Connect with us

Champion Student’s Gender Stereotypes Poem Censored For Having An ‘Agenda’



Michael Barth is a senior at Gordon-Rushville High School in Gordon, Nebraska. Last week at the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) state championship, a poem he wrote won top honors in the C-1 poetry division, and like all those before him, Barth was scheduled to read his poem on the air for “Best of the Best” on a local Nebraska TV station, NET.

The only problem is that Barth’s poem apparently was too offensive for the head of the NSAA, Executive Director Rhonda Blanford-Green, who demanded Barth choose a different poem — the first request ever made of a student.

What was so offensive?

Barth’s poem “combined lyrics from Mackelmore’s ‘Same Love’ and a slam poem called ‘Swing Set’ by Andrea Gibson,” the Nebraska Journal-Star reports.

Gibson’s poem is about her kindergarten students, who don’t know if she’s a man or woman.

The request from NSAA started a firestorm in the high school speech community, which says it amounts to censorship. Supporters have created a Facebook page called “Support Michael and Acceptance of Speech,” made numerous calls to NSAA officials and alerted the news media.

Blanford-Green says she wants to keep the television recording “as it was intended, to be a showcase for talent, not a platform for individualized agendas.”

Deb Velder, the contest director agreed. Michael Barth is “to be providing us a script, but we have not seen it yet,” Velder told “This is a taped production, it’s not live, so we have editorial rights all through the production as we have had for the last four years. We have never had to exercise that right, but I didn’t think he’s going to travel all the way from Gordon and think that he’s going to be able to jump on his platform.”

What’s all this “platform” talk? This is a high school student who won a poetry contest, and all of a sudden he’s got an “individual agenda” and a “platform”? adds:

Barth’s mother, Kim Bachan, said Wednesday her son was on the road heading to Lincoln for the recording session.

“The last time I talked to Michael, I think he decided to dig his feet in,” she said. “This is the speech he won with; it was seen by seven judges at state speech. They found nothing wrong with the content. And there is nothing wrong with the content.”

The speech has nothing to do with lesbian and gay rights, she said.

“All this is about is, basically what his stance is is you shouldn’t look at a man and, because he’s feminine, think that he’s gay,” she said. “And so, the fact that she thinks it’s about lesbian and gay rights, and that’s why we’re denying it, really bothers me.”

Meanwhile, local news stations 1011HD reports that the NSAA has just changed their decision and Barth can read his poem on the air.

“The NSAA recently experienced media attention regarding a non-discrimination policy to protect the rights of students. In an attempt to divert negative attention from the “Best of the Best” NET speech production, a decision was made to focus on the students achievements and the activity of speech in Nebraska.”

“We were encouraged by the amount of support for Michael and freedom of speech. The Executive Director in collaboration with the NSAA Board of Directors, Nebraska Educational Television and Gordon-Rushville High School administration has made the decision to allow Michael to deliver his poetry interpretation as originally performed at the NSAA Speech Championships.”

“The intent of my decision was not to stifle freedom of speech, but rather to avoid any negative connotations for individuals within this statewide production,” said NSAA Executive Director Rhonda Blanford-Green. “The NSAA will continue to advocate for all students and promote equitable opportunities through activity participation.”

Image via Facebook
Hat tip: Julia Hinson

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.


Trump Serves Up Paranoid Election Conspiracy Rant for Thanksgiving: ‘Flick of a Switch Can Change Course of History’



President Donald Trump on Thanksgiving broke weeks of refusing to answer questions from reporters, and focusing his anger on Georgia called its Republican Secretary of State “an enemy of the people” while brewing up an insane new conspiracy theory.

After praising GOP Senators in two run-off elections fighting to keep their seats, Trump said he told Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, “you have a fraudulent system.”

“You have a system where the flick of a switch or the putting in of a new chip can change the course of history.”

He also falsely claimed voting rights advocate and former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams had illegally “harvested” 850,000 ballots. In reality, Abrams says 750,000 Georgia voters have requested absentee ballots.

Watch (poor quality video):

Earlier –
‘No I Can’t Say That’: Trump Says He Will Not Concede – but Will Exit White House if Electoral College Makes ‘Mistake’


Continue Reading


‘No I Can’t Say That’: Trump Says He Will Not Concede – but Will Exit White House if Electoral College Makes ‘Mistake’



President Donald Trump used the occasion of Thanksgiving, weeks after Election Day, to declare he will not concede.

Speaking to reporters after calling troops overseas – at 1:16 AM their time, several hours later than scheduled – the President was asked if he will finally concede.

“No I can’t say that at all,” Trump replied, the first time he’s taken questions from reporters in weeks.

President-elect Joe Biden has 306 Electoral College votes, against Trump’s 232.

He also said the Electoral College members will have made a “mistake” if they do not declare him the winner of the 2020 presidential election, as Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs reports.

But he also said he would leave the White House if Biden is the official winner. (Trump frequently denies making remarks he has made.)

Trump, however, is not planning on believing the results.

“I don’t know what is going to happen. I know one thing, Joe Biden did not get 80 million votes,” he added.


Continue Reading


‘Mother of All Superspreader Events’: Expert Warns Daily COVID Deaths ‘Will Double’ in Days After Thanksgiving



As millions of Americans are traveling across the country this Thanksgiving, ignoring CDC guidance to stay home and not mix households, a medical expert warns daily COVID-19 deaths will soon double.

“It’s potentially the mother of all superspreader events,” Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University, tells CNN Thursday.

The U.S. saw more than 181,000 new cases on Wednesday. Current daily deaths are now about 2000 per day. Dr. Reiner says they could come close to 4000 per day soon.

“I expect that the daily death rate will double in the next 10 days,” Reiner says. “We’ll be seeing close to 4,000 deaths a day.”

There’s already been a massive increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations over the past few weeks, fueling the potential for spread – and death.

“Every day since November 3,” CNN reports, “more than 100,000 new infections have been reported. Every day for more than two weeks, climbing hospitalizations hit another national record. And every single day, hundreds of Americans die of the virus, with both Tuesday and Wednesday recording a daily death toll of more than 2,100 deaths.”

The CDC projects another 60,000 deaths in less than four weeks, 321,000 total coronavirus deaths by December 19.

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.