Wokeness is giving cover to bullies
Children are using social justice rhetoric to pick on others
A recent letter to Slate’s advice column, ‘Care and Feeding’ came from a concerned mother who had found a spreadsheet on her 14-year-old son Jack’s computer.
It kept tabs on the “problematic behaviour” of his classmates. Transgressions included things like “has a mom who’s a cop,” and “used cis-normative language.” When pressed, her son denied involvement with the spreadsheet.
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In the piece, the mother appears worried with Jack’s behaviour. She wrote, “Am I right to be concerned […]? I don’t know that it is the best way for him to engage with his peers and promote social justice.”
While I think it’s natural for any mother to give their child benefit of the doubt, her description of the Jack’s behaviour read like something out of the Soviet Union. A list like this — one that meticulously keeps track a group of people’s perceived transgressions, no less — is deeply worrying.
Let’s throw away the possibility that the whole thing is one big joke and this kid’s poor social justice-minded mother is missing the punchline — though that would provide a generous explanation on why he wasn’t willing to explain or take credit for it. Reasons why a middle school boy might do something like this range from “he’s assuaging his own neuroses about his own ‘problematic’ behaviour” (imagine a Catholic kid tracking his classmates’ sins, for example) to “he’s justifying some grand finale, and what this concerned mom found was just a proto-manifesto” (imagine mass shooter Elliot Rodger recounting all the many ways he was wronged by the people who would later become his victims).
But beyond these possible explanations, his mother’s letter revealed something important.
Social justice rhetoric, and its popular modes of enforcement, provide an easy cover for not just people’s various pathologies — anxiety, depression, OCD — but bullying too. Middle schoolers are well-known emotional terrorists when it comes to policing their non-conforming classmates’ behaviour. Most people grow out of it. Both the bullies and the bullied.
But part of the reason kids do move on is that it’s a lot easier for an adult to see that teasing a kid for wearing ugly glasses or eating funny foods is inappropriate. Now that it’s shrouded in “heroic” language, bullying can and will be positively reinforced.
It is true that bullying helps correct some kinds of behaviours; it also helps kids grow thicker skin. For the bullies themselves, it’s a way people test and create boundaries.
But an important feature of bullying is growing out of it. Wokeness is preventing that from happening, causing a kind of arrested development among adolescents. It has extended its reach from cradle to grave, and we need to do more to stop it.
i think there is more to the slate article and the mother than the above article mentions, the mothers concern is that the Pavlik Morozov she has raised is also reporting on the black children in his class, CRT / anti-racism has mangled this already delusional leftist mothers mind so much that while she broadly intuits that something isn’t quite right with her thoughtcrime list making son she is specifically concerned that he is doing it in a racist manner.
“Another concern is that we are white and some of the kids on the list are Black. Given the long history of white people policing Black existence, I question whether Jack is the right person to be taking on this task and whether it would be more appropriate coming from a BIPOC person.”
Her son should know better, that he should only be reporting on his white classmates. She thinks spying on class mates should be racially segregated.
Poor kid, the indoctrination he’s getting at home and at school. He’s correctly understood that he cant trust his classmates who could have him on a list, turns out he cant trust his mother either.
as a historical aside, was that known to happen in Soviet Russia did parents denounce their children?
Just listen to the mother:
” I don’t know that it is the best way for him to engage with his peers and promote social justice.””
The kid likely is just copying his mothers spread sheets, you know, the ones listing all the town people, sub divided into various groupings, and of any acts/words/thoughts they made which are ‘problematic’.
But not to worry – the kid, And the mother are likely on the school’s spread sheet of all the students, their parents, and the degree of conformity to appropriate behaviors, and any inappropriate behaviors, words, inferred thinking.
Naturally the Tech giants spread sheets must already include every name, and every act listed in the above, already, so score is being kept at the highest level.
The mother knows better though, she only catalogue the sins of oppressors (whites, males,…)
“Another concern is that we are white and some of the kids on the list are Black. Given the long history of white people policing Black existence,”
The mother is yet another of these disgusting woke racists who capitalise ‘black’ while not capitalising ‘white’. People like this should always, always be challenged.
The mother states:
“We do not allow our children to have their own computers to prevent the risk of them being radicalized by alt-right websites, so our kids share a laptop that we monitor and control access to.” She then wonders why her son is acting weird.
The poor kid is being monitored as if Orwell’s 1984 was a parenting guide. It sounds as if he has been bombarded by extremely controlling parents with a lot of social justice rubbish and the person responding should have suggested they seek therapy before their son has his mind further addled.
On second thoughts a therapist is unlikely to alter the parents approach. A free subscription to Unherd is the best thing for the son to be exposed to some alternative thinking. The parents probably think Unherd is alt-right.
i was going to suggest a social worker, but they’d only be interested in comparing the boys list to their own.
