A Crisis in Modern Parenting and the Culture Wars Against Difference

Two very different but interlinked analysis of the highly publicized incident of a public school bus monitor, Karen Klein, being taunted and mocked by students on the bus:

Charles Blow in the NYTimes:

This kind of behavior is not isolated to children and school buses and suburban communities. It stretches to the upper reaches of society — our politics and our pulpits and our public squares.Whether it is a Republican debate audience booing a gay soldier or Rush Limbaugh’s vicious attack on a female Georgetown law student or Newt Gingrich’s salvos at the poor, bullying has become boilerplate. Hiss and taunt. Tease and intimidate. Target your enemies and torture them mercilessly. Maintain primacy through predation.Traditionally inferior identity roles are registered in a variety of ways. For Klein, she was elderly and female and not thin or rich. For others, it is skin color, country of origin, object of affection or some other accident of birth.The country is changing, and that change is creating friction: between the traditional ruling classes and emerging ones; between traditional social structures and altered ones; between a long-held vision of an American ideal and growing reality that its time has passed.And that change is coming with an unrelenting swiftness.

via Bullies on the Bus – NYTimes.com.

In an article in the Washington Post on the same video, Janice D’Arcy questions modern parenting attitudes and whether children need to be reined in more:

It just so happens that the New Yorker’s latest issue has an eye-opening piece by Elizabeth Kolbert called “Spoiled Rotten: Why do kids rule the roost?”
In the article, Kolbert examines several new books that look at different sides of an increasingly obvious trend — that we are spoiling our kids like never before.
From a study by anthropologists that revealed a lack of discipline in the modern American home to new examinations of how college graduates are returning home in droves, Kolbert’s piece becomes an indictment of our parenting culture.

via Are we raising a nation of spoiled brats? – On Parenting – The Washington Post.

The fact of the matter is that both Blow and D’Arcy are right: there IS  a crisis in modern parenting and there IS a culture war where the majority/minority dynamic has shifted dramatically. If the recent Pew Research Study on Asian American births is any indication, minority groups have for the first time reached a tipping point and the balance is surely reconfiguring everything from politics to education to entire communities. Blow cites the following statistics from the Census Bureau to further prove his point:


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