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Stranger than Fiction: NEA Partners with WWE
posted by: Cindy Omlin | June 24, 2011, 06:32 PM   

According to a joint press release, the mission of the campaign is to "ensure a positive and equitable social environment for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation through grassroots efforts beginning with education and awareness." Apparently the WWE, and now the NEA, equate positive social interaction with tacky scripted violence and women in bikinis.

Is this a partnership that makes sense for students? Jackson Katz Ph. D author of The Macho Paradox had this to say of WWE's value, "WWE is one of the most culturally destructive and blatantly misogynistic businesses in the history of popular entertainment." Clearly one does not think of chair-breaking wrestling moves when pondering the meaning of the acronym – "Be a STAR" — 'Show Tolerance and Respect'.

Nora Howley, manager of the NEA's HIN program explained the partnership, saying, "WWE is silly, scripted matched. And there's no body of evidence that proves wrestling causes violence." While we do not disagree with her claims, is this the best choice to promote social justice among students and teachers? Similarly, bloggers have amassed several video clips showcasing the WWE's intolerant and offensive representations of women and homosexuals. A complete contradiction in messaging would be a modest assessment.

So what do young students think? Max, age 12, said, "It does not make any sense because these guys in WWE are fighting all the time until their opponent gets knocked out." Another student, Nate, also age 12, agreed, "I don't think it makes a lot of sense because of what WWE does. I have watched the show a couple of time and the entire match is beating the other person up, and violence and hurting people is a part of bullying. If I saw a WWE wrestler talk about the bad things of bullying I would be a bit confused. First I see him knock someone out and then the next moment I see him talking about how bad bullying is." Obviously even middle school students can see the hypocrisy.

The NEA's failure to recognize the negative messages of the WWE is troubling to say the least. What could possibly be the goal behind this coalition? The answer clearly lies in the NEA's constant quest to promote social agendas and gain political clout. While bloggers are engrossed in the hilarious imagery and cheap irony, the jaded union-watchdog in me is not surprised. When would the NEA pass up a chance to align themselves with the likes of GLAAD and Island Def Jam Records?

What do you think of NEA's latest partnership?
Comment below.
Originally posted by Alix at AAE.

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