A compendium of my thoughts. Probably disturbing to most people.
|You are racist to children. You are racist because you assume that, being younger, they are stupid. You are wrong.
If I know one thing, it's that no one likes to be talked to in baby talk unless they're babies, and I think they're leading us on. Why, then, do people insist on speaking in such a way to toddlers and pre-adolescents? children have a recognition vocabulary roughly the size of a given adult's working vocabulary. That means as long as you talk normally, a child will have no problem following you; unlike most adults, they will also not hesitate to ask what a word means should you drop something huge out.
Most children understand most social concepts. I wouldn't engage most children in an abortion debate, but there is still no reason to break the world down into black and white. How many times have you heard "that's a bad man, and bad men go to jail", or somesuch thing? We tell children this, assuming they'll pick up on the grey area sooner or later, but why should we assume that? why also should we assume they can't handle that grey area now? When is it too early to teach them that all people are fundamentally good and some of them just make a lot of poor decisions? Look at your own morals. does your judgment of right and wrong get further than "the criminals should be punished"? How do you view civil disobedience? Children are at a stage where they can learn complexity, where the need to learn complexity. Simplification is counterintuitive.*
Teenagers are subject to this, as well, and I should know: I've been one for nearly half my life. I've had several jobs that mixed many different age groups, and I've observed that the only significant difference between working with teenagers and working with adults is that the know far more about recent history. In terms of maturity, I see no difference, and in terms of intelligence I see no difference. While working on a boat, I met a man in his late thirties who took offense at everything, deflected blame, and slacked off. i also met an eighteen-year-old who worked hard and did his tasks well. he was building on his bank account so he could better raise the child his wife was carrying.
Juveniles tend to be juvenile precisely because that's how we treat them. They are second-class citizens with poor education and poorer judgment, and thwey can't be trusted. in Japan, the age of consent is sixteen. they act like eighteen-year-olds. in taiwan, it's fourteen. they act like eighteen-year-olds. the people who have struck me as mature tend to have had to raise children at one point in ther teen years. one man had a child at 15. "I grew up pretty fast," he said. A mature teacher of mine was well-liked among his students. his father was a deadbeat and although I never learned of his mother, I assume she was even less help. He raised his younger broher almost single-handedly. I have a friend who is in a very similar situation right now. he provides most of the family income, and has for several years. he'll be turning nineteen soon.
I work in the outdoors a lot, and my skin is a little weathered. I also grow a strong beard. I look about my age of nineteen when I'm clean-shaven, and people guess my age at around 25 with a month's growth. I am treated very differently with the beard than without. as a teen, I strike people as a know-it-all who butts into conversations. I stick my nose into other people's business and give advice where it isn't wanted. I'm also wrong a lot. as a bearded twenty-something, I am an intellectual, knowledgeable about many subjects. my advice is welcome and appreciated, even if it is a little long-winded. I'm right about many things. I can also say that I'm psychologically mature for my age when I'm sporting the beard. the same statement is brushed off and occasionally ridiculed when I've shaved.
Think about it the next time you're talking to a youth, and ask yourself, "how am I changing my speech? what subjects am I avoiding? what am I assuming about this child?", and then ask yourself why.
"My hand is not so great that showing it would make a difference." -persuader user from Kino no Tabi.