I had been meaning to post on this topic for a while but the combination of this rather brilliant dissection of Nigel Latta’s Politically Incorrect Show and #youngkidsshouldbebannedfrom trending globally on twitter a few
weeks months ago got me thinking about this topic again.
First up Nigel Latta. At times I have at times found myself in agreement with some of the stuff he says, about parents choosing not escalate confrontation and trying to support their children’s education. But more often than not I find myself yelling at the TV in much the same manner as a sports fan when he starts using children as the punchlines for his jokes and have long since stopped watching.
I admit that I am probably not in Latta’s target audience. I was raised by a SAHD for large parts of my childhood whose first reaction when my sister and I dressed our baby brother up in party dresses was to grab the camera rather than freak out. I’m pretty sure this type of urban liberal upbringing makes me Political Correctness personified and therefore I just don’t ‘get’ the punchline of the jokes.
Or perhaps the problem with being ‘Politically Correct’ is that I understand that the Politically Incorrect show is engaging in what political scientists call dog whistling. What the show tends to do a lot of is taking an absurd situation as an example of ‘politically correctness gone mad’ then using it as a way to get a message across, that children in society need to be put in their place by adults. Of course it is window dressed in language such as parents needing to relax and use a bit of common sense with a few laughs about the silly things kids/teenagers do thrown in for good measure.
But the problem with this method communicating is that it takes place within a context of society in which adults already have a considerable amount of power over children and we aren’t too welcoming of children’s presence within it.
Consider some of the tweets #youngkidsshouldbebannedfrom
- any public places I can’t stand their screaming
- the word love they don’t even know what it means
- all technology and have a chalkboard and crayons instead.
- going to the movies and sitting behind me.
- speaking. they should be seen and not heard. i hate kids. full stop.
- cellphone. I hate it when I see a 5 years old child with a BB or an iPhone!
- Making music. We have enough terrible music by talentless artists in the charts as it is
For teachers it means you need to be aware of the privilege that you bring into your relationships with your students. Some of those statements are quite confronting and might even make you a bit uncomfortable. Think about why you are uncomfortable rather than just dismissing the idea out of hand. But more importantly take the time to get to know your students and really listen to what they have to say.
Because more than anyone teachers need to believe in the notion that children are people too.
H/T to Deborah for the link.