This morning I was woken up, by two of my three children who choose to come into my bed. Annoying? Yes. It’s 5:00 in the morning. And even as I write this, they are happily snoring where I should be.
I grab my coffee, turn on my computer, only to read this:
It’s a poll initiated by this story on AOL Travel.
Yes, yes. We know how annoying kids are (you saw my intro). We can go back and forth with the “it’s not the kids, it’s the inconsiderate parents” or “I was in First Class once and there was a dad who thought everything his obnoxious 18-month old did was cute!”
I could share stories about the time I paid to travel first class for the leg room and got stuck next to a drunk business traveler, or the last time I took a flight from CA to NYC and didn’t sleep a wink because the two loud women in the seats behind me would not shut up the entire 6 hours we were on-board.
Maybe because I am a mother of three kids I can sympathize and relate to the emotions and mental state of a parent with an irritable child, anywhere…but that doesn’t help the growing argument on whether we should ban children and their parents from certain sections on planes.
So, I will just share instead what all this talk reminds me of.
It reminds me of a recent story I read on the failing fight of Saudi Arabian women trying to gain their rights to vote because their voice and opinions don’t matter (they are just women after all). Aw, but our country knows all about the “backwards thinking of those people” right? We have American experts and sociologists and human rights groups speaking about the segregation and discrimination of women in countries like these all the time. We have awarded documentaries and applauded the bravery of Saudi Arabian women who speak out against it. After all we have our own history of women’s suffrage to recount.
And it reminds me of the arguments made to justify the enactment of the Jim Crow laws and President Wilson’s introduction of segregation in Federal offices because he truly believed that racial segregation was in the best interest of black and white Americans.
It also reminds me of the fights I have seen grow and finally, in many ways, win in the LGBT communities. I remember the segregation of the community in media and in society when our country first started experiencing the destruction of the AIDS epidemic and with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and regarding adoption and marriage.
Oh. Wait. Not the same, you say?
We justify the argument of banning children from planes because they disrupt the comfort and experience which we pay, in many cases a lot of money, for. We justify this segregation and discrimination under the guise of entitlement to experiences and services we paid for. Matters little that parents pay for it too – they have children, and their children (and them) are not like those without and must be given less consideration, because children aren’t as considerate as the adults without them. Parents should also not have the right to speak out on these issues, because they often are the issue and thus should lack the power of opinion.
We claim that children, especially small children, have no place on planes. It’s irrational and selfish, inconsiderate and inhumane to have a small child travel like that. It makes us uncomfortable and it’s highly displeasing.
We argue that parents just don’t care, are rude, are ….well, you know.
And thus, if they must travel with their children (heavy, frustrated sigh), then they should go to the back. Like the blacks used to on the bus, like Saudi Arabian women should when walking with a male, like gays should in church.
Because, well, you didn’t pay for that. It’s not your fault that someone else chose to have a child, who is now keeping you from enjoying your Kindle time or First Class martini – Dammit!
We know, you like children. You have nothing against children. Some of your best friends have children.
It’s just that, they are a nuisance, and really, if we could just segregate them to a plane all their own, and maybe even set up a separate waiting station at the gate too, this way you have a place to put your laptop bag, instead of having to give your seat to a mom and her snotty kid. Oh. How about we apply this rule to restaurants too, parks, museums, grocery stores, and every where you go. Because really, who needs the trouble?
You just want to be able to go through life without having to tolerate the nuisance of women, no I mean, blacks, no, I mean, gays, no, I mean children! You pay good money, and deserve it. Until these people learn to control their children to behave as well as you, well, it’s what they should get.
But discriminatory segregation? No, yeah. You’re probably right. It doesn’t look, feel, or sound anything like that.
There’s been a lot of chatter over this post since I published it, and of course it was inevitable that I would be told I was “overreacting”, and also that this is not at all like segregation or discrimination, so in addition to my little history reminder, I wanted to include a definition of these words, so that we understand:
seg·re·ga·tion/ˌsegriˈgāSHən/ – The action or state of setting someone or something apart from other people or things or being set apart.
dis·crim·i·na·tion/disˌkriməˈnāSHən/ – The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, esp. on the grounds of race, age, or sex.