Two links on bullying that came across my rss feeds lately remind me again about how integral children’s experience and childhood spaces are to the struggle against power-over hierarchical relationships (i.e. the kyriarchy.)
First, via Feministe and Feministing, stories of two boys who killed themselves as a result of bullying that hinged on homophobic and sexist taunts: Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover and Jaheem Herrera.
Partly in response to these stories, as well as her own experience, Antigone over at punkassblog declares “If We Have Kids, We’re Homeschooling“:
Based on the number of people that had to live through bullying, and the complete lack of any systematic effort to stop it, I’m calling bullshit, hard. Public school does not properly socialize anyone, it teaches children to become bullies, victims, or learn the nifty trick of “not my problem”. That is not a socialization I want to give my kids at all.
Home education isn’t the only possible solution to this type of situation (and indeed, will like not shield kids from bullying entirely — though it can serve as a life-saving buffer for some), but I think Antigone’s “I’m calling bullshit” is an important impulse. Systemic violence is not okay, regardless of where it happens and to whom it happens. Children — who spend much of their time segregated from the general population — often suffer from the same discrimination as marginalized adults (sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, ableism, etc.) while they are simultaneously less able to name and combat it — because they lack the (developmental and experiential) perspective of adults and the resources and agency of adults.
Many children must — through lack of individual choice or material options — return to these hostile situations day after day after day where oversight by adults is inadequate at best and indifferent at worst. This is not acceptable. And I see calling bullshit on the intensely hostile world in which our children (who will grow up to be caretakers of our world and of us in our elder-hood, whether or not we are parents ourselves!) as integral to the feminist project.