Motivational Speaker at Richardson (Texas) School Criticized for Gender Stereotyping
RICHARDSON — Richardson ISD officials apologized Wednesday to students and parents offended by a motivational speaker whose self-empowerment message included gender-specific roles for girls and boys.
Girls are nastier to each other than boys are, Justin Lookadoo told two packed auditoriums at Richardson High School. Being a man means protecting the weak — and women. High school boys and girls should be wary of putting too much into a romance that is almost certain to dissolve. Boys and girls should be true to themselves and not compromise to keep a relationship.
Some of his comments drew wide applause and later support from some students and parents. But he was also heckled in the auditorium — and on Twitter:
“Because why should a motivational speaker even try to not make hasty generalizations about every guy and girl in high school?”
District officials acknowledged that neither students nor parents were told about Lookadoo or his topic before the presentations. The district sent out a statement apologizing for that and to those who were offended.
“RHS and RISD approve of the broad messages shared with students related to self-empowerment and dating violence but do not support some of the terminology used by the speaker to generalize student behaviors.”
Lookadoo is a frequent speaker to secular and religious audiences. He last spoke at the high school in 2009, also at the invitation of the school’s PTA. Online, he’s easily identified as the co-author of a book that includes “dateable rules” based on a particular interpretation of Christian teachings. The rules refer to God and “the enemy” and tell women to be feminine, mysterious and confident and to let men lead. And they tell men to be honest, chivalrous, wild and adventurous.
Neither religion nor the “rules” were mentioned during his talks Wednesday. But some parents said they still wanted a better explanation about why Lookadoo was allowed to speak.
“I felt that such a person with those publicly expressed views about gender roles would not have access to my child,” said Jaime Clark-Soles, a theology professor at Southern Methodist University and the mother of a junior at Richardson High School.
Students were told about Wednesday’s assembly on Tuesday. At least one student heard Lookadoo’s name, checked the Internet, and found the religious dating advice site.