Re: Sex and scouting!?!?
David D. Miller +49 6221 404405 (DDM@DHDIBM1.BITNET)
Wed, 18 Sep 1991 19:17:48 CST
Subject: Multi-cultural Scouting
Working with Scouts in a military community, we can,
to a certain extent, simply ignore some of the problems of
discrimination. The topic of recent discussion on this list is not
openly present and the proportion of non-whites is high enough above
average that they aren't (to my outsider eyes) an underrepresented
minority. Discrimination in the Troop is something we look out for,
it's more discrimination against the couple of 14 year old Tenderfoot
have than anything more serious.
However, an event occurred last week which caused all those
working with the Troop to stop and think for a while. A Jewish
boy joined the Troop. That's allowable. What wasn't allowable
was for the Scouters and Committee members to immediately start
talking about him as "the Jewish Boy". We've not had a full
Troop meeting since, but there have been three events for leaders and
Committee members to get together.
Part of the problem is that we've just not got round to learning
his name, but part of it, as we suddenly realised yesterday evening,
was deep rooted discrimination. Tomorrow is the next full Troop
meeting, and we'll get him and the other two new boys to introduce
Discrimination can occur anywhere and at any time.
Now that we've got a known non-Christian element in the Troop,
we have to be more careful with how we organise events. Most
of our Court of Honour and similar have, up til now been
Saturday evenings. Scouts' Own services have to be re-thought
so as not to offend, and the menus for campouts examined for
Does BSA have a book, or pamphlet series, explaining what to
watch out for when working with those of different religions?
Is there also resource material aimed at the level of the boys
explaining why some of their friends can't eat certain foods,
or go out fund-raising on a Saturday? Is the Christian religion
included in these series (to educate the Scouts who are disturbed tha
their friends do go fund-raising on Saturdays)?
Another new topic:
Chuck McCaffery used the following in a recent posting:
> Finally, think about this: You are fundamentally un-American,....
> As such, you do not belong in Scouting.
While not wanting to encroach on the topic of that discussion - I did
that last time and made a fool of myself - I object very strongly to
idea that anything "fundamentally un-American" has no place in
I am "fundamentally un-American" and I am proud to be un-American, bu
don't think I'm an unsuitable person to be a Leader of Scouts. I don
even think there is any problem with me working with American Scouts
helping them to develop their own moral standards and become aware of
their Citizenship. The Leaders in the Troop, Committee members and t
parents of the boys in the BSA Troop that I am currently working with
don't have any objections to the fact that I am "fundamentally
I have another Scout Troop which is, if anything, anti-American, and
more so that I will ever be. They see Americans in their town and th
want them to leave. They see Americans living in state-owned,
state-subsidised appartments in a state with such a shortage of
appartments that sports halls and schools have to be used to house
non-Americans. They see the Americans buying in tax-free shops, payi
less than half the normal costs for basic items. They see Americans
using special sports facilities that are signposted for American Use
Only. They see Americans on the street carrying loaded weapons, when
it's illegal for them to carry any weapons. Yes. My other Scouts ar
anti-American. They don't want to become American. They just want t
Americans to go away. Do they not belong in Scouting? I think they
When I bring up the topic of doing some joint activities between the
Troops, there is a marked difference of opinion. The Americans would
like to get to know more of the way of life of their non-American
neighbours, but not at the expense of losing their subsidised housing
and tax-free shopping. The non-Americans are envious of their America
neighbours, but openly proud that they can survive "on the economy".
My 'grand plan' for next summer is to take American Scouts (if possib
both Boy and Girl together) camping together with non-American Scouts
and even with openly anti-American Scouts. Is that a suitable way to
bring up American Youth to be good Americans? I think it is. Every
Scout Leader I have spoken to thinks it is: every American Scout Lea
I have spoken with, and every non-American Scout Leader I have spoken
with. In just the same way, it will be good for the non-American Sco
to come into close contact with Americans. It will let them see that
Americans are just the same as they are. Human.
I'm British. Some of the "freedoms" in the United States have result
in go against my basic nature. In the United States, everyone has th
freedom to defend themselves, everyone has the right to carry firearm
In Britain, even the police are not allowed to carry firearms without
special warrant for a specific case. That is one freedom I can gladl
do without. Even stranger to me, as a non-American, is the apparent
'brainwashing' of American Youth by forcing them to pledge alliegence
their state on a daily basis. That seems frighteningly similar to
practice in the former Comunist states of central and eastern Europe.
However, I'm not going to prevent the BSA Scouts from pledging
alliegence to the flag.
I'm living in Germany, and also work with a Troop of German Scouts.
They deeply resent the presence of foreign troops on their land, just
much as their countrymen in the former German Democratic Republic
resented the Soviet troops in their land. All I can do is try to
educate them in the reasons behind the troops, and in the effects of
premature withdrawal of those troops. And educate them that not all
Americans like being here. It's a two sided game.
I split my leisure time between a BSA Troop (or is it two Troops) in
Transatlantic Council and a local German Troop. Both are legitimate
Scouting organisations; Both are part of the World Organisation of th
There is Scouting outside America.
David D. Miller
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City