We are living in times in which a handful of extremists, sheltering parents, manipulating demagogues and esoteric groups are trying to negate or control everyone’s right to learn and grow based on their own personal fears, insecurities, and shortcomings. I understand trying to protect your children from the ugliness and iniquities of this world is a noteworthy gesture. However, it is more damaging to be more idealistic than realistic.
I would imagine that most parents want to groom their children to be independent, conscientious, intelligent, thought-provoking, productive, and loving individuals. We must respect the child’s curiosity and ability to ask questions and decipher and determine what they feel is right and wrong. Then we raise children who truly think and are unafraid of asking questions. These are children who will become productive adults righting past wrongs, embracing the truth and practicing equality for all.
Hiding truths and topics that may appear uncomfortable or controversial only aids in producing one-dimensional, myopic, and narrow-minded individuals incapable of manifesting the empathy, compassion, and desire necessary to better serve their fellow brothers and sisters. Not discussing uncomfortable topics only allows social ills to continue to fester.
While some topics undoubtedly should be subjected to grade appropriate discussions because of their maturity content, omitting the subject or conversation altogether (especially for middle and high school children) only serves to produce fragile and sheltered children, oblivious to the workings of this ever-evolving world. We must be cognizant that some children are more mature and intelligent than their peers and intellectually shouldn’t be penalized or held back because of those trying to force everyone to stay inside the same box.
Isn’t it ironic how we preach that our children be individual leaders, not followers, when many of us subject them to learning institutions that try to keep everyone confined inside the same box, literally producing mind-controlled robots? Woe be to the individual who may question the status quo or disagree on prescribed taught narratives. They are vilified, demonized, and categorized as radicals and troublemakers. It raises one question if it is the objective of this country’s educational institutions to produce citizens that accept the status quo and don’t threaten the iniquities or wrongdoings of our government or society.
We seem to have a movement of select parents and groups intent on trying to control what children can and cannot learn. We have some privileged parents and extreme radicals working to enact legislation to erase or dilute the true history of this country so as not to upset children. I feel not being upfront with our children only undermines their ability to decipher the truth—therefore aiding in the continuation of lies, deceit and racial inequality dividing our country.
As an African American, I am personally offended that a select group of primarily privileged Whites decides what is good for every child. The practice is, historically, business as usual. Advocate for your own child if you must, but I am raising intelligent children that can handle the truth. They will be that much the better off for being exposed to the truths of this world.
Isolate and self-teach your child if you feel so strongly about hiding and diluting truths, but please don’t deprive my children of learning. The truth is that African American children have never had the luxury of not being exposed to the truth. All too often, they have lived it, whether they liked it or not. My question respectively is this: why does it always have to be about what this country feels is in the best interests of the White child?
When all is said and done my greatest fear is that we are aiding in the loss of one of our greatest constitutional rights: freedom of speech. We are one step closer to living in a country where everything we read or write will be censored and controlled by a select few. No, this isn’t a science fiction movie where we live in a police state with every aspect of our lives controlled by our government. But if we aren’t extremely cognizant, this occurrence is only around the bend.
I am not apologetic for raising strong, intelligent, open-minded, conscientious children who are nobody’s robots, pawns, or fools. I know I am not alone. Please stop trying to ‘dumb down’ our children because of your insecurities, shame, and fear of the truth. I’m betting that our children can handle the truth if allowed.