Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Totally Unacceptable

Yannick came home today and mentioned that his assistant camp counselor encouraged his camp group to be “gangsta” in delivering a mini-performance. Before my head exploded, I attempted to calmly ask Yannick to clarify and as his 7 year-old radar promptly noted the edge in my tone, he hastily assured me she meant “cool gangsta,” not “ghetto gangsta.” Whatever!

I dismissed his protests as he feebly tried to clean-up this young lady’s rallying call to her young, impressionable charges and let him know that in no uncertain terms was he to aspire to be “gangsta” and sat him down for a two minute monologue detailing the negative attributes associated with the “gangsta” stereotypes. I told him being “gangsta” wasn’t cool… cute… or acceptable.

I’m confident he got my message, but just in case, I followed up my discussion with Yannick with a telephone call to the camp’s director. Fortunately, she answered her phone immediately and after identifying myself, I relayed my “gangsta” exchange with Yannick and explained how I found the young lady’s comment unacceptable. The camp director asked for more details and wanted to know the context in which the comment was made. I told her exactly what Yannick said, but stressed that whatever the context, I wasn’t sending my kids to their program to have “gangsta” lauded as a plausible attribute. She promised to look into it further and would speak to her counselors.

O.K.. let’s see where this goes but her measured response has me a bit concerned. Sure, I can’t shield my kids from everything, and yes, I know that during their time at Freedom Theatre, they’re interacting with a very diverse group of people (this is partly what attracted me to the program), and while I expect to spend some amount of time deprogramming my kids from what they’re exposed to by their fellow campers, I didn’t expect to have to be so vigilant when it comes to the camp counselors.

Let’s do better people!


QueenGeek said...

Amen!!! Just because "gangsta" is popular doesn't mean we want to further perpetuate the negative stereotype to our kids.

Lisa Blah Blah said...

Maybe I should send Viva over there so she can learn some moves! LOL!