Here’s a mashup of a couple of items that spoke to me about the sort of welcome Arkansas gives to diverse people and viewpoints.
One was the discussion reported by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette of legislative approval of the use of $3 million in federal pandemic relief money to promote Arkansas as a tourist destination.
Several lawmakers said they want to know what messaging will be used by the department.
“We want to get some indication of what message you are putting out,” said Sen. Terry Rice, R-Waldron. In the eagerness to get federal funds, state agencies sometimes agree to do things that probably a majority of the Legislature would disagree with, he said.
Napper said he didn’t have a problem with the Legislature reviewing the messaging used by the department.
He said the messaging will welcome all types of visitors that would benefit the state.
Sen. Kim Hammer, R-Benton, asked whether the messaging would be welcoming to people with diverse lifestyles.
Napper said state officials will evaluate what fits and what is right for the state.
I believe I recognize that dog whistle. Remember the news when Orbitz rolled out a new advertising campaign featuring same-sex couples, including a same-sex black couple?
I’m guessing legislators might have questions about such “messaging.” Or perhaps on outreach to people who live beyond the U.S. southern borders, maybe? The powers that be already block spending of Arkansas tax dollars with people of the wrong political persuasion.
And speaking of diversity, this time of education philosophy
Some action on Twitter last night took note of this rule-making from the state Department of Education.
Last week, DESE (@ArkansasEd) proposed a new rule for school districts.
*Hint: it has nothing to do with the pandemic or mental health or gun violence…
— Arkansans Against School Paddling (@BanPaddlingAR) December 15, 2021
This rule is, of course, a product of new legislation intended to prevent Planned Parenthood, which has abortion services, from taking its comprehensive and effective sex education information into public schools, as they had done in the Pulaski County School District. Sex education in Arkansas — with a sky-high teen pregnancy rate? Not from this legislature. Distribution of contraceptives by Planned Parenthood, which prevents unwanted pregnancy, abortion and children brought into difficult circumstances? Governor Hutchinson ordered an end to that for a dishonest reason years ago.
Sex education in Arkansas boils down to this: Don’t do it. If you do, pay the piper. (And whatever you do, don’t dare mention the possibility that people of the same sex might be attracted to one another.) The so-called Religious Right wants more babies, at least if they are to be brought up according to THEIR way of thinking. Without government support for the needy, of course.
A few comments on sex ed in Darkansas were prompted by the Twitter comment.
So I was in the 9th grade when I moved to AR. Which meant I took health/sex ed in the fall in Ft Worth and then has to take it again in Camden in the spring. 😬
Even as a 9th grader I knew what I was getting in AR was skewed.
— Lady Jenny, Duchess of Nettleton (@bluetruedream21) December 15, 2021
To my knowledge, Arkansas teaches abstinence only sex ed. It is a middle school class. Like, 5th grade. They scare you with pictures of STDs and make you care for baby dolls for a week. Zero stars. Ridiculous.
— Kirstyn Salehi (Kirt) (@Kirstysara) December 15, 2021
Arkansas #1 in teen pregnancy with 30 for every 1000! I guess the Arkansas department of education & @ARGOP want to keep us there! The is outrageous & maddening! Our children deserve better!
— GGSandi (@LustigSandi) December 15, 2021
Jesus. I’m 68 and went through sex ed when I was 10, almost 60 yrs ago. What is this? 1950?
— Babyruth (@PaulaHo84704874) December 15, 2021