City mouse, country mouse

When it comes to race, religion, color and creed, our kids are fairly open-minded.

They are nonjudgemental. I’d hazard to say that they are “colorblind,” concerning race and ethnicity.

(Let’s hope they retain these views.)

Now that I’ve logged these niceties, I must add the following:

The kids are not without bias. They discriminate against a group of people.

Who’s caught in their crosshairs? Whom do they stereotype? Whom do they disparage?

City folk.

You people who deign to dwell in a townhouse.

Even you guys who own a quarter-acre in the suburbs.

You’re guilty as well.

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Martin and I first learned of this disparity last year, while we were all staying in a hotel in Washington, DC. It was an unusually warm December day, and kids of all ages were careening down a steep, grassy hill that adjoined the hotel courtyard.

Cayden led the charge down the slope and when he reached the bottom, he shouted to his sister: “Hey, Hadley!  DON’T KNOCK OVER THE CITY KIDS! They don’t know how to FALL like farm kids, and their parents will FREAK out!”

Okay! Got it!” Hadley shouted in response, suspiciously eyeing the kids beside her.

Martin and I exchanged looks. And we slouched down in our seats.

Just like that, a stereotype was born. City kids versus country kids. And our children continue to feed it, vocalizing apparent inadequacies of urban dwelling individuals.

In case you’re keeping track, urbanites are fragile, weak, easily injured and incapable of handling stressful situations. 

Last summer — after I encountered a deer with my car — I told the kids about the accident. And I mentioned that another driver was equally unlucky: she also struck the same deer with her car, and was unhinged by the event.

Hadley nodded at me knowingly. “That other driver,” she said. “Was she…you know… city folk?”

 

The irony of all of this? Our kids aren’t as country as they think. We don’t own a working farm. Our kids can’t drive a tractor or milk a cow. Their agriculture roots are thin.

Still, they are loyal to rural life.

A few weeks ago, I had to run some errands in downtown DC, and Cayden and Hadley tagged along. We’d barely crossed a street before it became clear that the kids were out of their element. I shepherded them between traffic and yelled as they strayed outside the crosswalk.

“Jeez!” I said, grabbing their collars. “You country kids can barely cross the street! You wouldn’t survive a day in the city!”

“Huh,” Cayden snorted. “Who would want to?”

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