Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Eraser is the Master's Tool of Social Control

Erasure of people and histories is nothing new. The most recent and hotly (SMOLDERING) contested issues is the Arizona law that eliminated 'ethnic studies' programs from colleges - erasure of multiple levels to "prevent ethnic revolt." (Honey, we don't need your institutions to teach us about ourselves and revolt.)

Erasure happens to minorities (racial, sexual, gender) on smaller scales as well.

In Missisippi, lesbian student Ceara Sturgis of Wesson Attendance Center looked through her senior yearbook to find "No picture. No name. Nothing" of herself. She has been attending the school for 12 years.

During the time the school was taking senior picks, Sturgis asked school officials if she could wear a tuxedo in her picture instead of a dress and 'school officials balked.'

What they did include in the yearbook were pictures of students who have been caught in the posession of drugs and even a student who had dropped out (and thus, never even graduated). But no Ceara Sturgis, a student who performed excellent academically and was also the goalie for the varsity soccer team.

What is it that makes Sturgis in a tuxedo so problematic despite her successes? Why is the very image of a woman in clothes that has been marked 'male' not allowed in schools. When did the school get jurisdiction over defining that tuxedo's could ONLY be worn by males? But the biggest question is - why is Sturgis's whole existence (12 years!) at the school completely expurgated?

We are in 2010 and this is happening. Imagine how many LGBTQ identified people have been completely erased and hidden from the public knowledge since the beginning of time! Imagine how much society has benefitted from this sort of exclusion and erasure. This is a form of violence and social control, a way to eliminate those who do not fit the needs and comfort of those in power. To maintain the institution of heterosexism. This is how our government operates in this day and age - that makes me sleep rreeeaal well at night.

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