In the wake of the SAE fiasco that has monopolized local news for the last week, I would like to address a growing trend. We are stunting an entire generation by depriving them of privacy. In this age of cell phone pictures and videos, nothing is considered sacred anymore - and it's largely detrimental to our youth.
How do children learn and grow? They make mistakes, learn from them, and move forward. Without the ability to complete the process, there is no growth - no maturation. This SAE video is a perfect example of what our youth are facing every day. In the lunchroom, on the playground, at their friends' homes, even in the bathroom....no place is private and no place is sacred. This generation seems to value others' mistakes only for the wildfire they can promote on social media.
I know that every single person reading this, myself included, can think of dozens (or hundreds) of stupid things that you did in your youth that you are so glad you didn't have to see splashed across every cell phone and computer the following morning. Right?! We made mistakes. Lots of them. And we had to pay the piper for those mistakes. But we did it privately. And then, because the entire world wasn't involved and didn't have a judgement that was based on our lapse in behavior, we were afforded the opportunity to move on.
When a three year old is biting at day care, we don't videotape it and berate him in front of the nation. No - we contact all parties involved and get the kid some help. Notice I said "all parties involved." Those who need to know, should. And those who don't, shouldn't. The kid learns, and moves on.
We live in a society where college kids are still considered kids. And those boys acted like kids. They messed up - they messed up big. And they're going to have to deal with their issues (whether it truly be racism, or the combination of alcohol abuse and peer pressure). But it's not really any of my business. And it's not yours either.
One side note - I had to chuckle at the first news story when the president of the Black Student Union came on tv and said he had a problem with the chanting. Well, sure he did, but that's not why I got a kick out of it. See - do they have a White Student Union (or Asian, Native American, or Latino) on campus? I doubt it. Many years ago, when I was in college, I always found it a bit absurd that we had a Black Student Union. Weren't we all students, regardless of color? Why not just have one student union? Better yet - if I wanted to join their student union, could I? Is that not racism and discrimination in itself???
Back to the issue at hand - our children are growing up in a world where privacy is a thing of the past. We have to assume that every action and word is being videotaped, unless we are in our own homes, with people we trust. I'm sure that these boys thought that they were among friends. But clearly, someone on the bus was not. Has anyone thought about the person behind the camera? The one who was with the group, possibly even participating. He didn't do anything to try and stop it, but chose instead to videotape it and add fuel to the already-strained race relations plaguing our country.
Again, I'm not saying that what these boys did was right. I'm saying that, in addition to teaching our children morals and values, we need to teach them to value and respect privacy. These boys will be haunted by this for many years to come. It will affect everything - and all because they were not afforded the opportunity to pay their penance and move forward.
Stepping off the soapbox now.........