Hal Pepinsky, email@example.com, pepinsky.blogspot.com
March 6, 2011
A founding principle of the science of criminology is that adolescents, especially those somehow “foreign,” represent a “dangerous class.” Now the war on youth has been globalized. All at once underrepresented youth worldwide are one way or another rebelling against their parents. Scary stuff for us (grand)parents who have devoted our lives to making sure our children do the right thing, while the world changes beyond our grasp.
At any time, the fact remains children are the ultimate underclass in every race, class and gender.
The basic remedy I see for the inherent violence of adults trying to mold children is for adults to allow children to participate in socially significant discussion, from dinner tables to schoolrooms. It is doubly tragic when adult performance, as by teachers, rests on children’s scores on super-adult grading of mythically constructed tests of what every child needs to know before s/he can begin to learn on her or his own.
The enduring fact is that anywhere on the planet, youth most suffer “negative growth” in “the economy.” Global connectedness ignites worldwide complaints among young men and women that they expect to be unemployed. Meanwhile, in the US, it is also the case that successful private workers have lost paid employment for life. In tough times, elders are played off against children. On this occasion, I happen to be an elder.
Marx distinguished political emancipation from human emancipation. The one is generational “justice,” punishing our elders for their oppression of us, which the media is calling “revolution.” The other is cultural: Elders can bridge generation gaps by creating avenues in which their children can participate in discussions at the dinner table and at school. The more we share power with children rather than testing and grading and judging them, the better I expect to feel about the future of the world by the time I die. Love and peace--hal