Yesterday I had the joy of explaining to a six-year-old that “homo” wasn’t an expletive or an insult, and using it as one makes you sound backwards and stupid.
This was a moderate issue for a couple of reasons. First, and hopefully obviously, the kid wasn’t mine. Other parents can get squirmy about their kids getting braingear from outside sources, but I’d say the horse has bolted on that one so they can just suck it up. You knew your kid was car-pooling with a hippie.
Second, I had to do it all in Finnish, and keep in mind that this is just something kids absorb at school (not home, I’m sure; his parents are nice folks), and wasn’t malicious. And in his defence, he did know what “homo” meant and didn’t seem to think there was anything particularly wrong with it. It was just a naughty word to yell out when I refused to show him my Pokémon game on my phone.
I’m also very aware that in my world, it’s only been a couple of decades since “homo” was a funny way to insult someone who declined his ninth beer. And parents bring a lot more baggage to this than kids have. I didn’t go overboard with the lecturing (what would be the point?), I just explained better what a homo was and that calling someone “homo” was the same as calling them a “person” or a “human” as an insult.
Where I think I fell in a hole with that was … well, “human” is an insult as far as I’m concerned. But oh well. I did my liberal snowflake best.
I don’t think it made much difference. Kids are gonna say dumb things they learn from other kids and giggle proudly like they invented that shit. And I did have a chat with the guy about Pokémons after that and reassured him that my Pokémon collection was sub-par and his was way better. But I did have to show him the game shortcut on my phone before I was allowed a seat at the table. Which is fair.
Anyway, he’s a good kid. Not so good that he’s not getting a lot of benefit out of his friendship with Wump, but still.
– Posted from my Huawei mobile phone while on the bus.
I want to reiterate, while I’m taking my lunch break, that this isn’t a bad kid. He’s smart, and his parents haven’t done anything wrong. No judgements here. Wump brings her share of dumb stuff home from school, and I’d be sheepish but not mortified if she said “homo” in this context. You know, they’re kids.
They’re just not in possession of all the facts. Which is what I was trying to help with. There’s no reason why they can’t bring slightly less-dumb stuff home from places as well as the dumb stuff from school, is there?
Don’t get me wrong, there are kids at that school I want to smack in the earhole, and whose parents need a kick in the gonads. But isn’t that always the way?
Well I’d say it’s more like calling someone a “hetero” and thinking that’s supposed to be an insult, but otherwise yeah. I mean you’re not saying “homo” comes from “homo sapiens” right? That’s the comeback, not the actual intent.
No, quite right – just that they’re all equally meaningless as insults. They are all just broad descriptive words for ordinary people.
I was tempted to tell them about homo sapiens sapiens, and might have if it was just Wump in the car.
Also, Reason #87 why I don’t like to be responsible for others’ kids, but probably should be….
It’s actually not long ago that I had to explain to Wump what “nerd” meant, and that it wasn’t synonymous with “bad guy”.
Just as well I’ve been calling them both dorks forever.
LOL for some reason this reminds me of back when our girls were younger, and there was some parent who had told their kids that people with tattoos are “losers”. I’m talking 4 to 5 year olds, here. So, naturally, that kid told other friends her parent’s view that people with tattoos are “losers”. Unfortunately, one of the kid’s (not mine) dad has a tattoo. So she yelled “well my DAD has a tattoo and HE’S not a loser!!!!” “YES HE IS!!” was the reply. Much more yelling ensued. Hee!
Man, that shit would not fly here in Finland.