Cry the Beloved Country

While subbing today at the city’s notorious southeast-side middle school, I noticed one thing during a geography class viewing of a movie about South Africa and apartheid during the 1980s: The kids were talking and laughing and not paying the slightest attention during the parts where the characters were laughing and having fun. But when conflict came on the screen (a loud argument between two girls), the room suddenly got very quiet and everyone watched in rapt attention. Shortly thereafter, when one girl was crying and being consoled by another character, they laughed at her and called her a crybaby and then resumed their chatter.

Like it or not, our society is in enthrall to violence and conflict. Kinder and gentler is an unattainable myth. It’s all downhill from here. Especially since these kids will be added to the ranks of Ann Arbor’s homicidal drivers in just two years.