the opposition to comprehensive sex education is that some of the loudest, most vitriolic opponents are those who come from white Baby Boomers. There is a mythology about the olden days that things were simpler and easier; hat everyone had a nuclear family (mom, dad, kids); that white privilege was de rigueur of an unchallenged majority; and that “good” people played by the one-and-only set of “right” rules. I guess that means that girls weren’t “easy” back in the day.
Hmm… Let’s explore this a little, shall we?
- Myth No. 1: People did not have “premarital” sex in the good-old-days. According to the Kinsey Institute, 67-98 percent of males had premarital sex as recorded in the seminal Kinsey Studies from 1948-1953. Likewise, 68 percent of males had sex by age 18. (Females had a 50 percent sex rate.) The original Kinsey research polled 5300 white males and 5490 white females. In modern times, the Guttmacher Institute reports that only 13 percent of teens have had sex by age 15 and by age 19 the rate is 7 in 10 for both girls and boys. So, if I’m reading this information right, that means that teen sex rates have remained relatively static since the Golden Age. Meanwhile…
- Myth No. 2: Ladies had less unwanted babies back in the day. Teen pregnancy rates were at their peak during the height of the baby boom in 1957 at a whopping 96.3 per 1000. Yowza! In 1991 the rate had fallen to 61.8 and last year the US rate dropped to its lowest reported rate since 1946. From 2009 to 2010 teen pregnancy rates fell by 9 percent, or 34.9 per 1000. (This, by the way, is the statistic that all the opposition has been using. I would like to point out that this is a national statistic, which means that states that DO NOT have the 4th highest rates of teen pregnancy are cancelling us out, statistically.)
So, if we’re going down the Sherm slutty slut-shaming road — because people who have sex before they are married (regardless of whether or not the law allows them to marry) are total SLUTS! — then I guess we’d have to call the Baby Boomers Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious easy! I mean, wow! You white Baby Boomers really knew how to put the s-e-x in sex!
But there’s so much more that Sherm is saying in not just this op-ed, but another one he did just a few weeks ago:
I’ll leave Sen. Kihuen to his assessment of what is courageous for another time. (He might want to give some thought, however, to how brave it is for a teen mom to raise a kid. Might change his mind about the word courageous.)
But I digress. What strikes me in Kihuen’s liberal legislative echo chamber is the contention that we need AB230 because of poor, ignorant hispanics like Rep. Flores.
You see, according to Kihuen (as recounted in this blog) Kihuen knew Flores at Rancho High School.
“‘You saw a lot of teen pregnancies in the high school she and I went to,’ Kihuen said. ‘And a lot of that had to do with a lack of (sex) education.
“Kihuen said Flores’ lack of sex education at the time was partially a cultural thing, noting that Rancho’s student population was about 75 percent Hispanic at the time.
“Kihuen said that in Latino homes ‘it’s taboo to talk to your kids about sex. You just don’t.'”
Here’s the problem with Kihuen’s thinking. If sex ignorance is a Hispanic thing (no Hispanic parents — zero! — talk to their children about sex, according to Sen. Kihuen) then maybe AB230 should apply to Hispanic kids only.
Now, I am not an angry, old, bitter, disgraced hack like Sherm, so I find his word-choice not just curious but problematic. In the space of two op-eds he has chosen to call out ONLY two Legislators who both happen to be Hispanic. And who both have talked about the cultural taboos of talking about sex within the Hispanic community. But Sherm doesn’t see an opportunity for cultural sensitivity or even, dare I say it, a teachable moment. No. Sherm uses words like “ignorant” and “easy” to talk about a whole group of people.
Huh. If I was prone to seeing patterns, I’d probably look at this and think there was a theme here. A theme about how he feels about Hispanic people. What is that word, when somebody has a negative belief about a whole group of people based on ignorance and fear, and espouses it as truth? What is that word…? Oh yeah! RACIST!
How am I not surprised? Then I heard that people who disagree with his post are being blocked from commenting… Gosh, it’s like the RJ has special protection for their little bigot opinion boy. Why would a news outlet do that? Why would they keep a guy who writes less-than-subtle racist pieces on their payroll at all? (Maybe they realize that nobody is reading the paper anymore, anyway.)
I’m also irritated that in both of these op-eds, Sherm gives what he thinks is a clever indictment on Assemblywoman Lucy Flores’ testimony about having an abortion. He wonders allowed at whether or not Sen. Ruben Kihuen’s characterization of Flores’ testimony as courageous is actually courageous. You know why Lucy is courageous? She didn’t retract the truth about her life after she faced threats of violence just for sharing it. That is the culture we live in. You don’t like abortion — then you can just threaten and bully a person into silence. But I guess you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you Sherm?
And, Sherm, for all your back-handed compliments to teen moms, do you support any programs or services that actually help teen mothers, who face a higher rate of poverty and less opportunities in the work force due to a higher rate of dropping out of school? (Only about 50 percent of teen mothers graduate from high, according to the CDC.) Where is your support for those brave teen moms, Sherm? Where’s your op-ed extolling their courageous decision to have their babies? And furthermore, where’s your reality check that growing up the child of teen mom isn’t all its cracked up to be? I should know. But I guess there’s no room in your world-view for the reality that, yes, white teens have babies, too.
That’s it! Time out!
I’ve already spent way too much of my Mother’s Day thinking and writing about this. But I will leave you with this final bit of information, because more than once Sherm wonders what “comprehensive” means when it comes to sex education. So, because I guess you are too ignorant to use a search engine or crack a book (surely you remember what those are), I’ll give you the definition. It’s actually very self-evident.
Comprehensive sex education: Kearney (2008) also defined sex education as “involving a comprehensive course of action by the school, calculated to bring about the socially desirable attitudes, practices and personal conduct on the part of children and adults, that will best protect the individual as a human and the family as a social institution. Thus, sex education may also be described as “sexuality education”, which means that it encompasses education about all aspects of sexuality, including information about family planning, reproduction (fertilization, conception and development of the embryo and fetus, through to childbirth), plus information about all aspects of one’s sexuality including: body image, sexual orientation, sexual pleasure, values, decision making, communication, dating, relationships, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and how to avoid them, and birth control methods.
*And by the way, comprehensive sex education has been proven more effective than abstinence-only programs and is endorsed by a large number of agencies that work to better the lives of children including the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, the Society for Adolescent Medicine and the American College Health Association.