Author Topic: Walking home from school and The Role of Language in Sexist Culture and Behavior  (Read 38196 times)

PeteD01

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I don't recall having been picked up at school even once in my life - times have changed....

http://news.yahoo.com/father-gets-probation-making-son-walk-home-school-180209763.html
« Last Edit: June 15, 2014, 05:27:12 PM by PeteD01 »

msilenus

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2014, 01:40:00 PM »
I've been thinking about this a lot, recently, in the context of whether or not our own kids will walk or ride alone to/from school.  We live close enough, and I want them to have that sense of independence.

They probably won't.

I really don't want to be overprotective, and I recognize that pervs have always been a threat (my Aunt was once briefly abducted, probably in the 60s, Granddad found out almost immediately, chased him down and scared the creep off, fortunately.)  If things were like they were in the good ol' days, I'd tolerate the risk.

What has changed, and what influences my inclination here, is that it's now abnormal for kids to do this.  So if my kids are walking home, they're much more likely to be targeted.  Prey animals form herds for safety in numbers, and the first thing predators try to do is isolate.  There are no herds of kids commuting to and from school without their kids any more, so my kids would be isolated by default.  The creeps haven't changed, but parents have, in a way that would focus whatever risk there is on my own kids if I went in that direction.

Prosecuting parents for this is insane, in my view, but the world really has changed in a meaningful way.  It's sad.

randymarsh

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2014, 01:54:17 PM »
If things were like they were in the good ol' days, I'd tolerate the risk.

What good ol' days? Kids have never been safer: http://www.psmag.com/culture/the-kids-really-are-all-right-58651/

Almost all children are kidnapped by a parent or caregiver. The risk of a random stranger abducting your child is so rare it should barely even be thought about.

msilenus

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2014, 02:02:03 PM »
What I'm interested in is the subgroup study of kids who walk home from school alone, comparing 50 years ago to today, for example.  I don't think it exists, but would happy to read it.

Lung cancer rates have also been dropping over the last 10-15 years, but that's no reason to recommend that someone pick up smoking.  (The mechanics I'm positing are a little different, but the underlying problem with the argument is similar enough.)

To get concrete: if abductions on the way home from school drop 50%, but kids walking home from school drop 99%, your own child's personal risk walking home from school goes way up, even though the population got safer.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2014, 02:04:12 PM by msilenus »

warfreak2

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2014, 02:09:10 PM »
My main comment is that we explicitly don't know how old the kid was. If they were, say, 5 years old, then I could see it possibly (but not necessarily) being a problem. However, the judge seems to have been irrationally paranoid about child abduction; the risk of a traffic accident is a much better reason not to let a small child walk alone. Also, even if child abuse is the only danger to worry about, limiting contact with strangers is just not an effective way to reduce that danger.

http://www.americanhumane.org/children/stop-child-abuse/fact-sheets/child-abuse-and-neglect-statistics.html
Quote
Perpetrators of child abuse or neglect are most often the child’s own parents. According to NCANDS, in 2005, 79.4 percent of perpetrators were parents and 6.8 percent were other relatives. The largest remaining categories of perpetrators were the unmarried partner of a child’s parent (3.8 percent) and other perpetrators (4.1 percent).

tooqk4u22

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2014, 02:10:10 PM »
If things were like they were in the good ol' days, I'd tolerate the risk.

What good ol' days? Kids have never been safer: http://www.psmag.com/culture/the-kids-really-are-all-right-58651/

Almost all children are kidnapped by a parent or caregiver. The risk of a random stranger abducting your child is so rare it should barely even be thought about.

Cause and effect......maybe it is so rare because kids don't walk home from school anymore?

prefrontalfinance

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2014, 02:16:52 PM »
I've been thinking about this a lot, recently, in the context of whether or not our own kids will walk or ride alone to/from school.  We live close enough, and I want them to have that sense of independence.

What has changed, and what influences my inclination here, is that it's now abnormal for kids to do this.  So if my kids are walking home, they're much more likely to be targeted.  Prey animals form herds for safety in numbers, and the first thing predators try to do is isolate. There are no herds of kids commuting to and from school without their kids any more, so my kids would be isolated by default.  The creeps haven't changed, but parents have, in a way that would focus whatever risk there is on my own kids if I went in that direction.

Maybe there aren't many children walking in your neighborhood right now, but if you live close enough and the road conditions aren't egregiously dangerous, there's no reason not to start.

http://guide.saferoutesinfo.org/walking_school_bus/
http://www.walkingschoolbus.org/
http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/01/17/the-suburb-where-everybody-can-walk-to-school/

Plus, the health and mental health benefits of walking to school can not be overstated:

http://www.citylab.com/commute/2013/02/kids-who-walk-or-bike-school-concentrate-better-study-shows/4585/

Quote: "The survey looked at nearly 20,000 Danish kids between the ages of 5 and 19. It found that kids who cycled or walked to school, rather than traveling by car or public transportation, performed measurably better on tasks demanding concentration, such as solving puzzles, and that the effects lasted for up to four hours after they got to school."

Just because other people in your neighborhood drive clown cars doesn't mean you should, and just because you haven't noticed others walking to school doesn't mean there is any actual increased risk for your child to walk to school.

deborah

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2014, 02:18:00 PM »
Maybe you should try to get a "walking school bus"  going at your school. They are (or were) common around here in primary schools. A parent is the bus driver, and as the children walk to school they gradually pick up other children along the way.

