I’ve decided I’d rather be an uncool Mom than perpetuate racism, bigotry and downright meanness.
By Betsy Chasse
So many times, I’ve lost count, I’ve heard the phrase “Oh they are just teasing, it’s just boys being boys, it doesn’t mean anything, I’m just kidding”. Heck even our President has gotten away with saying things I know most fathers would clock him if they heard it about their daughters, but hey it was just locker room talk, right?
The other day as I was driving my kids home from school we saw a police officer and my son said “uh oh look out there’s a Po Po”. I said “What did you just say?” He responded “A PO PO, ya know a cop” I asked him “Where did you hear such a thing? Are you aware that that is derogatory?” ok, first we had to define derogatory and then I found out that a person in his life often refers to police this way. Unfortunately, alot of these fun “terms”, often uttered out of ignorance and a lack of conscious awareness of the impact these types of supposedly innocuous sayings have on young minds, come from adults who’ve grown up with this notion that it’s funny to be mean, teasing and jokes made at the expense of other is humor and it’s not a big deal.
Well it is a big deal!
I’m sure I’ve done it myself, but after hearing my 2 year old use a four letter word in a not so appropriate space I decided it was important to try and teach my kids the power of language. I instituted a rule, if you’re going to use a word, you best know it’s meaning, all of them, slang and otherwise, it’s origins and most importantly the impact that word has upon the people you use it around.
The discussion around my sons use of “PO PO” explored the origins of the slur, it’s impact on the police who hear it and it’s impact on how he views police. For sure, we can find bad eggs in any group, but to take a hurtful word and slather it all over every person in the category could be considered racist at it’s worst and ignorant either way.
What he learned was that once we make it ok to say things like “PO PO” then other words become ok and that is why we’ve come to the place where our President can on a daily basis insult, denigrate and otherwise hurt good people. It’s time to help our kids understand that this isn’t “normal” or “ok” or “funny”.
It’s up to us Moms to educate our kids on how to use language, what’s funny and why and dare I say some sensitivity and empathy training and so, sometimes that means being very “uncool” and I’m totally cool with that.