Why Does Mayim Bialik Have Empathy Issues?
I know there are a lot of fans of homeschooling on Medium. Many of them are among the people I seek out for good stories. I’ve commented at least once on their pieces about the virtues of homeschooling that I worry about one particular aspect of socialization a great deal — diversity. I worry about it for private schools as well.
I was bussed due to desegregation to the white, well-to-do school. After laughing at the irony, I can explain. One part of that exposed me to people who were different than myself. The fact I already lived in the black community meant my school was diverse. They bussed in black students and poor students. It meant a mix of a lot of different people.
As I watch our country fall prey to Islamophobia, fail to understand why black lives matter, and express sympathy for tiki torch carriers, I know those of us who went to my high school wish everyone had. We discuss with each other across color, religious, class, and other lines about how we learned to live with other.
In my opinion, this lack of socialization aspect has come out recently in a piece by Mayim Bialik in writing about sexual harassment:
Opinion | Mayim Bialik: Being a Feminist in Harvey Weinstein's World
I always made conservative choices as a young actress, largely informed by my first-generation American parents who…
Panned by everyone but Southern preachers and conservative pundits, the essay did not go over well. She lectured women to dress less sexy, seemingly scolded women who were sexually harassed for being pretty, and then rounded it out with a little tut tut that sexual harassment victims got ahead in their career ahead by going to a hotel room.
As a fan of Bialik’s, I have been impressed with what homeschooling has done. She has achieved in multiple arenas in life. Earning a PhD in neuroscience in addition to her successful acting career is impressive. She also has numerous other talents including musical, for example. Amy and Sheldon are my favorites on Big Bang Theory. They are a guilty pleasure.
However, her sense of social justice has consistently failed to impress me. She expresses that she is a feminist, but she only understands it through books. She also fiercely defends Israel to a fault. This is a sign of a blindness to real injustices. This kind of blindness rarely survives exposure to real diversity. I read Golda Meir’s autobiography as a child. I am not hostile to Israel, but I can still see when it does some things wrong. But she never sees any problems.
She has since apologized for the article.
Mayim Bialik 'truly sorry' for opinion piece on Weinstein
NEW YORK (AP) - Actress Mayim Bialik says she's "truly sorry for causing so much pain" with her New York Times opinion…
But Bialik’s inability to understand the pain she was going to cause came from lack of exposure to people. I know. You say you’ve got your homeschooling play groups. That’s not where hard conversations take place. I am wondering what you can do to build diversity and empathy into homeschooling?
Yes, diverse high schools are not easy places to navigate, but you learn valuable lessons about life. You recognize that even ugly girls get sexually harassed. You realize that beautiful girls aren’t asking for it. You realize that dressing modestly doesn’t protect you. You realize that lecturing women on how to dress is just pathetic. You recognize that Palestinian people are people, too.
Maybe you all fixed this. Maybe you all have the answer for empathy blind spots in socialization. My mother’s threats to homeschool me loom large in my mind. It would have been full-time with a fundamentalist Christian who isolated herself from the world. I was lucky to escape that decision through my mother’s own inability to financially pull off such a plan.
I am forever haunted my this ghost. I realize this biases my view, and I must open say so. I just hope the wiser homeschooling minds are working through this socialization matter.