This has been promoted to reduce childhood obesity and to start to get children walking to school again. This seems to be working, and the "walking school buses" appear to be reducing in number, while I see lots more children walking to school than I did a few years ago.

Jack

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2014, 02:30:04 PM »
To get concrete: if abductions on the way home from school drop 50%, but kids walking home from school drop 99%, your own child's personal risk walking home from school goes way up, even though the population got safer.

Maybe, but who cares? It's still several orders of magnitude less likely than anything truly dangerous, including things most people do daily without a second thought (like riding in a car).

The number of children abducted by strangers each year, as a fraction of total population, is so small my calculator displayed the answer in scientific notation when I tried to calculate it!

msilenus

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2014, 02:37:11 PM »
Re: walking schoolbusses: I would be a little surprised if anyone got prosecuted for sending their kids to school in a group with an adult.  My own tentative plan was to go with them before work myself, but I don't see that as fostering independence.  Organizing something with the neighborhood would be an improvement on what I was planning.  Thanks for idea, and the linkage.

viper155

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2014, 02:48:29 PM »
The puss-if-i-cation of America in full view. This is pathetic.

ketchup

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2014, 02:56:38 PM »
To get concrete: if abductions on the way home from school drop 50%, but kids walking home from school drop 99%, your own child's personal risk walking home from school goes way up, even though the population got safer.

Maybe, but who cares? It's still several orders of magnitude less likely than anything truly dangerous, including things most people do daily without a second thought (like riding in a car).

The number of children abducted by strangers each year, as a fraction of total population, is so small my calculator displayed the answer in scientific notation when I tried to calculate it!
This.  And it's truly moronic how all the idling cars waiting outside the high school to drive Little Jimmy home less than a mile can clog up Main Street all across town.  The net effect of children walking to/from school on both said children, and the population at large is very positive.  Exercise and sunlight for kids, less car-riding for kids, less time (and money) spent driving for Mommy and Daddy, fewer carbon emissions, less traffic, etc.   Not to mention the mental health benefits noted above.  I walked to elementary school and high school, never less than about a mile, and there's no reason anyone else couldn't do the same.  I did it in Illinois snow and rain, and my girlfriend did the same in 115F Phoenix summers.  It's not hard. 

To phrase it stereotypically and obnoxiously: I'd never deprive a child of mine from the ability to walk to school.

Oh, and I only graduated high school in 2009.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2014, 03:28:12 PM by ketchup »

Ayanka

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2014, 03:12:03 PM »
I have also never been brought to school in a car. When I was in kindergarden, my mum would walk me to school, only memory I have is me walking, with my granddad? to school, probably my bro and sis didn't go because of the snow. By age 5, my dad learned me to ride a bike, so that I could ride a bike to the new school (Elementary school). As it was a very bike friendly school I biked to home (1 km or just over half a mile). This was a very bike friendly school, and they used people stopping traffic at one place and a system most easily explained inhere as a school bus bike system. At age 9-10, I remember biking alone and having to break very hard for a toddler, hence the memory. Age 12 and above, I was allowed to bike/walk to the stores/school alone.

This sounds like a lot of stories you will here about the good old days... only I am just 26.

galliver

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2014, 04:00:02 PM »
A comment on the original article in a local Hawaiian paper stated the kid was 8. Take that as you will. What really got me was the judge's statement that "Times are different now! Pedophiles and traffic!" When as has been mentioned, abductions are much *less* common now. Traffic however, could have been a problem; we don't really know what kind of road this kid was walking down.

Re: walking schoolbusses: I would be a little surprised if anyone got prosecuted for sending their kids to school in a group with an adult.  My own tentative plan was to go with them before work myself, but I don't see that as fostering independence.  Organizing something with the neighborhood would be an improvement on what I was planning.  Thanks for idea, and the linkage.

My mom picked me up on foot until 4th grade, then I walked with a friend (alone only if she was sick or something). There were a lot of kids in the area that walked, though. My sisters were picked up by mom or me until 11 or so, but sometimes we'd just meet them halfway. There were lots of kids that walked, but we were on the outskirts and the "flow" petered out by then and like you say, we didn't want them to be a target.

I say do it anyway--walk with them, because you'll get them used to the idea of getting themselves to school, because eventually something will come up and they'll walk alone and be fine, and you'll get less regular about it, and eventually transition to independent walking when you both are ready. :)

darkadams00

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2014, 08:41:06 PM »
I live 0.4 of a mile from an above-average performing middle school in an upper middle class neighborhood. I rarely see more than a dozen or so kids walking to school but maybe double that walking home from school, probably due to being latchkey kids. The school has about 1100 students. Given the excellent neighborhood safety records and reasonable residential density in the area, those numbers should be much higher. When I bike in the other direction through a higher end neighborhood, I pass several cars idling around the bus stop--even with temps above 60 degrees, no rain, and plenty of morning sun. The average cost of a car sitting in that intersection is probably around $45K (Lexus is the cheapest model). These kids are pampered to the nth degree in every aspect of their lives and have no concept of struggle, hardship, or independent thought. Sometimes I think the cause of issues like this is the kid-centric mentality that pervades middle-class families. It would be hard to play the "safety card" in my neighborhood. If two moms take their Johnny and Susie to school in their shiny SUVs, then the other moms have to as well. Keeping up with the Joneses is as much about copying behavior as it is about buying similar trinkets. Nobody wants to hear "Oh, your children WAAALLK to school?" at the community picnic (Don't say "kids" around kid-centric parents. It's offensive. I found out the hard way, twice).

