Oh surely, you say, she knew how not to get pregnant. Perhaps. Even likely. But I grew up in a home where such things were not discussed, not for religious or political reasons but for generational ones. I am forever grateful for the good sex education I received. Along with memorizing the symptoms of primary, secondary and tertiary syphilis, I had to learn all the then-available methods of contraception and their efficacy. And then I took a test. And that test was averaged in to my seventh grade health mark on my report card. Yes, in Texas.
But the rage? That is directed directly at her mother. Yes, I know that children act independently of their parents' wishes and expectations. I certainly did. But I detect more than a whiff of disingenuousness.
I know I just took a vow of political silence. So I will let the beautifully eloquent words of Karen Maezen Miller speak for me. I quote today's post from her blog, Cheerio Road, in its entirety and with her permission:
Seeing the soft bigotry of low expectations
With apologies to those who expected more or less of me.
There was once a supremely arrogant and idiotic man who mouthed this line of someone else's melodic prose – "the soft bigotry of low expectations" – to decry the educational imprisonment of the underprivileged. Nevermind that by his every action he condemned these underprivileged to further generations of poverty, invisibility, exploitation and pain.
Now I see what those words mean.
When you blithely send your firstborn to war and call it foreign relations.
When you leave your three-day-old at home and call it working motherhood.
When you don a dimestore tiara and call it a star.
When you adamantly oppose sex education in public schools and silence comment on your daughter's teenage pregnancy by calling it a private matter.
When you cynically manipulate the future of the world and call it a game.
When you ignore the rules of reason, experience, wisdom, truth, legitimacy, decency and public trust and call it a gamechanger.
I see what it means.
Call me a bigot. But do not expect me to take any more or make any less of this.
Thank you, Karen, for your wise and passionate words.
And, to that young woman in Alaska: I wish you well.