I Hate “Kids”
No, I don’t hate children, young people, babies, infants, toddlers, adolescents, teenagers, or youth. I hate the universal use of the word “kid” or its plural to denote any and all of the categories of juvenile human beings.
The word “kid” has its uses, certainly. It can be a friendly word, a loving word–in certain contexts. It does not, however, belong in every context.
Words have connotations, subtle nuances of meaning that color the denotation of the word. When writers begin to use certain words as if one size fits all, meanings become distorted and underlying facts are distorted.
The word “kid” has so many connotations that it is rarely the best choice in the context of news reporting.
In addition to conveying youthfulness, the word “kid” has connotations of irresponsibility, poor judgment, innocence, and mischievousness. Adult behavior is not expected of “kids.” “ Kids will be kids”. “Kids” are not to be taken seriously. Whatever “kids” do should be forgiven, because, after all, they’re “just kids.” And since “kids” are not adults, what they do doesn’t matter quite as much.
These connotations become problematic in a news story that reports misbehaving juveniles who vandalize stores and cemeteries and beat homeless people to death. By calling these young criminals “kids,” the reporter is unconsciously asking the reader to make allowances for their behavior. News writers need to think twice before referring to accused rapists as “kids.”
I am probably beating a dead horse. A new medical facility is under construction in my area. It’s going to be called the “Kids’ Clinic.” I’m just waiting for the day when I go to an art museum and see a portrait of the Blessed Virgin and Baby Jesus labeled “Mother and Kid.”
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