Argyle

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2014, 09:09:57 PM »
Of course most abductions are now family abductions -- because children are no longer unattended out in neighborhoods.

When I was a kid and everyone walked to school, back in the '60s, a friend of mine was abducted but got away by biting the kidnapper who was hauling her away into the woods.  A couple of years later I was abducted.  The man eventually let me go, but I wouldn't wish that experience on any kid.  I will draw a veil over the details.  A few years later, a girl at the next school over was abducted and murdered by a stranger.

Would I let a kid walk to school on their own?  Not on your life.

bikebum

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2014, 09:18:52 PM »
The puss-if-i-cation of America in full view. This is pathetic.

This is awesome, I'm using it! The ladies may not like it, but it's too good to pass up!

Russ

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2014, 09:41:11 PM »
The puss-if-i-cation of America in full view. This is pathetic.

This is awesome, I'm using it! The ladies may not like it, but it's too good to pass up!

Yes, let's continue to characterize women as dependent and helpless. Too good to pass up.

bikebum

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2014, 10:04:50 PM »
The puss-if-i-cation of America in full view. This is pathetic.

This is awesome, I'm using it! The ladies may not like it, but it's too good to pass up!

Yes, let's continue to characterize women as dependent and helpless. Too good to pass up.

Dude, don't be a dick. Oh, sorry guys ;)

warfreak2

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2014, 04:58:13 AM »
Petition to switch the words around so that someone who has "balls" is vulnerable, and a "pussy" is resilient. That would make more sense.

(There was an article I read a few years ago which made this point, but I don't really feel like Googling these search terms...)

Winston

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2014, 07:47:29 AM »
The puss-if-i-cation of America in full view. This is pathetic.

The puss-if-i-cation of America in full view. This is pathetic.

This is awesome, I'm using it! The ladies may not like it, but it's too good to pass up!

The misogynistic comments need to stop NOW.

bikebum

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2014, 11:54:22 AM »
Petition to switch the words around so that someone who has "balls" is vulnerable, and a "pussy" is resilient. That would make more sense.

(There was an article I read a few years ago which made this point, but I don't really feel like Googling these search terms...)

Betty White has a quote about that. It's pretty funny.

The puss-if-i-cation of America in full view. This is pathetic.

The puss-if-i-cation of America in full view. This is pathetic.

This is awesome, I'm using it! The ladies may not like it, but it's too good to pass up!

The misogynistic comments need to stop NOW.

I don't see it as misogynistic. IMO, it's way too sophomoric to be taken in any serious way, which is partly why I think it's funny. You and Russ are implying very strong hidden meanings that are just not there. I guess I should've mentioned I wanted to use it in my personal life, not on here. Although I know women who may not find it funny, I don't know any women who would be offended by it. I am not offended when parts of the male anatomy are used in funny talk. I see nothing sexist about that use of that word. Maybe it's a cultural thing; growing up I had a fair number of girls jokingly call me and other guys a pussy.

randymarsh

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2014, 12:19:38 PM »
Maybe it's a cultural thing; growing up I had a fair number of girls jokingly call me and other guys a pussy.

Well that's OK. They were fighting the patriarchy.

bikebum

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2014, 12:55:32 PM »
Maybe it's a cultural thing; growing up I had a fair number of girls jokingly call me and other guys a pussy.

Well that's OK. They were fighting the patriarchy.

Now that is sexist, haha. They were using the word in the same way people on here are objecting to, and they also reacted the same way when a guy used it. Growing up, it didn't matter which gender was saying it to which, it was always humorous and light-hearted.

I asked my lady what she thought about the term "pussification of America." She said it is not offensive, and then said jokingly "America is a big, fat pussy." Apparently my lady makes misogynistic comments and characterizes women as dependent and helpless too. Or, she is able to enjoy a sophomoric joke without trying to make it more serious than it is.

TreeTired

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2014, 01:59:48 PM »
Quote
The judge, Kathleen Watanabe, ruled that the punishment was “old-fashioned” and inappropriate. She said that it is dangerous for children to walk alongside the road due to potential pedophiles.

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

This is sad/wrong on so many levels, starting with the court's inappropriate interference in a father disciplining his child.  He didn't hit the kid, he apparently didn't verbally abuse the kid.   Is with-holding candy or voluntary "timeout" at home the only state-approved punishment that is properly contemporary?

Russ

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #25 on: May 31, 2014, 06:50:07 PM »
I don't see it as misogynistic. IMO, it's way too sophomoric to be taken in any serious way, which is partly why I think it's funny. You and Russ are implying very strong hidden meanings that are just not there. I guess I should've mentioned I wanted to use it in my personal life, not on here. Although I know women who may not find it funny, I don't know any women who would be offended by it. I am not offended when parts of the male anatomy are used in funny talk. I see nothing sexist about that use of that word. Maybe it's a cultural thing; growing up I had a fair number of girls jokingly call me and other guys a pussy.

