ANT322 MILLER CHAPTER 2 REACTING TOAUTHORITY: YOUTH REBELLION
- Jim Stark: a young rebel, portrayed by James Dean in Rebel without a Cause. Became
an icon for 1950s-era discontentment.Actually was a conformist, wanting nothing more than
to be accepted.
- Whether or not “acting against your parents’ wishes” is truly rebellion. Rebellion
implies a cause or a purpose. Looking like a rebel vs acting like a rebel.
Mark Twain /Advice to Youth
- American prose writer. Began his writing career at 16. Adventures of Huckleberry
Finn. Used his writing to critique his society.
- Always obey your parents when they are present. Be respectful to your superiors. Do
not resort to extreme measures. Always avoid violence; leave dynamite to the low and
unrefined. Go to bed early, get up early. Be very careful about lying. Patience, diligence,
painstaking attention to detail will make the student perfect; upon these may he rely as the
sure foundation for future eminence. “Truth is mighty and will prevail.”
- Never handle firearms carelessly.
- Good books are the sort for the young to read. They are a great, an inestimable, an
unspeakable means of improvement. (suggests: Robertson’s Sermons, Baxter’s Saint’s Rest,
The Innocent Abroad)
Maya Angelou / Mary
- Widely recognized for her poetry, memoirs and plays, and is also an acclaimed
actress. Birth name: Marguerite Johnson. The following essay comes from the first volume
of her five-volume autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The important
information in this section is that she had been raped by her mother’s friend, Mr. Freeman.
- While white girls learned to waltz and sit gracefully with a tea cup balanced on their
knees, we were lagging behind, learning the mid-Victorian values with very little money to
- Mrs. Viola Cullinan came from a wealthy family in Virginia. Miss Glory was a
descendant of slaves that had worked for the Cullinans. Mrs. Cullinan had married to a
husband beneath her station. She could not have children, but Mr. Cullinan had two
daughters by a colored lady. Marguerite pitied her. She was renamed as Mary by Mrs.
Cullinan just for her convenience. To quit the job, Marguerite intentionally broke Mrs.
Cullinan’s favorite plates.
Michael Moore / Idiot Nation
- Documentary filmmaker. Roger and Me: attempt to interview the president of
General Motors. Opposed to the Bush administration’s declaration of war against Iraq.
Stupid White Men: empowering the poor and overlooked members of society by exposing
the hypocrisy and lack of compassion exhibited by the rich and powerful.
- Dropped out of college because he could not find a parking space in the campus. In elementary school, Sister John Catherine decided to skip him up to second grade, but his
parents disagreed with the idea. He wrote an underground school paper in fourth, sixth and
eighth grade, all were shut down.
- Thought of high school as repression and restriction. As voting age was lowered to
18, he ran for a school board president election, and won the spot.
- “All people are actually good at their core.” “I want the people who have the direct
attention of my child more hours a day than I do (the teachers) treated with tender loving
- Educational professionals receive an average of $41,351 and a congressman receives
$145,100 annually. → Few choose the profession. Leading to teacher shortage. 163 New
York City schools opened the 2000-2001 school year without a principal. The whole
Educational system being handled very poor: financial and safety issues, libraries closing
down. Jonathan Kozol: “school libraries remain the clearest window to a world of
noncommercial satisfactions and enticements that most children in poor neighborhoods will
ever know.” Julie Walker: “the ability to conduct research is probably the most essential
skill students can have. The knowledge acquired in school is not going to serve them
throughout their lifetimes. Many of them will have four to five careers in a lifetime. It will
be their ability to navigate information that will matter.”
- Richard Nixon is to blame for the decline in libraries; federal education money to be
spent by states however they chose. Irony: the very politicians who refuse to fund education
adequately are the same ones who go ballistic over how our kids have fallen behind other
- Obsession on testing and raising scores.
- Corporate America: interest in millions of young people or in the billions of dollars
they spend each year ($150 billion). Sponsoring books and events featuring brand names
etc., and making students/parents to buy their products in return for school equipment or
other physical rewards. [soft drink companies, oil and car companies, network companies
- Mike Cameron being suspended for wearing Pepsi shirt on Coke Day; “being
disruptive and trying to destroy the school picture.”
- Kids learn to submerge any personal expression and learn that it’s better to go along
so that you get along.
- Learn the laws and rights. Mock the vote/elections. Start a school club. Launch your
own newspaper/webzine. Get involved in the community.
Judith Rich Harris / “Nurture” Is Not the Same as “Environment”
- A college textbook editor in the field of developmental psychology. The Nurture
Assumption: do young people rebel as a way of defying their parents’ wishes, to assert their
individuality, or to fit in with their peer group?
- Heredity and environment: yin and yang; theAdam and Eve; the mom and pop of pop
psychology. → “nature and nurture”: made us what we are today and will determine what
our children will be tomorrow. - 1988 Wired: Parents will be able to shop for their children’s genes easily in the future.
“It would give them a real power over the sort of people their children will turn out to be.
But parents have that power already, to a larger degree.” → Because they provide the
environment; the nurture.
- Is “nurture” a synonym for “environment?”
- Nurture: to take care of / to rear (from Latin root that gave us nourish and nurse; in
the sense of ‘breast feed’). The nurture assumption: what influences the children’s
development, apart from their genes, is the way their parents bring them up. [Harris
disagrees with this assumption, and tries to give an alternative theory.]
