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Old 01-16-2014, 11:01 AM   #23
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Where did I say "freedom of association"?
"Perhaps an individual has a right to train with whomever they feel comfortable with based on whatever criteria." Emphasis mine. That is exactly a freedom of association argument, whether you use those words or not.

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Individual freedom of thoughts and expression was presented in three points-of-views vantage-points in this specific scenario: (1) the male student requesting religious consideration, (2) the instructor consider the dojo context, personalities, and politics, and (3) the female student who took it personally and took offense on possible sexist issues.
Lynn sensei, are you talking about some abstract concept of "freedom", or are you talking about legal rights? Please, let's not veer off into the weeds and start arguing about "freedom of thoughts": there is no credible argument that anyone's "freedom of thoughts" can possibly be infringed upon. Nor was the discussion about freedom of expression. It was about a person wanting a consideration that would deprive others of their full access to a public accommodation. You made a freedom of association argument in favor of somehow granting this consideration -- you didn't call it "freedom of association", but that is what it was. Now, back to my previous post: there is nothing compelling this individual to grapple with women. He can choose not to do so at any time he wishes. He just can't (in the United States) use freedom of association to compel a public accommodation to limit the access of others with whom he does not which to associate, any more than you, as a white person, can walk up to a lunch counter and demand that all people of color leave because you're not comfortable with their presence.

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Perhaps all are correct given their own personal perspective. No matter what decision the instructor makes, he loses some one. He made a personal judgment call to respect a religious request. That is between them. The offense taken is between the instructor and that student.
I disagree. I disagree with the assertion that no matter what, the instructor "loses some one". You have one student. Another individual wishes to become your student, but only under conditions that restrict the student you now have. You can only lose the student you have, not the one you don't have.

I disagree that it's "between them". The instructor's actions affect others in the dojo, most especially the female members. For the record, I am personally of the opinion that the attitude of those Muslims who believe in no contact between unrelated women and men is better described as "it's complicated" than as straight-up misogynistic...but when people come to a dojo requesting that the instructor grant a consideration that in any way restricts the training of others, I feel that there's a real bright line and it's not to be crossed.

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Perhaps if freedom of thought and expression means I have to limit my association (touch) with certain people, right or wrong (just meaning you agree or don't) according to others (or me), isn't that within their right as long as it does not cause harm to others?
"Freedom of thought" is a red herring. Freedom of expression is a separate issue and does not relate to this case. And, with respect, you seem unclear on what freedom of association is. As I said before, freedom of association means that you can not be prohibited from associating yourself with those whose company you choose, nor can you be forced to associate with those whose company you do not wish. This individual is being in no way forced to touch anyone he does not want to touch. His option is to stay outside the dojo. He has no more right to come into the dojo and demand that others not touch him (where "touch" means normal and acceptable aikido practice, not mugging in the hallway), based on ANY criteria, than you have to walk up to that lunch counter and demand that the people of color clear out.

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Who caused the offense taken, the student's request to have his religious beliefs respected, the instructor who respected the request, or the student who took some one's religious request as a personal statement about them?
Why are you playing the blame game? Why do you care? If you find out the answer to your questions, what good will it do you? One could argue, especially the neutral-to-positive phrasing you use in reference to the would-be student and the sensei above and the negative phrasing you keep using in reference to the female student, that it would make you most happy if the female student were to simply be a "good girl" and let others push her into a corner. Their emotional comfort is more important than her access to training, and that's ok because she's female?

Here's another point you should consider: the sincerity of your belief does not legitimize the trespasses you commit in its service. You, a white person, may sincerely believe that people of color are your inferiors and that their presence at the same table pollutes you. You may believe it with every fiber in your being. But the fervor of your belief does not grant you the smallest, most tenuous right to infringe upon their legitimate and legal rights. Fervent believers frequently need that fool notion knocked out of their heads, and an even marginally just society is generally willing to oblige them.

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
"Up to a point"? Absolutely!!! If he came in and requested to touch/workout with only young girls or women - well we would be having a whole different discussion if I were the Sensei.
Well, that's good to know that you draw the line at fondling the women of the dojo. Are there any lesser lines that you're not willing to cross? What if he came in and requested that no women be on the mat while he was training? What if he wanted to be able to sashay into any class he wanted, at any time, and any women who came to train in that class would simply have to leave? Or perhaps it would be better if all female students simply had to resign their dojo membership, and no more female members would be allowed to join -- would that be sufficient?
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