I agree that using the word "pussy" in that sense doesn't necessarily mean the speaker hates women, and so chose my words very carefully to avoid a possibly misplaced invocation of "misogyny!" (although Winston did decide to go down that path... I will leave him to explain his position). I fail, however, to see a difference between the harmful negative connotation of "pussy" and the harmful negative connotation (which I hope we can all agree exists, otherwise please ask and I will try to explain further) of "gay". "Dick" as well, although the inherent privelege (this is where everybody stops listening) of being born with a schlong (at least in N. America) makes that implication slightly less harmful. I suppose that's the difference,  that women are more priveleged than homosexuals, and so it's less harmful to call something a "pussy". Still doesn't make it without harm.

That's worst case. Many women here (and some dudes) see that - whether it's meant as such or simply as a sophomoric turn of phrase - as evidenced by numerous PM's and mod reports. While it's not OP's responsibility to never offend anybody, it is their responsibility upon offending to reexamine their words and learn why what they said might be offensive. Here the opportunity presents itself.

Benefit of the doubt: at best it's still imprecise language, which is something I think we would all do well to avoid when having the intelligent discussions we strive for here. Unless you literally mean to say America is turning into a vagina.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2014, 06:56:03 PM by Russ »

bikebum

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #26 on: May 31, 2014, 08:08:51 PM »
I don't see it as misogynistic. IMO, it's way too sophomoric to be taken in any serious way, which is partly why I think it's funny. You and Russ are implying very strong hidden meanings that are just not there. I guess I should've mentioned I wanted to use it in my personal life, not on here. Although I know women who may not find it funny, I don't know any women who would be offended by it. I am not offended when parts of the male anatomy are used in funny talk. I see nothing sexist about that use of that word. Maybe it's a cultural thing; growing up I had a fair number of girls jokingly call me and other guys a pussy.

I agree that using the word "pussy" in that sense doesn't necessarily mean the speaker hates women, and so chose my words very carefully to avoid a possibly misplaced invocation of "misogyny!" (although Winston did decide to go down that path... I will leave him to explain his position). I fail, however, to see a difference between the harmful negative connotation of "pussy" and the harmful negative connotation (which I hope we can all agree exists, otherwise please ask and I will try to explain further) of "gay". "Dick" as well, although the inherent privelege (this is where everybody stops listening) of being born with a schlong (at least in N. America) makes that implication slightly less harmful. I suppose that's the difference,  that women are more priveleged than homosexuals, and so it's less harmful to call something a "pussy". Still doesn't make it without harm.

That's worst case. Many women here (and some dudes) see that - whether it's meant as such or simply as a sophomoric turn of phrase - as evidenced by numerous PM's and mod reports. While it's not OP's responsibility to never offend anybody, it is their responsibility upon offending to reexamine their words and learn why what they said might be offensive. Here the opportunity presents itself.

Benefit of the doubt: at best it's still imprecise language, which is something I think we would all do well to avoid when having the intelligent discussions we strive for here. Unless you literally mean to say America is turning into a vagina.

OK, sounds good. I think your comment still had a misplaced invocation though. I see your point about who is more privileged. Although, I treat women with the same level of respect as I treat men (and every other group of people for that matter), so I don't see any reason to tip-toe around things like this. Even further, I think being too careful about this stuff somewhat re-enforces the ideas we are trying to avoid.

For the record, I didn't actually use that language in that way here, although I did express that I think it is funny and will use it in my personal life. I guess the important thing is to know the audience. I wouldn't have used it here since I didn't know if people would find it offensive, and I definitely won't now that I know people here do find it offensive. Most people I know personally would see it as a much funnier way to say "wussification of America" and nothing more.

mm1970

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #27 on: May 31, 2014, 09:39:25 PM »
What I'm interested in is the subgroup study of kids who walk home from school alone, comparing 50 years ago to today, for example.  I don't think it exists, but would happy to read it.

Lung cancer rates have also been dropping over the last 10-15 years, but that's no reason to recommend that someone pick up smoking.  (The mechanics I'm positing are a little different, but the underlying problem with the argument is similar enough.)

To get concrete: if abductions on the way home from school drop 50%, but kids walking home from school drop 99%, your own child's personal risk walking home from school goes way up, even though the population got safer.
My husband walked home for lunch when he was in elementary, including first grade, when he was six.

I don't think I'll ever let my kid walk to school by himself.  It's only 0.7 miles, but it's a steep hill with a very narrow/ no sidewalk, and people drive their cars too fast up it.  Sorry.  Not happening.

kmm

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #28 on: May 31, 2014, 10:11:38 PM »
My main comment is that we explicitly don't know how old the kid was. If they were, say, 5 years old, then I could see it possibly (but not necessarily) being a problem. However, the judge seems to have been irrationally paranoid about child abduction; the risk of a traffic accident is a much better reason not to let a small child walk alone. Also, even if child abuse is the only danger to worry about, limiting contact with strangers is just not an effective way to reduce that danger.

I can't imagine any scenario in which a 5-year old walking a mile home alone would not be problematic.

ETA: I assume the child in question walked home alone (vs. his father following behind him in the car), although it's not explicitly stated in the story. My impression wasn't that the judge was criticizing the walk itself, but the fact that it was unaccompanied. I could be wrong about that, though.

