Impressionable Children and Racism
In todays world the parent cannot control everything their children do, watch or retain, there are so many outlets for children now a days to gather different opinions, it can’t rest just on the parents for how a child views the world. Social media has a big influence on how the world see different social events “Examples of rapid social media sharing occurred in events such as the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado in 2012, the Boston marathon bombing in 2013, and the death of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe a few weeks ago.” (Amedie,2015) If social media wasn’t as popular as it is word of those events wouldn’t have spread as fast as it did, everyone has strong opinions about those events and since the scenario is about Muslim Americans I’m going to use the Boston marathon bombing as a focal point. When this event happened, people had a strong opinion of Muslims and the parents could make offhand comments like “these Muslims are destroying our country” or “they need to go back where they came from” not know that while they are saying those comments their kids are listening and absorbing what they are saying.
This maybe a common thing in the two teens households so their opinions are going to shaped by what their parents are saying even though the parents are not realizing that they are hurting their children’s opinion of people of other races or religious background. Like I mentioned above, social media is a big influencer in todays society and there is a good chance that these teens have social media accounts, so as comments of the Boston marathon bombing start to flow in, some of them are going to be very negative and skew towards to being racially charged. The teens are going to be read negative comments about Muslims and hear what their parents are saying and form an opinion about Muslims that isn’t their own. The social media comments and their parents’ comments are reinforcing each other creating a super storm of negativity that the two teens are caught in the middle of, not hearing or seeing that not all Muslims are out to destroy us, these teens are going to act out like what happened in the scenario.
That is the biggest negative with social media, whether its on a computer or a smart phone social media is at a lot of people’s finger tips and with all those who have access to social media you are going to have millions of opinions. And with those opinions comes vicious behavior from both sides of the argument, it becomes about who’s side are you on not about the tragic event and if you don’t side with the popular opinion you are automatically for the other side in the eyes of social media. That’s when the hate like in the scenario is displayed, people think their opinion is the correct opinion and will do anything to prove what they are saying is the truth. The teens in the scenario believe what they heard from their parents and possibly form social media and acted in hate, fear and misunderstanding that not all Muslims are out to hurt us. The parents should explain to the teens between normal everyday Muslims and Muslims with radical intentions, there is clearly a big difference between the two and the teens not know the difference between the two could have killed a 75-year-old man.
The parents should be held just as responsible as the teens, negligence by the parents led to the 75-year-old-man being beaten and his house almost set on fire. When I was younger, anytime a tragic national event happen my family would have an open discussion about what happen, my parents would make sure that me and my four older brothers understood what was happening and not everyone is has the goal to hurt us. The parents of the teens should have the same thing, those teens needed to understand that there is are groups of people around the world whose main goal is to hurt everyone who doesn’t share in the same beliefs as them, but those groups are an extremely small part of their respective ethnicity.
Since they are teens and still under the supervision of their parents then their parents should be held responsible for their child’s actions. I don’t think the parents should be punished as if they were the ones perform the crimes, but they should held responsible for their kids actions, with the way they act and talk about Muslims in a negative way and not explaining to their kids that there are good and bad in world. The kids in turn not fully understanding what is going on and how to separate good and bad people, think that all Muslims are bad and are out to kill us all. They attacked a 75-year-old man and tried to set his house on fire out of fear and ignorance, their parents should not get a free ride because “they were just being rambunctious teenagers who got carried away”, their kids could have killed the man and I wonder what they would have said if that would have happened? “oh, you know… kids will be kids”. The parents should stand trail with the kids because this whole situation could have been avoided by actually being a parent explaining that there are good and bad people in the world.
the parents are not willing to teach their children the difference between a good person and a bad person, then it’s up to schools and the police to educate kids grades 5-12 about how there are good and bad people for every walks of life. From grades 5-12 there should be a mandatory class on recent on social and worldwide events, in the class it should go in detail how it started and how it ended or what the current situation is if it’s still on going. Kids should know who is involved and how not only our country is reacting but how the origin country is responding to the event. So, in the case of the Boston marathon bombing, the only surviving perpetrator Dzhokhar Tsarnaev “told interrogators that the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan motivated him and his brother to carry out the attack” (Wilson, Miller & Horwitz,2013) The class should know how different countries responded to the bombing, they can’t fully understand how people are reacting to the bombing if they are only getting one side of the reaction. Without know how other people and countries are reacting and responding to the bombing, kids like the two in the scenario will have their opinions clouded by hearing negative comments about Muslims. By reading or seeing how people from other countries react learning that not everyone from other countries are terrorist in training waiting to kill us, it will help the class form their opinions about people from different ethnic backgrounds and different races.
During this class a representative from the local police department can come in and go through different scenarios of how the police department is handling domestic terrorism and they are dealing with ethnic hate crimes, think of it as D.A.R.E but instead of drugs and gangs it’s for domestic and foreign terrorism. Now this will definitely be too heavy of a subject for kids in 5,6 and 7 grades, but the course material can be altered to ease the kids into how difficult the subject is and how difficult it is to talk about. When I took history class in school, when the subjects of the civil war and world war 2 came up the teach taught the class about everything about those historical events. We learn about the thought process of both sides of the both wars and we had an open discussion where we would ask each other and the teacher questions about why one side would react one way and how the other side would respond. The same could be done to help fully educate the current and future generations, have an open discussion about whatever is going on in the news, kids should learn about these global events from teachers and/or history books not from social media.
With today’s technology a vast majority of the population it connected through social media, that includes impressionable kids. Kids today spend a lot of their time on the various social media sites and a tragic event happens like the Boston marathon bombing, they are going to get different opinions from people all over the world. With those opinions there is going to be a lot of hate, now if kids are getting the same opinions form both home and social media they are going to think that these opinions are correct opinions to have. These opinions can like in the scenario help foster violent behavior, that’s why it’s up to the parents to explain to their children that not all people are out to hurt us, it should also be taught in school. Just like how we were taught about World war 2, kids should be taught both sides of everything they need all the information they can get and make up their own opinion without outside influence.
Amedie, Jacob, “The Impact of Social Media on Society” (2015). Advanced Writing: Pop Culture Intersections. 2. https://scholarcommons.scu.edu/engl_176/2
Maksl, A., & Schraum, B. (2012, November 9). Protecting the “Impressionable Minds” from the “Impressionable Minds” The Third-Person Effect and Student Speech. Retrieved October 16, 2018, from http://journals.sagepub.com.mylibrary.wilmu.edu/doi/full/10.1177/1077695812465257
Wilson, Scott, et al. “Boston Bombing Suspect Cites U.S. Wars as Motivation, Officials Say.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 23 Apr. 2013, www.washingtonpost.com/national/boston-bombing-suspect-cites-us-wars-as-motivation-officials-say/2013/04/23/324b9cea-ac29-11e2-b6fd-ba6f5f26d70e_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.5e79f3159a98.