[This text was originally published in AREA Chicago #14 in April 2014]
I recently had an argument with my English teacher because she calls us “kids.” I told her that I didn’t like her calling me a “kid” because it means baby goat—I AM NOT AN ANIMAL—and that’s what kid means. She didn’t stop calling us kids though and instead told us we are “naïve and stupid.” Just because we are not adults doesn’t make us stupid. Adults like that just make adults look bad and pushes students away.
Just like any other ism, ADULTISM IS REAL PEOPLE! I first heard of the word during my first week of the Chicago Freedom School’s Summer Leadership Institute. Even though the first time I heard of it was this past summer, adultism is something I have been experiencing my whole life! When I heard of the word, I immediately thought of the power and control an adult has over youth. I learned that adultism is the oppression of young people by adults usually based on the assumption that adults deserve more rights than young people and can tell children/youth/students what to do. In our culture adults have more power and use that to oppress us, instead of being our allies.
To learn more about the Chicago Freedom School or the Freedom Fellowship and their trainings and workshops, visit www.chicagofreedomschool.org.