I walk my 8-year old a mile to school. Most parents in my city who live within walkable distance do the same. But I wouldn't let him go it alone. The streets are too busy and the drivers too distracted - and the cyclists as well, unfortunately. We nearly got mowed over by a guy on a bike who ran a red light and headed the wrong way down our one way street.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2014, 10:25:31 PM by kmm »

warfreak2

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #29 on: June 01, 2014, 04:13:24 AM »
I can't imagine any scenario in which a 5-year old walking a mile home alone would not be problematic.
Depends on the parents, the neighbourhood, and the route, and how smart and confident the kid is. If it's a bright Summer's day in a low-traffic (except for a reasonable number of pedestrians) residential neighborhood, they know the route, there aren't many roads to cross, and the kid knows how to yell "HELP!" or ask "please can I use your phone?", and actually wants to walk, I don't see a problem. The most likely abductors in this scenario are probably the police.

golden1

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #30 on: June 01, 2014, 06:51:09 AM »
I think there is some odd psychology going on when it comes to helicopter parenting.   I used to think it was just about people not understanding risk assessment, but I think it goes deeper than that.  IF, and I know the chance is small, your child gets abducted by a stranger walking home, public opinion would cast almost as much blame on the parent as the perp.  Same with leaving your kids in the car for a minute while grabbing something in the car, or leaving your kids unsupervised outside.  Parental judgement by your peers is a powerful force and can lead people to act in ways that might not be rational otherwise. 

CarDude

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #31 on: June 01, 2014, 07:19:10 AM »
I think there is some odd psychology going on when it comes to helicopter parenting.   I used to think it was just about people not understanding risk assessment, but I think it goes deeper than that.  IF, and I know the chance is small, your child gets abducted by a stranger walking home, public opinion would cast almost as much blame on the parent as the perp.  Same with leaving your kids in the car for a minute while grabbing something in the car, or leaving your kids unsupervised outside.  Parental judgement by your peers is a powerful force and can lead people to act in ways that might not be rational otherwise.

An excellent point that's been largely overlooked so far.

BPA

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #32 on: June 01, 2014, 07:22:46 AM »
Petition to switch the words around so that someone who has "balls" is vulnerable, and a "pussy" is resilient. That would make more sense.

(There was an article I read a few years ago which made this point, but I don't really feel like Googling these search terms...)

Betty White has a quote about that. It's pretty funny.

The puss-if-i-cation of America in full view. This is pathetic.

The puss-if-i-cation of America in full view. This is pathetic.

This is awesome, I'm using it! The ladies may not like it, but it's too good to pass up!

The misogynistic comments need to stop NOW.

I don't see it as misogynistic. IMO, it's way too sophomoric to be taken in any serious way, which is partly why I think it's funny. You and Russ are implying very strong hidden meanings that are just not there. I guess I should've mentioned I wanted to use it in my personal life, not on here. Although I know women who may not find it funny, I don't know any women who would be offended by it. I am not offended when parts of the male anatomy are used in funny talk. I see nothing sexist about that use of that word. Maybe it's a cultural thing; growing up I had a fair number of girls jokingly call me and other guys a pussy.

It is an even sadder commentary on society that some women use gender specific language that is derogatory towards women; it's not a logical justification. 

People who are privileged tend not to understand oppression and think that those who do understand it are being overly sensitive. 

If you don't understand how powerful gender-specific language can be, then there isn't a whole lot the rest of us can do except ask you to be open-minded about challenging those beliefs. 


waltworks

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #33 on: June 01, 2014, 07:44:49 AM »
I'd like more details. Having spent a decent amount of time in HI I can say that in many cases walking along the side of the road isn't particularly safe for an adult, let alone a child - so if he dropped his kid off on the side of a busy shoulder-less highway and sped away - yeah, that's not ok. If the route home was relatively safe, different story.

The *judge* was presumably not the one to call police, so at least one other person felt this guy was endangering his kid. That doesn't mean he was, but it does mean at least 2 other people thought so.

I'm guessing there is more to it than the click-bait headline (and article almost completely lacking in details).

-W

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #34 on: June 01, 2014, 07:52:09 AM »

I don't think I'll ever let my kid walk to school by himself.  It's only 0.7 miles, but it's a steep hill with a very narrow/ no sidewalk, and people drive their cars too fast up it.  Sorry.  Not happening.

I totally get this.  I'm a grown up and have recently been commuting on foot to and from my work place.  I'm not worried about other pedestrians or wildlife, but I do worry about all the cars--especially the many of them that are going too fast.  One false move from a car whizzing by me at a speed of 45 miles an hour, and I'm done for.  I'm getting to the point where I despise most drivers.

bikebum

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #35 on: June 01, 2014, 10:36:03 AM »
Petition to switch the words around so that someone who has "balls" is vulnerable, and a "pussy" is resilient. That would make more sense.

(There was an article I read a few years ago which made this point, but I don't really feel like Googling these search terms...)

Betty White has a quote about that. It's pretty funny.

The puss-if-i-cation of America in full view. This is pathetic.

The puss-if-i-cation of America in full view. This is pathetic.

This is awesome, I'm using it! The ladies may not like it, but it's too good to pass up!

The misogynistic comments need to stop NOW.

I don't see it as misogynistic. IMO, it's way too sophomoric to be taken in any serious way, which is partly why I think it's funny. You and Russ are implying very strong hidden meanings that are just not there. I guess I should've mentioned I wanted to use it in my personal life, not on here. Although I know women who may not find it funny, I don't know any women who would be offended by it. I am not offended when parts of the male anatomy are used in funny talk. I see nothing sexist about that use of that word. Maybe it's a cultural thing; growing up I had a fair number of girls jokingly call me and other guys a pussy.