- Susan Forward: describes the devastating and long-lasting effects of “toxic parents”
who undermine their children’s self-esteem and autonomy or give them too much autonomy
too soon. Hilary Clinton: summarized some of the findings from carefully designed studies
carried out by developmental psychologists. → Professors, pediatricians and advice-givers
depend on these researches based on the nurture assumption. The studies have an influence
that ripples outward and permeates our culture. However, the evidences do not actually
support the assumption; they in fact stand against it.
- Francis Galton & Sigmund Freud: “nature and nurture” & the nurture assumption.
Freud: Two parents of opposite sexes cause untold anguish in the young child, simply by
being there. The anguish is unavoidable and universal; even the most conscientious parents
cannot prevent it, though they can easily make it worse.
- Dr. Spock: Parents can help children through this romantic but jealous stage by
gently keeping it clear that the parents do belong to each other, that a boy can’t ever have his
mother to himself or a girl have a father to herself.
- Behaviorism, a school of psychology, rejected almost everything in Freud’s
philosophy: the sex and the violence, the id and the superego, even the conscious mind
itself. They accepted they basic premise of Freudian theory: that what happens in early
childhood is crucial.
- John B. Watson (behaviorist): noticed that real-life parents aren’t very systematic in
the way they condition their children’s responses and offered to demonstrate how to do the
job properly. He claimed that he could raise each child to become a specific specialist, but
failed to prove it. To keep your children from being spoiled and to make them fearless and
self-reliant, leave them alone and avoid showing them affection.
- B. F. Skinner (behaviorist): talked about reinforcing responses rather than
conditioning them. His method could create new responses, by reinforcing (with rewards)
closer and closer approximations to the desired behavior. Negative aftereffects: there is a
possible way to eliminate them, but the results are unpredictable because they depend on
subtle variations in the nature and timing of the reward and on the personality of the reward
- Genius: 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. Behaviorism focuses on the
perspiration and forgets about the inspiration. Tom Sawyer: better than Skinner. He not only
got people to do the work, he got them to like it.
- Before Freud and Behaviorism, developmentalists did not pay much attention to
parents. Florence Goodenough’s Developmental Psychology: in the discussion of the causes of juvenile delinquency, she talks about the effects of a bad environment, but is not
referring to parental effects. Winthrop and Luella Kellogg: used the word environment to
distinguish “a civilized environment” or “a human environment.” Arnold Gesell: the most
influential of the early developmentalists. Parents were a taken-for-granted part of the
child’s environment, anonymous and interchangeable.
- Later, started to trace the differences among the children to differences in the way
their parents reared them. It was designed to test how rewards and punishments dispensed by
parents affect their child’s personality. Eleanor Maccoby: concluded that few connections
were found between parental child-rearing practices and independent assessments of
children’s personality characteristics.
- The goal for later generations of researchers was not to find out whether parents
influence their children’s development but to discover how they influence it, hoping to find a
relationship between the parents’ behavior and the children’s characteristics that is
“statistically significant.”→ Socialization researchers.
- Socialization: the process by which a wild baby is turned into a domesticated
creature, ready to take its place in the society in which it was reared. This is something that
parents do to children, according to nurture assumption.
- Selma Fraiberg: a child psychologist; accepted the Freudian story of socialization.
The fact is that children cannot learn how to behave by imitating their parents because most
of the things they see their parents doing are prohibited to children.
- Against the nurture assumption: The child of immigrant parents does not learn the
local language and customs from her parents, the son of wealthy British parent sees his
parents too rarely to make such theory plausible, and children in many different cultures are
likely to get into trouble if they behave too much like their parents. And yet, all these
children somehow do learn to behave the way their society expects them to.
- The nurture assumption: only based on a typical middle-class North American or
European family. Socialization researchers do not look at families from other societies. The
socialization researchers believe that what children learn in early years determines the entire
course of their lives. Harris believes that this early learning does not set the pattern for what
is to follow. Although the learning itself serves a purpose, the content of what children learn
may be irrelevant to the world outside their home.
Judith Ortiz Cofer / Volar; Maria Elena; Exile
- Has written poetry, fiction and essays. She settled in Georgia, where she writes and
teaches at the University of Georgia. Her work is difficult to categorize.
- Volar: Dreaming about being a superwoman, being able to fly and having x-ray vision
to look into neighbors’house; mother wanting to go visit her family, but the cost is too high;
“oh if I could only fly.”
- Maria Elena: Mother waiting for her to come home late night by the window,
witnesses her daughter having an intimate time with a boy on the sidewalk; when she comes
home, mother calmly tries to explain that what she has done is immoral, but daughter rebels;
daughter claims that modern women have freedom to do whatever they want with their own
bodies; mother gives her a choice either to move out or listen to parents’ moral advice, even
though it is not her true intention. “I will remember that night as the beginning of the end of the worst year in the history of parents and children: 1968, the year of our revolution.”
- Exile (Poem): leaving the past behind, dreaming about an ideal future.
Johnny Rotten / I Want You to Know That I Hate You, Baby
- John Lydon. The lead singer of the British band The Sex Pistols, who are considered
the foundation of the rock music revolution known as punk. In an era where rock had
become dominated by lengthy guitar solos or had mutated into orchestrated dance music,
puck arrived on the scene with raw lyrics, distortion, and straightforward chords.
- Looking like a rebel and acting like a rebel
- Things happen because you make them happen. There is no such thing as destiny or
- The skinhead movement; becoming a fashion; when it was rejuvenated in the
seventies, it w