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Rob & Arnie – Disgusting Anti-Transgender, Anti-Child Rhetoric

June 4, 2009

Via Womanist Musings, I learned about an episode of the Rob Arnie and Dawn show on KRXQ 98.5 FM in Sacramento and KDOT 104.5 FM in Reno, in which a transgender child was being discussed.

Renee has the following transcription; check her site for additional bits about mental health and whatnot:

ARNIE STATES [13:27]: If my son, God forbid, if my son put on a pair of high heels, I would probably hit him with one of my shoes. I would throw a shoe at him. Because you know what? Boys don’t wear high heels. And in my house, they definitely don’t wear high heels.

ARNIE STATES [21:30]: You got a boy saying, ‘I wanna wear dresses.’ I’m going to look at him and go, ‘You know what? You’re a little idiot! You little dumbass! Look, you are a boy! Boys don’t wear dresses.’

ARNIE STATES [29:22]: You know, my favourite part about hearing these stories about the kids in high school, who the entire high school caters around, lets the boy wear the dress. I look forward to when they go out into society and society beats them down. And they end up in therapy.

Just a few comments from my listening to pieces of several of the follow-up segments linked here

In their initial response, the hosts (except Dawn, who was actually calling for more understanding) offered up the typical “ha, ha, we’re such assholes and we’re so funny, and because something bad has happened to each of us in our lives, we’re not accountable for talking shit about bad things happening to other people” non-apology. Essentially the same wahoo, we’re just having a little entertainment here, we’re not “PC,” no big deal response everybody else caught being an a-hole gives. And invoked 9/11 to explain how awesome they are.

Listen up: yes, you have freedom of speech – you do not have freedom from accountability for your speech. No, it’s not appropriate for people to reciprocally send you threats of violence. It’s absolutely appropriate for people to contact the station or the show sponsors and demand that accountability.

You can’t excuse your hateful talk as entertainment, as a joke, and then claim that you can’t address your own hyperbole because you’re busy having “a serious debate-oriented discussion.” If you’re having a serious “dinner table” discussion, maybe you shouldn’t be calling kids freaks and joking about hitting them with shoes.

If you’re going to say that no one agrees with attacking anyone based on their “lifestyle” (nice choice of word, there. ahem.), you probably shouldn’t be saying you would hit a kid with a shoe. And I’m sorry, but you don’t get to claim that everybody who listens understands what you really mean, because you apparently didn’t actually say what you “meant,” and you had callers contact you to say, “I listen, and you’re wrong.”

You can’t claim to not be advocating violence and say you’re looking forward to the kid going out and getting beaten down. Just because you don’t explicitly tell people to hit transgender kids, you’re still at the very least explicitly approving of that violence, and that can’t be waved away with “it’s a joke” (explain to me how it’s funny).

And don’t complain that 99% of the letters of complaint are from out of state if you’re streaming your show on the internet, and if you as a radio personality/business person would love to be picked up in more markets.

Pam’s House Blend has several more posts on the incident. GLAAD also had an action alert, which they updated with the following statement:

“While we appreciate hosts Rob Williams and Arnie States clarifying that they do not advocate violence against children, they ultimately failed to take responsibility for using dehumanizing and defamatory words to describe transgender youth on last week’s show.”

They also thanked co-host Dawn for her efforts to bring some civility to the discussion, which I also would like to do. The rhetoric seemed to calm down a bit with each successive addressing of the topic, and they actually did let callers through who disagreed with them, unlike some other radio hosts. Small favors, I guess, which should be common courtesies.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Jill permalink
    June 4, 2009 4:57 pm

    Disgusting is right. I was so pissed off when I read that on WM.

  2. Hank permalink
    June 5, 2009 6:52 pm

    Freedom of speech, as guaranteed by the constitution, is speech free of federal government repression. It is not, however, freedom to have access to a limited public resource, such as a broadcast radio frequency. If it were, we’d all have our own shows. It’s also not freedom from the commercial consequences of advertisers deciding you cast their products in a bad light.

  3. anthony porten permalink
    June 8, 2009 2:42 pm

    I think that people take things way too seriously. People get so upset over the stupidest stuff, and if someone has an opinion that doesn’t agree with yours, watch out, there will be hell to pay. Open your minds people, let people voice thier opinions, if you don’t like it, change the station, but thats liberals for you.

    • Guy Waters permalink
      June 9, 2009 1:36 pm

      So, Anthony … if Rob, Arnie & Dawn were suggesting a religion was a cult and not a true christian religion because of their secret rituals, baptism of the dead and their special underwear that if one of their children converted to that religion, they should be stoned and ostracized that would be open minded?

  4. August 20, 2009 11:10 am

    As a mom of a transgender child, I feel sad for their listeners who are parents struggling with their child’s gender identity and feeling more isolated and fearful than ever. Parents of transgender children need support so that they know they are not alone. Our parenting and our acceptance is not wrong. We love our children exactly the way they are- no matter what.

    • travis permalink
      March 6, 2010 3:40 pm

      And yet so many of our Mom’s are quiet, and the issue is not addressed. and “no matter what.” is a bad choice of wording. And a final piece of advice from a child with “gender dysphoria”, why do the parents of these children need so much help? In my experience, the child is much more alone. The parents are always seen as just “The Parents” of a transsexual child, and deserve pity.

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