It is an even sadder commentary on society that some women use gender specific language that is derogatory towards women; it's not a logical justification. 

People who are privileged tend not to understand oppression and think that those who do understand it are being overly sensitive. 

If you don't understand how powerful gender-specific language can be, then there isn't a whole lot the rest of us can do except ask you to be open-minded about challenging those beliefs.

My point was I and the people I know, including the women, do not see it as derogatory or sexist, and therefore it is not when we are using it amongst ourselves. Is it harmful when black people say to each other, "What's up, my n-----?" How about when non-religious people jokingly call each other "infidels" or "heathens"? I think it actually redefines the words and removes the sting they once carried. Some people may not like it, but people are free to talk to each other the way they choose to. We don't have the right to never be offended. If we all never say anything that someone may be offended by, we won't have much that is interesting to talk about, and we'll miss out on a lot of good jokes.

I think at this point in the US we are very close to gender equality, maybe we have even achieved it. Hopefully that will not start a side debate. I do recognize it has not always been that way in this country, and is still not that way in some other countries. I think the best way to work towards or preserve equality is to treat everyone as equals, which is what I do. I see tip-toeing as an acknowledgement of the view that we are not equals.

I am open-minded to the challenge, which is why I take the time to explain my side. I have already pointed out that I didn't use this language in the way we are talking about it here, and will not in the future on here. If anyone wants to try to convince me why I should not use it around other people who see it as nothing more than a joke, I am open-minded to that.

kite

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #36 on: June 01, 2014, 03:31:40 PM »
Our town has not had a stranger abduction but we have had two fatalities in school parking lots involving parent drivers.  One backed over a child,  a few years later,  another backed over another parent.   In our older, North East town, there are plenty of sidewalks,  and the schools (each built over 75 years ago) served generations who walked.   

Argyle

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #37 on: June 01, 2014, 03:46:26 PM »
Bikebum, your examples aren't parallel.  Black friends saying, "What's up, my n----?" is not implying that the n-word means something derogatory.  But when you talk about "the pussification of America" or say "He's such a pussy," it's saying that "pussy" means something shameful and to be avoided.  A better parallel is saying "That's so gay."  In both cases the word means something bad.  I would argue that using derogatory words associated with certain attributes of people, even among joky like-minded friends, keeps those words in circulation.  It implies that you think the words are harmless, as in fact you do.  Like saying just to your friends, "He's such a retard."  Why not, if none of your friends are going to care?  If they all think it's an equally funny insulting term?  My question always is: if someone would be offended if they overheard you, why say it?  Aren't there enough insulting words, without associating them with categories of people? 

Annamal

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #38 on: June 01, 2014, 04:37:53 PM »
Every morning on my way to work I see groups of children scooting down the hill to their school (thankfully they seem to have learned enough about steering that they never hit anyone), makes me really grateful to live in an area where that is accepted practice ( I also pass a lot of parents walking or biking their kids to the local playcentre and that's good too).

P.s. If you can't find more imaginative insulting language than pussy then you're going to sound like one of those creepy douche-nozzles that women are constantly warned to steer clear of.

p.p.s Equality at the moment would mean that men were constantly on their guard around strange women, were told they were courting danger if they walked alone after dark and never left their drinks alone...I'd rather those things weren't true of either gender but that is currently not the case).

Gin1984

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #39 on: June 01, 2014, 04:46:00 PM »
Petition to switch the words around so that someone who has "balls" is vulnerable, and a "pussy" is resilient. That would make more sense.

(There was an article I read a few years ago which made this point, but I don't really feel like Googling these search terms...)

Betty White has a quote about that. It's pretty funny.

The puss-if-i-cation of America in full view. This is pathetic.

The puss-if-i-cation of America in full view. This is pathetic.

This is awesome, I'm using it! The ladies may not like it, but it's too good to pass up!

The misogynistic comments need to stop NOW.

I don't see it as misogynistic. IMO, it's way too sophomoric to be taken in any serious way, which is partly why I think it's funny. You and Russ are implying very strong hidden meanings that are just not there. I guess I should've mentioned I wanted to use it in my personal life, not on here. Although I know women who may not find it funny, I don't know any women who would be offended by it. I am not offended when parts of the male anatomy are used in funny talk. I see nothing sexist about that use of that word. Maybe it's a cultural thing; growing up I had a fair number of girls jokingly call me and other guys a pussy.

It is an even sadder commentary on society that some women use gender specific language that is derogatory towards women; it's not a logical justification. 

People who are privileged tend not to understand oppression and think that those who do understand it are being overly sensitive. 

If you don't understand how powerful gender-specific language can be, then there isn't a whole lot the rest of us can do except ask you to be open-minded about challenging those beliefs.

My point was I and the people I know, including the women, do not see it as derogatory or sexist, and therefore it is not when we are using it amongst ourselves. Is it harmful when black people say to each other, "What's up, my n-----?" How about when non-religious people jokingly call each other "infidels" or "heathens"? I think it actually redefines the words and removes the sting they once carried. Some people may not like it, but people are free to talk to each other the way they choose to. We don't have the right to never be offended. If we all never say anything that someone may be offended by, we won't have much that is interesting to talk about, and we'll miss out on a lot of good jokes.

