Grado de dificultad: 3 (Por el idioma)

Columnista: Roberto

TMN is, generally, more oriented toward technological and scientific contents. Sometimes, however, we feel compelled to address other issues.

Is it only another shallow article?

A social / educational piece

A “social / educational” piece, published in the “Huffington Post”, was supposed to be an ode to inclusion. Its title was:

How To Teach Kids To Stop Staring At People Who Look Different Than Them

You may think, while reading it (which I recommend) that it gives a good advice.

However, its language and angle seemed, initially, disturbingly shallow to me.

It, unwillingly, describes a 20th century’s vision of the world. Insisting on “Etiquette” instead of “respect” is the most obvious sign in it.

Tricky words

Etiquette” is a tricky word. If it had to be defined, it should be a mean to transmit a message. It should certainly not be the goal.

It is not the only unfortunate word/statement in the post. I selected a few:

  • Disabilities” is an ugly one. They use it, further, to describe dwarfism as if it made someone less a person. It would be interesting to ask what they call “disability”.
  • The word “respect” appears almost accidentally in the demonstration. Well: it is the main issue in all of this, don’t you think?
  • What is the different between “eye contact” and “stare” for a young child? The answer is “none”. Adults do so too, in a clumsier way: avoiding eye contact or showing unease.
  • Tolerance” is also a terrible choice: tolerance is not respect (at all) …

What if the message was for the parents?

Children are people too

Children are people too. While their way to show respect may evolve in time, the reality of their respect is what matters.

But, in the end, I could be a bit too harsh with the article.

Rarely are children the issue (unless they learned unhealthy behaviors from their parents). And, by the way, children are not the ones who would read the article.

Complexity and sophistication of behavior and thinking are adult learning. And they often are unfortunate and distorted.

It is neither difficult nor complicated to teach things to young people… Unless you are, yourself, still in the process of learning them.

An oblique way to reach the parents

Putting “children” in front, here, seems more like a shielding. The article appears to be more oriented toward the parents.

That way, it becomes a diplomatic message to adults, including – but not limited to – parents.

It is like in science fiction. It looks like a dream about a distant future, while often describing the present.

If the terms “children” and “kids” often appear in the article, another one, “parents”, is also very present. Reading it with this knowledge changes the focus toward a far more complicated and present issue: the adults.

And these adults / parents hardly understand their flaws like when they were children.

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