“WHY are you so controlive?”

That’s what Owen just asked me after I asked – nay, ordered – him for the umpteenth time to turn off his phone (he’s probably texting his girlfriend) and start his homework. I said, “I just am!” Let me set the scene, here in the Burbs O’ Femme’s Family: we’re listening to a cd of trumpet jazz Owen’s trumpet teacher just gave him; Seth has gone to walk the dog, and Tex giving a talk at a local library so is not with us this evening.

Yesterday the whole family watched the “Ching Chong Asians in the Library Song”* which I learned about from reading Wired (see my previous post) and then we talked about how that poor girl has really messed up her life by carelessly posting her racist rant for all to see. We also talked about how it is she’s so ignorant; really, it’s heartbreaking to see her posturing in front of the camera, so young and so foolish. Seth was amazed by all the responses to her rant, and I told them how she’s even gotten death threats. I said, “Boys, don’t post anything dumb on youtube!” and they grumped and grumbled about how of course they wouldn’t, god, mom.

A while back we went to downtown Boston to see a dance performance a friend was in. Afterwards, I went on for a while about how the dance was so heteronormative (girls in filmy skirts, boys in loose pants) and also how heterosexist one part was where one of the boys was bragging about how straight he is (“Not all male dancers are gay, ok?” kind of thing). Both boys listened politely for a while, as they do, and then they started teasing me about how every time we go to an event, I give them a big speech afterwards.

And you know why? You know why I’m so controlive? Once they’ve flown the nest, I don’t want them blundering through life like that poor girl who inspired not just the relatively friendly “Ching Chong” song, but actual death threats! I want them to know how to deconstruct a piece of art or a situation so that they don’t jump to racist or sexist or homophobic conclusions. I want them to understand about layers, history, context. I want them to be kind and open-hearted when it comes to other people.

But with the stupid phone, I’m just controlive because they have homework and I hate seeing them hunched over the stupid little screen manipulating their thumbs in an unnatural fashion. So there!


Spare a kind thought for Alexandra Wallace, who has surely learned a lot since posting her rant, and who has certainly suffered. Also, much love to Jimmy Wong, who treated a very explosive situation with humor, creativity, and a layered and generous understanding of human nature.

Published in: on March 27, 2012 at 7:12 PM  Leave a Comment  
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