AI: The Creation of Bullies
This week, with all that religious thing going on, my parents decided to visit me and then take me to visit all our other relatives close to us. On one of these occasions, my dad was carrying my (incidentally) pink backpack from the car when one of a six year-old cousin of mine said:
“Look! He must be a faggot*!”
I stood shocked, while basically everybody in the room laughed. My father asked her if she knew what that word meant. She said “of course! And you’re being one, right now!”
Of course she didn’t know. Of course she overheard her parents, her siblings, and a number of other people in her life using the word as both an insult to nobody in particular and a description for those somewhat effeminate men, and she connected both. She probably doesn’t even quite grasp what “gay” means. But she already knows it’s something bad, that men shouldn’t be, and that she has the right to make fun of them if it seems like that’s what they are.
When my father tried to talk to her parents, they laughed it off. So those conceptions will probably go on unchanged in her childish mind. And she will probably go on to bully much more vulnerable people than him. And he was so pissed at that, that he made me want to ask you:
How do you try to change somebody else’s child’s mind? How to make them see something their parents don’t? When is it not out of line to question what a parent teaches their kids? Is it the school’s role to deal with it, when these kids grow up to be bullies? Is there a way to educate both children and parents, without offending them and the way they raised their kids?
*that’s a rough translation from what she said in Portuguese; the word she actually used has a similar effect, but might not mean that exactly.
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 3pm ET.