Friday, March 27, 2009

What happened to having a childhood?

Remember the days of Chinese Skip, Run-down and Lick, Ring games and telling your age in fractions because you just really wanted to grow up. For those of us now grown childhood evokes fond memories of things that we can no longer do as adults of innocence and wide-eyed exploration which adults cannot posses. Childhood was also a time when we longed to occupy adult spaces. Staying up late, drinking wine, smoking and being able to dance all night if we wanted to, were all the things we wished to do. What is childhood anyway? Childhood as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary is the first period of substantive intellectual, social and emotional development in humans; a period characterized by dependency (for survival) on a greater power or authority; generally entailing an inability to comprehend issues and realities beyond immediate experience.

Dancehall music and culture is no doubt very influential and to the undeveloped mind that cannot truly differentiate what is real and what is fiction, what are good values to posses and what is only appropriate for only a certain space. In this theatre of the Dancehall culture in which more is never enough. Everyone is over sexed, over-high and overly violent. If this is the mother’s milk that feeds the coming generations in an unchecked manner then the present social problems of a exponentially high crime rate, teen pregnancy and a mass of unsupervised, uncared for, unwanted children will only continue.

It is easy to lay the blame and point fingers. All one has to do is point and say “its your fault”. That solves the problem and the pointer is satisfied that there is no longer a problem. As a society we have been doing this for much too long. Unfortunately our problems fester and manifest in eventually more ugly forms. As a society we have failed preceding generations of children, each more than the other. We always seem to find superficial things to blame such as Dancehall or the Media. We say the music is slack, homophobic, ignorant, and violent, never questioning how much of the content is a reflection of the society. We are very quick to dismiss the people who inhabit this space as the dregs of society, base humans and we see no harm when the police exterminate a few.

There is no place for innocence in the dancehall. There is no place for children nor is it a space for anyone to use as a means of primary socialization. This is a scared space to those who maturely occupy it. To be honest children are unable to comprehend actions and innuendos that inhabit the space, obviously they will misunderstand and it is in this misunderstanding where they become scared for life. It’s not hard to miss really little girls acting overly sexual some not caring about STD/STI’s. It is even sadder when you see how many young men get lost along the way, all wanting to fit the dominant male archetype in the dance, the ‘Don’ or the ‘Entertainer’. Usually typified by how many females he possess and where: “Move yu draws and sidung.” Is considered both romance and foreplay. Personally I am jus tired of seeing children force ripe or other wise in the dance hall and other adult events. I am also tired of the adults who encourage their presence, especially the women who allow themselves to be mounted by young boys as a novelty act. Wonder why no one else see them as paedophiles?

It would be stupid to think that systems were perfect in the past. However they ALL weren’t dysfunctional. So for example, if a child came from a bad home, then there was the school, various clubs, the wider community and even the church acted as surrogates. In essence acceptable socialization agents worked. They didn’t need to go above and beyond their respective roles, some did, and all they had to do was what they were supposed to do. One gets the feeling that everyone else is supposed to be a parent but the actual parents.

Now it feels like nothing works. And as a result the last thing that seems to have some sort of order, some relevance, some function. Is the Dancehall culture! Go fig?

1 American Heritage Dictionary. Fourth Edition. 2000.
© Copyright 2006 Education for Peace International. All rights reserved. 10:53 29/04/08

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  1. you going have to teach me the Chinese skip, I never played that one, and i wasnt good in maths, so the fractions ting never work for me...
    all in all, another excellent-reality-jarring-eye-opening blog. I hope people read this one especially if them don't read your other blogs.

    There are so many factors that contribute to a lost childhood, but for me, the #1 and the biggest factor I believe is the major cause is bad parenting. Certain people just shouldn't have any and I think they need to start certifying people to have children now, seriously.

  2. That woman should be ashamed of herself!
    I really don't know why these kids wanna grow up so fast, I had such a fun childhood. We thought boys were "gross," and anything adult was boring. Now I can't even decipher between child and adult to rass. Pardon my language, but a di truth!
    Great blog!