January 21, 2020, Peach Springs-
There is no mincing words about this: In the name of freedom of speech, three generations of adults are poisoning the well of our children’s spirits-particularly in impoverished communities. Nowhere is this more apparent, than in communities with a narrow economic base.
The phenomenon of children as young as seven, trading sexual epithets, the coarsest of profanity and actually mentioning pornographic websites, by name, is, to put it mildly, jarring to the spirit. That they actually understand what they are saying is even more disquieting.
This is a train of abuses, long in the running, and it is by no means limited to Native American communities. Sexual deviance was graphically described to me by a very young neighbour, in 2002, in a Phoenix apartment complex. As far back as June, 1980, when I lived in a Flagstaff apartment complex, a band that had been hired to play at a birthday party, in a place where children were out and about, loudly screamed profanity in the course of their “presentation”. It was viewed, by many of those present, as “harmless”; “only words”.
I am no prude, though I have long ago exiled the vernacular word for fornication to its proper place in the graveyard of misbegotten phrases. I note that even the late, great George Carlin, a champion of adults’ free speech, when among other adults, drew the line at cursing in the presence of children.
Language, though, is not the most harmful aspect of the ongoing tailspin. Sex education, still properly the purview of parents, is increasingly becoming the province of the skeevy. Applications like TikTok are being used by those who wish to prey upon young children. Other social media sites, not well-monitored by responsible adults, are offering curious and precociously feisty youngsters a diet of unseemly fare that is well beyond their level of true understanding. As one boy told me today, “it’s more exciting than what’s around here. ” This is what we face, as communities and as a wider society.
So, the concerns that we educational professionals once had, with regard to teenagers, are now applicable to kids in primary school. This is one of America’s wake-up calls.