Maybe the reality that confronts me daily in the form of newly issued grey hairs is finally sinking in. Maybe I actually am out of touch. Maybe my intellect has not yet reached a level that would allow me to properly contextualize any form of entertainment popularized after 1987. Maybe I actually am an over-protective parent. Or, maybe there is a segment of society that cannot muster enough fore-sight/long term speculative reasoning ability to recognize a bad idea when they see one. This segment is known as the "clueless parent".
First, in the interest of full disclosure, it has been brought to my attention that my following opinion could be mis-interpreted as some sort of racial prejudice. So, to set the record straight...it is not. Please withhold judgement until the end of this piece.
Recently, my six year old daughter was in our living room when she decided to start dancing. This is not unusual because she has lots of energy and loves to dance. The problem was the particular dance she was doing. Cross between the ticks of someone who suffers from cerebral palsy and something I would commonly see on the dance floor of bars I used to frequent before I met my wife, this "dance" concerned me enough to ask my daughter what she was doing.
She explained that she was do the "tooty-ta" dance. After further inquiry, I learned that it was something she was taught in her first grade class, and it turned out to be a video that I was able to find on "You-Tube".
As a father, I am told that one of my duties is to protect my children from things that might harm them or things that might not be in their best interest. I am also told that my wife and I are responsible for whatever our children turn out to be as adults. On both points, I am in total agreement.
In the year 2011, the ever-growing list of things I need to protect my children from includes but is not limited to the following...bees, germs, snakes, pedophiles, sharp objects, traffic, drugs, pimps, prostitutes, stripper poles, and negative stereotypes disguised as cute, harmless little dances for children.
Call me crazy, but I have a bit of a problem with my kid being taught to emulate the mannerisms of people who refuse to wear clothes that fit properly, and can't seem to figure out which end of the hat is the front. Top that with comically large gold medallions and non-sensical lyrics and viola! A brand new gangsta rapper in training. Every parent's dream.
As for the racism angle, not so fast. My prejudice against rap music runs both deep and wide, and for many reasons to be written about in a future article. But this has nothing to do with skin color. It simply has to do with musical tastes. And for those who doubt my sincerity, I offer my CD collection as exhibit "A". It contains the following artists: Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Taj Mahal, Ray Charles, Bo Diddly, BB King, and a whole list of other black musicians who know how to make music with actual instruments, as opposed to electronic sampling programs.
As for "tooty ta", it has no apparent educational value for kids of any color.