Teasing and using hypothetical or joking language is an incredibly complicated thing to grasp. Often, phrases are taken literally and responded to in a way they were not meant to. This is an intricate part of the english language and will be consistently heard in life. Shielding a child from jokes entirely will hurt them in the future, if they don’t develop with this crucial understanding. Joking doesn’t mean that life is unstable, it is simply a joke. It is important to work through misunderstandings as they occur, but shielding will hurt children more than protect them. There is, however, no need to pour every hard life reality and event on to a young kid. They don’t need to know intricacies of financial ruin, or every detail about drugs and sex or assault. Answering questions when asked, but not volunteering hurtful information is a way to go about this, and padding the answers slightly can also assist in teaching. Teasing kids is much different from showing them the entirety of reality, but in that case where harder subjects are questioned, denial will only lead to later hurt.
I believe that historical forms of activism, especially those that directly reflect the context of the time and the limits on activism, are some of the most powerful examples. This story by Tony Cade Bambara deals with the issue of authenticity and the unknowingness of childhood. Bambara tells a powerful story through the eyes of a young black girl and her family, along with their dynamics. She is too trusting and believes literally everything she is told. It is not simply an activist piece, it is also a reflection on the obliviousness of youth and the absence of truth, as well as the subtext of language. People look for meanings in pieces of work that are as fluid as this, making the activism more captivating and powerful. I do not think this piece is too far of a cry from modern activism in story form, instead it is just a story of the time. There is an accessible form of activism for every consumer, whether it be straightforward in a clearly outlined problems and solutions essay, or hidden in a captivating story. It is an artistic form of activism, and just as valid as any other. Writing is empowerment and telling stories has always been a form of liberation.
I am from followspots,
From theater chairs and marley floors.
I am from the bright orange fridge, almost neon
I am from the California evergreens,
the community lake with the all day all night party and the saturday morning drum circles
I am from shabbos
and big noses,
from Piro Shalom
And the hippie revolution
I am from the impulsivity
From “making plans for nigel”
and “brick house”
I am from the 4 hour seder every spring
But not from the temple
I’m from Oakland and from a lost ancestry
Street tacos and strong coffee
From the oregon communes in 1969,
the the acid and the grateful dead and the Janis Joplin as God,
and the protest arrests with Joan Baez and a different husband each time.
I am from that bright orange, almost neon fridge
With my two brothers and my sister
And my grandfather who passed
smiling at us with a pipe in his mouth and a beer in his hand
At his happiest