I think at this point in the US we are very close to gender equality, maybe we have even achieved it. Hopefully that will not start a side debate. I do recognize it has not always been that way in this country, and is still not that way in some other countries. I think the best way to work towards or preserve equality is to treat everyone as equals, which is what I do. I see tip-toeing as an acknowledgement of the view that we are not equals.

I am open-minded to the challenge, which is why I take the time to explain my side. I have already pointed out that I didn't use this language in the way we are talking about it here, and will not in the future on here. If anyone wants to try to convince me why I should not use it around other people who see it as nothing more than a joke, I am open-minded to that.
The same reason you should not do a rape joke around those who would see it as no more than a joke.  It tells people, one, that you find sexism amusing, two, not everyone who would be bothered will speak up and it may make some people worry about what other things you might find acceptable and three, it encourages a culture in which misogyny is a norm. 

bikebum

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #40 on: June 01, 2014, 05:36:48 PM »
I have this friend at work and we tell some pretty bad jokes when no one else can hear, jokes that you guys and gals would not like. But the reason we think they are funny is because they highlight the absurdities in the views you think they are re-enforcing. Neither of us are sexist, racist, or anything like that. We are gentlemen who respect women the same as men, despite what you may think after reading all this. There is a strong distinction between what is simply a joke and what can be taken seriously. Maybe that distinction is hard to convey over the internet.

I don't agree with all the points being made, but I don't think it would take the argument in a useful direction to address them. By now, you probably can guess what my response would be.

Someone is gonna be offended about almost anything you might talk about. Some examples are early retirement, being green, eating meat, and choosing to not drive so much. We could draw the line to cut out sophomoric jokes and name-calling, but don't we think movies like "The 40 Year Old Virgin" are funny? Maybe that's a good test. Do you think movies like that are harmful to society? Those are the kinds of jokes I'm talking about. If your answer is yes, we probably won't agree on this no matter how much we talk.

Gin1984

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #41 on: June 01, 2014, 05:50:41 PM »
I have this friend at work and we tell some pretty bad jokes when no one else can hear, jokes that you guys and gals would not like. But the reason we think they are funny is because they highlight the absurdities in the views you think they are re-enforcing. Neither of us are sexist, racist, or anything like that. We are gentlemen who respect women the same as men, despite what you may think after reading all this. There is a strong distinction between what is simply a joke and what can be taken seriously. Maybe that distinction is hard to convey over the internet.

I don't agree with all the points being made, but I don't think it would take the argument in a useful direction to address them. By now, you probably can guess what my response would be.

Someone is gonna be offended about almost anything you might talk about. Some examples are early retirement, being green, eating meat, and choosing to not drive so much. We could draw the line to cut out sophomoric jokes and name-calling, but don't we think movies like "The 40 Year Old Virgin" are funny? Maybe that's a good test. Do you think movies like that are harmful to society? Those are the kinds of jokes I'm talking about. If your answer is yes, we probably won't agree on this no matter how much we talk.
Given that many of those jokes can indicate a person willing to harm another, they are not EVER funny even if you put them in a joke formate. 

Argyle

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #42 on: June 01, 2014, 05:57:38 PM »
I don't think "there's someone who'll take offense at anything you might say" is a valid argument against the fact that some remarks are more liable to offend than others.  You know what those are already.  They're not about eating meat or driving.  What I do keep hearing is that people who are not the target of these jokes often don't think they're offensive.  I get that.  That's predictable.  But I think it behooves us to listen to people who are the target of these jokes.  That goes for me too.  If a certain group says "We find X jokes offensive," it behooves me to say, "Well, I never thought about it that way, and it wasn't on my radar.  I don't have experience with being an X.  But I don't want to be offensive, so I'm going to cool it on the X jokes.  It's not like there's any shortage of ridiculous things left." 

kyleaaa

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #43 on: June 02, 2014, 06:54:30 AM »
Without more context around the story, there really isn't much worth commenting on here. Maybe the judge was wrong about the community not accepting this form of punishment anymore? Maybe it will be overturned on appeal? Maybe the road in question was really a 4 lane highway without a proper sidewalk, in which case walking really IS unacceptably dangerous for a child? Impossible to know.

GuitarStv

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #44 on: June 02, 2014, 09:54:00 AM »
This is a subject that's been niggling at the back of my mind since we had our child.  I walked to both elementary, and high-school (my last two years of high-school me moved, so I had to walk to the bus stop and then bussed the rest of the way) alone from the time I was in grade two onwards.  I don't think that it did me any harm, or that I was really ever in danger.  That said, I am leery for some reason about letting my child do the same in our neighbourhood.  Somehow deep in my gut things feel less safe.

lisahi

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #45 on: June 02, 2014, 10:01:15 AM »
It was a two-lane highway on the island of Kauai with 10-20 feet shoulders connected to large areas of grass. No sidewalks, but the child could walk 10-20 feet away from the road if he so chose because there's space to do it. We don't know how familiar this child was with the road, although familiar enough to walk back to school, which he did. It was somebody at his school who called the police, although his father turned around 5 minutes later (probably to see how he was doing and/or pick him up). Too late by then.

Kauai is not heavily populated. Moreover, it has very little crime. What it does have is primarily property crime. In fact, although Kauai makes up about 5% of the population of Hawaii, it only makes up 2% or so of the state's violent crimes.