Keeping some control of children’s internet use is hardly dictatorial, at least until they are big enough you can (or have to) leave them to be responsible for themselves. If this was your son, do you not think it would be better for you to know?
Perhaps I was too laid back but I never thought of monitoring my 14 year old sons internet use as I knew that it would be centred on various games and juvenile jokes.
Unlike this mother I didn’t radicalise my 14 year olds with social justice stuff coupled with a paranoia that they might hear alternative views. Most normal children ten years ago were not exposed to to this sort of political propaganda or would be interested in it. By 14 they had simply learnt that rude words about their school mates were not on.
If my sons had picked up weird ideas from the internet then they would have emerged during conversation as I preferred them to think for themselves rather than tow some political line. Keep talking with your children rather than at them is I think the best approach. As a result they have avoided adopting weird ideas.
Some have suggested the letter was a wind up but it seemed to lack the usual element of humour apparent to those who aren’t blinded by dogma. Certainly it is not a patch on the Henry Root letters.
Emphatically not. My daughter and son are in their late 20”s now, but I would never have dreamt of monitoring their internet use when they were 14.
Thing is she’s not controlling it so much as censoring it to force him towards another extreme world view
Instead of getting a more balanced view the kid is getting a one-sided vision of the world that has led him to monitor the behaviours of his classmates.
Right or left wing that is awful.
A therapist would probably just encourage him to go trans.
I suspect that this is a hoax set up to enrage those of us with libertarian instincts. Or at least I hope it is a hoax – it would be truly worrying if the story turns out to be true. Don’t get me wrong – I know that the social justice warriors out there have captured the minds of many of the young – but a 14 year old? I would have thought a 14 year old boy going through puberty would have a lot of different things to think about. I may be wrong, but my Bull S*** detector is identifying this as a false flag.
I think your right, this reeks of never really happened. A fabrication by slate.com to fill out an online Dear Deirdre column, but its still instructive if fabricated because it tells us how slate see the world and how they want it to be.
Either that, or someone’s trolling Slate.com. Cf. the letter from 2020 by a straight woman who wrote in asking whether she could use Grindr because she was “politically opposed to heterosexuality” (no, really). What’s particularly frightening are the responses from the “advice” columnists, taking this stuff seriously. I can’t figure out whether the advice given was trolling right back – suggesting that the young psychopath-in-training volunteer as a “Big Brother”, for instance! It’s both hilarious and horrifying. And so similar to actual things done by SJWs that I can’t figure out whether it’s real or fake.
Good point, it puts me in mind of, Vladislav Surkov said to be by Putin’s head of (mis)communications . Adam Cutis described his philosophy as being about creating so much misinformation in the Russian media system, real, fake, pro Putin, anti Putin, to the point where no one can tell what’s real and just give up on sense making, slightly different from the old soviets propaganda where everyone knew the news was fake and could deduce what was happening via omissions or inference, or just looking outside. But Surkov strategy meant you couldn’t derive anything intelligible from the news, Compliance via overwhelming nonsense.
Her son is keeping tabs on ‘cis-normative’ language? I was of the impression that male adolescents were not predisposed to such crusading behaviour and more likely to prosecute ‘toxic’ forms of conduct. I think this is an incomplete account from an unreliable witness.
The word ‘Stasi’ comes to mind.These people really are too stupid to understand the many contradictions and multiple levels of hypocrisy and social injustices their woke agenda adopts to promote ‘their’ interpretation of social justice.
I suspect this is clickbait and probably manufactured….if not then Lord help us.
“…In the piece, the mother appears worried with Jack’s behaviour…”
Can’t she just be a supportive mother, and buy him a lifetime membership to Momentum instead, for his birthday? Horses for courses, you know.
It is not limited to children of school. The whole woke thing was created in order to give one section of society a stick to beat everyone else with and increase their self esteem
To make an extremely hypocritical point: we should all probably just ignore this kind of nonsense, smile politely & knowingly if someone mentions it and try change the subject, and stop focusing so much of our attention on it.
No one looking down Schopenhauer’s telescope is going to be saying“if only I had posted another comment on Unherd about how shallow, unthinking cringeworthy, and menacing these virtue-signalling empty vessels and those who profit from the diversions they create have become” …
But then, it is infuriating isn’t it?
We most certainly should not. These racist scum are brainwashing our kids. We have to confront them and defeat them.
The kid has a bright future as soon as he rebels against his psychotic mother.
Bullies always find some reason to be a bully. The only way to deal with them is a real or metaphorical slap in the face and developing the inner resilience to not take it personally and to not let it define who you are. From the sounds of it this mother has raised her son and he’s doing what she taught him to do. Judge people by their micro aggressions and transgressions against the SJW faith. She is the problem, she’s raised a sociopath with messianic delusions.
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