While this blog is not a place for political issues, I felt like I just have to talk about this one. Katie Rich, a writer for Saturday Night Live, posted a joke about Donald Trump’s ten year old son, Barron. The joke proclaimed that he will be America’s first homeschool shooter, probably playing on the fact that he appears to be very sheltered. The factual accuracy enthusiasts have pointed out that he is not even homeschooled. But what bothered people most was that she was making fun of a ten year old. Being younger than the age of eighteen means he is still a child by American standards. And given the “right” situation, we all know how referring to a minor unsolicited can be the ultimate berserk button for most people. And there is an important reason why I quoted “right.” It is because the protection of being younger than the age of eighteen isn’t always a protection from bullying, harassment, or even infringement of rights.
A lot of people have good points.
“Children of politicians and other famous people are off limits. People don’t choose their parents, after all.”
“Hating a child’s parent isn’t a justification for bullying that child.”
But I realized that, for some weird reason, the general public seems to have some intense desire to protect this particular kid. To be honest, he doesn’t even look like a kid that much. He is ten, but he can almost pass off as sixteen. At this point, he must be at least 5’8 or 5’9, which is crazy tall for a ten year old. I am not saying any of this as an insult. Anyway, the amount of protection he gets is from all points on the spectrum, from those who love his dad to those who hate him, is immense. If every single child below the age of eighteen was unconditionally respected and protected, that would be totally fine. It would be awesome. I myself felt that I benefitted from this protection when I was a minor, and am so thankful for it. But unfortunately, there are many kids in the United States who are publicly ridiculed. Unlike myself or our little friend Barron, they have virtually no one protecting them from the mockery they face in their most vulnerable years.
Does the show “Toddlers and Tiaras” ring a bell? It is a show about young children who are often forced by their histrionic mothers into these tawdry beauty pageants. Most of the children are below the age of ten, with many of them in their toddler years. The vast majority are girls, and they have to cake their faces in makeup. In at least one episode, a child was taken by her mother to get botox.
Aside from the cosmetic procedures, the children are essentially ridiculed for their “bad behavior”. A young four year old girl throws a tantrum not because her mom wants her to go to bed or go to grandma’s house, but because her mom is forcing her to apply makeup and perform at a pageant. Then she is filmed and laughed at on the show, for all the world to insult her and laugh along. Did any of these children choose their parents? No. Do any of these children inherently deserve negative treatment for having terrible parents? No. Then why is it totally ok to not stand up for these kids, let alone make fun of them?
America seriously needs to wake up. Our people go crazy over a mild joke directed at a preteen probably because he happens to be the first son. But at the same time we have children being bullied, sometimes on reality tv or on youtube, but nobody cares about their well being.
Katie Rich shouldn’t have been fired. Maybe it was wrong for her to break the American code of satirizing a minor. But in a country that will easily violate that same code of honor to a much worse extent, the punishment was a lot more than just harsh.