Would I let my child (if I had one) walk a mile home from school? Probably not. I'm overprotective of my dogs. But this happened in a very low-crime area, with wide-set shoulders and grassy open land to walk along.  The father wasn't forcing his son to walk along a freeway in Detroit, Chicago or Los Angeles.

galliver

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #46 on: June 02, 2014, 10:20:30 AM »
Motion to replace "pussification" with "pusillanimousificiation"

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pusillanimous

Because if you're going to make insulting statements, you might as well use refined vocabulary that was 8x more popular in the 1800's. :P

TrulyStashin

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #47 on: June 02, 2014, 10:34:50 AM »
I think there is some odd psychology going on when it comes to helicopter parenting.   I used to think it was just about people not understanding risk assessment, but I think it goes deeper than that.  IF, and I know the chance is small, your child gets abducted by a stranger walking home, public opinion would cast almost as much blame on the parent as the perp.  Same with leaving your kids in the car for a minute while grabbing something in the car, or leaving your kids unsupervised outside.  Parental judgement by your peers is a powerful force and can lead people to act in ways that might not be rational otherwise.

An excellent point that's been largely overlooked so far.

Totally agree.  When my son was in middle school (age 11 to 14) and AFTER he took the Red Cross class for certification as a babysitter, I let him stay home alone during daylight hours while I went grocery shopping (for example).   I took it on the chin from several people who thought that was too risky and my judgment as a parent was questioned.  Note, we live in a very quiet, safe suburban community; he had a neighbor he could call on; the store was 2 miles away; I had a cell phone.  Never mind, I was a terrible parent.  What if the house caught on fire!!

I kept doing it anyway.  As he demonstrated the ability to handle the responsibility, I gradually increased the scope of his "home alone" time.   

bikebum

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #48 on: June 02, 2014, 01:11:09 PM »
OK, I won't defend this anymore. If people feel it is offensive, then it is. I don't intend to argue with anyone about their feelings. I explained why I thought it was harmless, but you are telling me it hurts people and I won't argue.

I'm still going to tell my jokes with my friends, but you won't hear or read any of this language from me, and I will try not to express support for language that people find offensive on this forum. Honestly, I did not know.

I have a request. If you want to make people like me aware of this, maybe try an approach more like this article written to Jon Stewart about his same use of the word in question: http://www.chicagonow.com/families-in-the-loop/2012/03/dear-jon-stewart-stop-using-the-word-pussy-thanks/

Telling people they are being misogynistic, demeaning to women, that willingness to use this language implies they have bad morals, or anything like that will probably just make them defensive, because people who have this sense of humor don't see it that way. If you want to do it anyway, go ahead, but they probably won't understand. I recognize not all of you said things like that, but those were the comments that stood out to me.

So, are we cool? If no, let me know what would make you feel better. I like you guys and gals, and I want things to be cool between us. I genuinely believe we are all equals. To those who I have offended: I am sorry :)

Gin1984

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Re: walking home from school no longer accepted by the community
« Reply #49 on: June 02, 2014, 02:20:42 PM »
OK, I won't defend this anymore. If people feel it is offensive, then it is. I don't intend to argue with anyone about their feelings. I explained why I thought it was harmless, but you are telling me it hurts people and I won't argue.

I'm still going to tell my jokes with my friends, but you won't hear or read any of this language from me, and I will try not to express support for language that people find offensive on this forum. Honestly, I did not know.

I have a request. If you want to make people like me aware of this, maybe try an approach more like this article written to Jon Stewart about his same use of the word in question: http://www.chicagonow.com/families-in-the-loop/2012/03/dear-jon-stewart-stop-using-the-word-pussy-thanks/

Telling people they are being misogynistic, demeaning to women, that willingness to use this language implies they have bad morals, or anything like that will probably just make them defensive, because people who have this sense of humor don't see it that way. If you want to do it anyway, go ahead, but they probably won't understand. I recognize not all of you said things like that, but those were the comments that stood out to me.

So, are we cool? If no, let me know what would make you feel better. I like you guys and gals, and I want things to be cool between us. I genuinely believe we are all equals. To those who I have offended: I am sorry :)
Here is the thing, women have been saying with a joke or gently or nicely for YEARS.  And over and over I heard from men the same thing I hear from you, "I did not know".  I'm done saying it nicely.  Maybe if I say it clearly "this behavior is sexist", I'll stop hearing "but I did not know".  It will probably upset them, but I'd rather them be upset and aware then able to ignore it.  I can't ignore it because I don't want to hope my daughter is "one of the lucky ones" and not raped because as one of the lucky ones, I still have pages and pages of stories of crap I have gone through.  Before she was born I may have been more understand but frankly, I'm done being understanding.  I'm talking to adults and they can learn to deal so 10-12 year old girls don't have to.  By us saying this, and everyone being clear, it at least means you won't say it here.  That means one less post in which rapists get support but you still say "I'm going to do it".  Just because you don't understand WHY it is a problem does not mean it is not.  I appreciate that you won't do it here, but just knowing you will do it makes me worried.  That man who shot people in Santa Barbara, California surrounded himself with people who said things.  We don't know that he would not have shot people if he had not been exposed to this, but we do know that being exposed created his MO.  http://jezebel.com/lessons-from-a-day-spent-with-the-ucsb-shooters-awful-f-1582884301/+morninggloria  This is an article about those people and what they said.  What you say DOES have a major impact on the culture and what behaviors we find acceptable in this culture.  So, no we are not cool, though I appreciate part of what you have done.  Because I can't be.