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HOW DARE YOU?!
Okay, I know this isn’t a question, but I get this A LOT.
Content warning: Teen suicide, pearl clutching.
From a one of my many critics:
My goodness, how can we expect three and four year olds to take such responsibilities at such a tender age. Children learn by example. Discrimination and misogyny is transmitted by adults to young children. It’s the responsibility of the adults around them to set the right behavioral examples. To burden such tender minds with the sins of so many generations before them is unfair. No wonder so many teens have trouble coping with their lives and end up committing suicide.
How can we expect three- and four-year-olds to survive in a country where their parents’ partners are murdered during a routine police stop for a broken tail light, at such a tender age? I suppose that’s Diamond Reynolds’ daughter’s problem, not ours.
Children form implicit (unconscious) bias from infancy – even when our parents don’t consider themselves ‘racist.’
Click here for only one of many, many sources, explaining the damage of relying on color-blindness and oblivion to keep wealthy white folks happy at the expense of the rest of us. (I found that one on google in less than 15 seconds, you do the rest yourself.)
Even if our kids aren’t watching biased TV news showing Trayvon Martin, a child victim of gun violence as a ‘hooded thug,’ the bias embedded in our culture is everywhere – from the toy aisles of Wal-Mart to the cartoons and children’s books we read.
Children learn by example – and the examples we set in the world, choosing to clamp our hands over our ears and shut our eyes tight for the sake of those tender (white, male, cis, etc.) young ears is a direct act of ignorance and violence against children who have no choice but to deal with the fallout of denying inequity.
These sins of violence, casual discrimination, and oppression do not just belong to previous generations. The sins belong to my parents’ generation and my parents take responsibility for that. The sins belong to my generation, and I own that responsibility, too. The sins belong to my children’s generation, and you bet your pearls my sons are both eager and competent enough to fight for equality.
The ONLY way to fix inequality is to acknowledge something is broken and step up. Reading books about homeless children and fostering open discussion on how we can avoid judging and actively help families facing this hardship is our responsibility as decent human beings.
Citing child suicide as an excuse for sitting still while our children harm others is irresponsible, derailing, and dismissive. It’s cruel to drag this trauma into the conversation for anyone who has suffered the loss of a child or loved one in the name of a pearl-clutching ‘Oh think of the childrens!’ arguments. I’m not even going to rip that flawed argument to shreds because the incidences of discrimination, dismissal of mental health conditions*, and other societal factors that force a child to resort to suicide are so blatantly at odds with the idea of raising our children to become kinder and more responsible.
*I had previously written ‘mental illness’ but that term stigmatizes and pathologizes neurodiversity, so let’s not do that anymore.