Thursday, April 4, 2013

Amy Roloff Goes Back To The Classroom - To Teach Diversity

Today on Amy Roloff's Facebook fan page she shared the news that she is headed back to the classroom to teach kids - for a limited time.

"I'm so excited! I'm teaching a class tomorrow, first day. Just one day a week, one class for 10 weeks to 12 - 16 year olds. I'm looking forward to it. Love a few prayers. I love to teach."

Prior to or just as the the weekly television series - Little People, Big World, began to air in 2006, Amy was a pre-school teacher.

This time, as she said, she will have one class for 10 weeks. Amy's class will be about diversity and she will be speaking to 12 - 16 year olds.

Matt Roloff used to regularly be invited to schools to speak to kids about dwarfism.

As paid public speakers, both Matt and Amy Roloff have given speeches about diversity. In 2011, Amy described one of her speaking engagements like this: "That talk will be about how to really accept yourself and believe about yourself when you are different or have a disability. Really embracing yourself so you can incorporate yourself among the forest. I call it being the individual tree among the forest."

The topic of members of the Roloff family giving speeches or teaching about diversity always generates some controversy among some people who feel that the Roloffs are "wolves in sheep clothing" when it comes to the topic of diversity because they support un-diverse organizations and ideas in their real lives - the feeling is that they simply use the tag of a diversity speaker to collect a paycheck while they don't "walk the walk" in their own lives.

The primary issue that comes up is the Roloffs own dealings with another "diversity group" - gay people. The Roloffs are connected to or support several organizations that have "anti-gay" stances - such as Focus On The Family. Amy Roloff once linked Focus On The Family on her official website when she first launched it in 2009. After she had received some criticism for the link, the link was eventually replaced by a link for Amy's own charity foundation (ARCF).

The Roloffs support and enthusiasm for a very conservative church in Portland lead by lead pastor John Mark Comer, called "Solid Rock Church", generates much of the controversy. All members of the Roloff family - including Matt and Amy - have attended this church. Matt has publicly referenced the church on his Facebook Fan Page in the past. The Roloffs who are most enthusiastic about the Solid Rock church are Jeremy (22) and Molly (19). As Matt Roloff has posted about in the past, Jeremy and Molly have attended special events held by the Solid Rock Church called "Loveology". Jeremy often links and quotes and shares teachings from John Mark Comer and the church. Here is an example of one of the teachings from John Mark Comer as it relates to subject of homosexuality. He states that gay people will not enter the Kingdom of God and states that gay people should pray to Jesus to be cured of being gay.

Members of the Roloff family, specifically Molly Roloff, also have applauded Kirk Cameron for being "brave" and "standing up for God" after the actor's controversial comments on the Piers Morgan show where he said homosexuality was "ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilizations".

So the issue in many people's minds is that if the Roloffs in their real lives support and associate with such "anti-diverse" views - are they then qualified to be speakers about Diversity and Acceptance of people who are different?

Amy Roloff has been confronted on this topic on at least two occasions. Once during a live web chat - after she gave details on her "How to accept yourself and being an individual among the forest" speech, she was asked about her perceived hypocrisy given the Roloffs support for the Solid Rock church. Amy gave a very vague answer about how she doesn't "necessarily" agree with all ideas from the church and you don't throw out the baby with the bath water. The second time, someone asked Amy on her Facebook fan page about the hypocrisy and if the Roloffs think gay people need to be cured? Amy basically said that their beliefs are private and they don't need to defend or justify their beliefs.

And when it comes to the Roloffs and diversity, there is the old subject of the infamous Jeremy Roloff scandal in which he used several racial, homophobic and ethnic slurs to communicate with his friends online. Jeremy has never to this day apologized or acknowledged any wrong-doing or expressed regret for any of it. At the time, Matt Roloff released a public statement on the TLC website calling it a private matter and essentially instructed people to stop talking about it and focus on the good that the Roloffs do.

So the feeling that some people have is that in their real lives they surround themselves and hold non-accepting views of other groups and people who are different than the Roloffs - but when they have a chance to earn a paycheck -they will present themselves as champions of diversity and speak about the general issue of diversity and acceptance.

Some also believe - which is what Amy Roloff herself seems to project - that because the Roloffs don't take to very public venues such as Matt and Amy's official Facebook Fan Page or the TV show LPBW to say "We are the Roloffs and we believe that gay people should pray to be cured in order to be right with Jesus" that their own beliefs and views that they support in their own lives and share with their friends should be irrelevant. Roloff detractors respond to that stance by saying of course they don't publicly make a "Kirk Cameron" such statement because they don't want to be cut out of the lucrative "public diversity speaker" circuit and that's why the "wolves in sheep clothing" analogy has been mentioned.

What is your opinion? If a diversity speaker or the teacher of a class on diversity and acceptance, surrounded themselves with organizations that promote the message that people with dwarfism are abnormal and shouldn't raise kids or held racist views - would they still be qualified to teach about the subject of diversity? Does a diversity teacher need to represent all areas of diversity in their own lives?

Or do you think that being a diversity speaker doesn't require them to accept or support every diversity group and they are still wonderful representatives of diversity and acceptance because they have dwarfism?