Generalizing Abstract Concepts of (In)justice and (In)equity

Elk meatPrejudice and discrimination have been a topic of conversation for my older daughter and me for about two years.  It started with the advent of wall building, carrying on through all types of topics that almost always include the words prejudice and discrimination.  I’m happy to say that there is clear evidence that she has learned to incorporate these abstract concepts into her everyday routine.  However, of late she has taken it a little too far for her mother to tolerate.

Yesterday afternoon the children and I cooked up some ground elk my neighbor shared with us.  Nearly seven years in Colorado and we had never had elk!  How sad.  Needless to say, our joy was not shared by my wife. She wouldn’t even consider giving it a taste.  And my daughter would not stand for it.

“Mom, you’re being prejudiced!” my daughter said in pure anger.

“How do YOUUUUU know you won’t like it?!  You can’t just say you don’t like something if you don’t try it,” she continued.

This is my child who is repulsed by poultry, egg yolk and cheese (unless it’s on pizza).  She refuses to try anything that doesn’t resemble red meat, grains, milk, fruit and most vegetables.  And here she is, calling out her mother for refusing food.

“Mom, you’re being prejudice and you’re discriminating against elk.  It’s actually better for our environment to eat elk rather than cows, pigs and chicken!”

I was standing by and began to chuckled, as did my wife.

Then I interrupted.  “Very true, mommy is being prejudiced and discriminating, but I think it’s not causing the elk to be marginalized.”

“Well, ya!” My daughter replied.  “but it’s still not OK to be prejudice and discriminate.”

Then, today, as I was working my daughter came running to me yelling.

“Daddy, mom’s prejudice against mice!  She thinks EVERY mouse is disgusting!  But she doesn’t know every mouse.  Mice are all different.  There might be a really nice mouse and mommy won’t even try to get to know it because she prejudiced and discriminates against them!”

“Yep.  I responded.”

Then my wife came in.

“Stop talking about mice.  I’m prejudiced! OK! I will never like one of those disgusting creatures.  They’re dirty and ugly!”

My daughter rolled her eyes and walked away.

On one hand, I hate to see my family members disgruntled with one another.  On the other hand, if it is part of practicing fights for more meaningful justices later in life…Have at it!  At this age, it’s great to see her begin to connect not only the abstract concepts required for academic skills, but also those required for understanding the complexity messages she receives related to social (in)justice and (in)equity in her world…regardless of it’s pecking order in the food chain.