At my son’s school, the term “gay” is bandied about a lotbut not to tease someone for their sexual orientation. As I understand it, the term has evolved into an expression of disdain . . . a synonym for stupidity.
In other words, if you express a dumb idea, your friend will respond with “that’s gay.”
Clearly there’s a derogatory undertoneand the roots of its usage lie in our cultural attitudes about homosexuality.
But my impression is that most kids are oblivious to thator thoughtless about how a gay student might react to the term. Students use it because everyone else is doing so.
Kids are rather oblivious creatures.
Now, in a perfect world, local educators will slap down such expressionsin a thoughtful, professional manner. One would hope they would see a student’s remark as an opportunity for a “learning moment,” a time to discuss the nuance and subtlety of prejudices and the power of words to hurt.
That would be ideal. Although, if you live in Great Britain, there’s a chance you’ll simply be branded a bigoteven if you’re a four-year-old preschooler.
At least, that’s the impression I gathered from a Daily News headline from London: “30,000 pupils branded as bigots: Teachers log racist’ and homophobic’ jibes in playground squabbles, even at nursery.”