Thursday, January 20, 2011
in which i rant SNL-style about individualism and success-worship
I usually steer clear of parenting magazines, but the other day I grabbed a free copy of Parent Map at preschool. I picked it up for 2 reasons:
1. I just started reading a fascinating book called "Conceiving Parenthood: American Protestantism and the Spirit of Reproduction" and chapter 1 was all about the underlying messages about race, class, and culture in parenting magazines from their inception (around the 1920s) to now.
2. The cover story caught my eye; the title was "Are We Born Racist?"
The bulk of the story was what I expected: a surface-level treatment of racism, a "startling" revelation that the "color-blind" approach to racial differences is ineffective (duh), and some basic but helpful prompts for how to talk to different ages of children about race.
A bit superficial and behind the curve, but not offensive... until the last section entitled "Why It Matters." Here is a quote from that section of the article:
"Living in an increasingly diverse society - in any kind of multi-ethnic society -- if you hold intolerant beliefs or are fearful of the 'other,' that is going to be deeply stressful," says Marsh [Jason Marsh, author of a book entitled "Are We Born Racist?"]. "Research suggests that that kind of stress can take a toll on your psychological and physical health." ... Also, Marsh says, egalitarian people tend to have more successful careers.
And now it's time for a spin-off of my favorite Saturday Night Live skit, "Really?!!" with Seth & Amy.
REALLY, James Marsh and Parent Map??!! Really, that's why parents should talk to their kids about race and try to eliminate racial prejudice? Because otherwise THEIR precious little child might experience stress or an unsuccessful career? Really? I mean, obviously parents these days can't be bothered to think about how their child's racial ignorance might harm ANOTHER person's child, I mean that's just silly because who cares about other people's kids, right? I mean really. Parents these days just don't have the time and energy to teach their kids things like dignity, kindness, respect, humility, and decency... UNLESS it will also help their particular special child to achieve a less stressful and more sucessful life, because my child's PERSONAL INDIVIDUAL SUCCESS is all that matters, really!!!! Really.
OK I'm done. What do you think (really)?