[Parentsgroup-list] A call for moderation...

jbarnes at fas.harvard.edu jbarnes at fas.harvard.edu
Sun Jul 31 09:09:59 EDT 2005

Thanks for this.  I was offended enough by your first political post and the
follow-up "amen" that I'm not sure I belong in this group.  I'm still wondering
but appreciate your call for removing political discussion as best we can.  As
an (aspiring) economist as well as father of 3 I hope you will refrain from
again assuming certain political views imply less empathy with those seeking to
raise their children.  Believe it or not, there are those of us who are
red-state, proudly American, pro-family and neither intellectually dishonest
nor secretly dreaming of subjugating single mothers to a life of poverty.  We
may not make our voices heard very often but that is only because we have
learned that while Harvard can be a lonely place for parents it is an even
lonelier place for those who do not share the predominant political/social
views.  Your first post and the first several replies, even with your comments
below, make this feel like one more place where we are neither understood nor
welcomed.  Describing the political/social views of some of your colleagues in
this very group as an expletive is remarkably coarse and cruel but somehow
passes for informed opinion in most circles of Harvard.  Let's not make this
group one of them.


Quoting Christine Dianne Wenc <wenc at fas.harvard.edu>:

> Okay, sorry about that.  In the interests of making this a useful forum
> for information useful to parents as such (and not a format for political
> debate--or child-rearing techniques, which we haven't even BEGUN to
> broach and which would probably be far more likely to start a fistfight),
> I think we'd better make a rule that all posts to this list must
> be on the topic of parenting at Harvard and perhaps peer institutions, and
> that's it.  Suggestions and requests for housing, physicians etc are also
> welcome, and I also think the results of any studies looking at
> parenthood in academia are also appropriate.
> But I will now promise to keep my trap shut about politics, and hopefully
> you will too.
> If anyone is interested in the other subjects, maybe we can sponsor a
> little conference or discussion at some point.  (Pro/anti-Ferberizing
> bakeoff, maybe?)  ('Ferberizing' is also known as 'crying it out,' in case
> you didn't know, and pretty much epitomizes the two widely diverging
> branches of infant care philosophy, much like the red and blue states
> diverge on other things.)
> Thanks to those of you who responded.
> Christine
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