Prejudgments Begin Young
In the memoir “Words of My Youth,” the author Joe Mackall recounts a moment in his life as he retells the events he experienced while growing up in the suburbs. Mackall wants the readers to know that there are always repercussions in life for choices that are made. Young children often make disheartening choices in life that they may have no reason for doing and they may not realize the effects of their own actions. If you are unaware that you are doing something wrong, ignorance should not be used as an excuse and one day you will have to face the consequences of your own actions. If adults don’t think their children will pick up on the prejudices they say then they are wrong. While Mackall and his friend played Wiffle ball, Mackall notices a “kid-man” as he calls him smoking across the street. Mackall recalled seeing him before. Mackall ends up getting punched in the face for a slur he said about the kid-man’s girlfriend. “My girlfriend’s not a dyke,”(59) the kid-man says. In the first memoir, Mackall prejudges the kid-man first when he observes him smoking a cigarette. Mackall in his mind is thinking this is not a good sign. Somewhere most likely at his house Mackall has learned that someone that smokes is bad. It could have been his parents telling him that smokers are bad people. His parents could have said to him that they didn’t want Joe to hang out with smokers because they have a bad reputation. Mackall reveals that it’s true, he did call the kid-man’s girlfriend a dyke. However he has no idea what the word means or how it’s used in context. The consequences for him calling the girl a “dyke” (59) were brutal for a boy. It’s a shame that he picked up this word at such a young age. Parents need to realize that children pick up offensive words and since they sound different, interesting or cool the children will repeat them until they get in trouble and have to pay the consequences. It’s a shame that his ignorance of not...
Cited: Mackall, Joe. “Words of My Youth.” Writing Today. Richard Johnson-Sheehan and Charles Paine. 2nd ed.
Boston: Pearson 2010. 59-60.
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