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Activist Groups Urge Obama to Reject Boy Scout Honor

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Activist groups, including Scouting for All, urge President Obama not to accept the honorary Presidency of the Boy Scouts of America until they stop discriminating.

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Boy Scouts of America Discriminated Against a Mexican American 12 Year Old:
Here Is His Story

August 4, 2007

I prefer not to give too much details, since it is painful still. I wanted to be in scouting since I heard it existed, at age 12, I was a loyal Roman Catholic, straight, able bodied, and healthy. The perfect boy scout material in any orgnization, independent or chartered.

There was only one problem, I was foreign, my father was Mexican and my mother was an American, I was born in Mexico, and BSA turned me down simply for being a "foreigner", later I heard many years later than in San Francisco certain European scouts had joined BSA simply for having an "American parent", and they weren't even permanent legal residents, like I was.

Much has been said of sexual orientation and atheism, but what about national origin. 12 year old boys can't go to a Citizenship office to applly for citizenship. And again how funny that they allow a "European former scout" living temporarily, but deny me who I was living legally in the country and had at least one American parent, curiously in Europe the BSA's overseas service allows third party nationals to join, and outside the US children may join if they have only one US parent, but not whithin the US, and lets admit, I was Hispanic, "Mecsican" to be exact, and in Texas (the land of the Alamo), so tell me this was not discriminatory, I sometimes wonder if my last name had been Hans Blotter and had come from Germany if I would have been given the same treatment.

In the end I had to wait until I returned to my country, being so shocked still by this attitude that though I was 15 I decided not to try to join the local national organization, Asociacion de Scouts de Mexico A.C. or ASMAC, in the end it took another scout, a scouter in charge of a Cub Pack in a local scout group (all units in Mexico are put under a group with the same number, this is known as the group system, was created by the Scout Association (UK) in the 1920s, though in Britain every unit kept their number, unlike Mexico where the group has the number) to convince me and I at 18 joined a Rover Crew (Rover Clans in Mexico, since Crew, Squad and Team mean the same thing in Spanish: Equipo, plus rovers separate into temporary one purpose teams, which would make it more confusing to use the literate translation in Spanish) and have to admit, I had a good time, at least I got to know other scouts, get to know the scout movement and help around, though I found out that joini ng straight as a senior scout I really could have used those years in the basic scout troop that you spend before your 14 birthday, where you learn all the basics, in the end I made no real advancement, but again the crew did swear me in and a rover is a scout for life.

Curiously in Mexico until recently there was no limitations to foreigners joining in, only recently they put a restriction on youth members having to proof they are legally living in Mexico, but they still don't have to be Mexican nationals.

Scouters though do have to have been living three years in Mexico at least, this was done since for many years the system was exploited by who else, BSA members and above all scouters who registered "temp" as "Mexican scouts" to participate at World Jamborees and Moots (where BSA does not participate) and other international events, since ASMAC gets a discount from WOSM since most Mexican scouts are middle and working class boys and girls (ASMAC has accepted both genders since 1982 in separate branches whithin the same group, and in 2006 went co-ed in some groups as long as the group, local province (council) and the parents of the group accept), not having the popularity it does in the US among the "upper elite", who usually, if all will register their kids as far as the Scout Troop (10 to 15), but usually when you look at the Walkers Community (the now co-ed former Expeditionaries or Senior Boy Scout/Girl Guide separate Troop) (14-17), the teams are usually middle class, wor king class and a few upper class kids who by their faces you can tell have to endure snares in their catholic private schools and probably endure a not-so positive attitude from parents.

In the end my over 18 to 21 entry helped get my younger sibblings in scoutings while they were still under 18, my middle brother had a long scout and senior boy scout troop experience in my same scout group which I envied somewhat.

So in the end it was a mixed experience, but even so, if BSA hadn't stopped me at 12 it would have been easier to convince my mother at 16 of something that it was too late not to do.

Luis Gomez, 28
Houston, TX




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