Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Children Imitating Us

If children learn all these subtle sexist and racist prejudices from adults who are trying to disguise and deny them, why don’t children pick up all those things we do want them to imitate, like sitting still and being polite?

Humorous, yes, but with a serious point. The civilizations of the west are routinely accused of perpetrating these terrible prejudices and dangerous values on the rest of humanity. But the sappy righteousness of “South Pacific” has it exactly backward. The terrible prejudices and dangerous values are the lot of all humankind, everywhere. We don’t have to be carefully taught prejudice. It comes absolutely naturally and unbidden – it is tolerance that has to be carefully taught. Occasionally we rise above the misery because of western – usually Christian – values. Even that, not so often as we’d like.

1 comment:

cold pizza said...

There is a school of thought that competition is natural and cooperation is a learned response. Young children compete with each other as exemplified by the struggle for toys in the sandbox. Eventually we can learn to cooperate in team activities.

Our lives are a struggle to overcome the inborn, inate selfishness of ego and learn to "become our brother's keeper" and to "love our neighbor as ourselves." The ultimate goal is to achieve complete Christ-like love for all humanity--the ultimate expresssion of selflessness, the antithesis of selfishness.

Even now, we engage in competitive word games, standing upon Rameumpton while proclaiming our humility and worthiness. Personally, I'm very proud of my humility. I've worked very hard to become slothful. -cp