Monday, July 22, 2013

The Hegemony of Niceness...

Is a phenomenon I've just discovered thanks to  Janet Gonzalez-Mena, Luis Hernandez, and Debra Sullivan, who have authored Learning from the Bumps in the Road.  They write about how niceness can be a cover for conflict-avoidance, for going along to get along, and pretending to be just fine when things are actually a bit shit.
"For us in ECE, it can mean that the pressure to be nice is so dominant that if anyone speaks up, speaks out without prettifying her words, especially if she confronts someone, is cruising for a bruising.  'Make nice' means 'don't rock the boat.'  Sure, some aspects of making nice are worthy, like being kind, accepting, forgiving, and upbeat.  Those other aspects, like inauthenticity and sugarcoating?  Not so much..."

The desire to affirm and nurture 'professional relationships' often trumps the deeper need for the tough love of confronting misdeeds and injustice.  Niceness frees us from facing the tough things: confrontation is a bugger.  We all know that smiling and being nurturing, selfless, and supportive help us fit in, but there is just so much bullshit in ECE... 

Crap team-leaders (consult? discuss? listen? eh?), lazy uninspiring teachers, degree-qualified adults who think their mother is around to clean up after them, jaw-dropping conservatism that leaves me wondering if they can feel empathy, personal discourses that are really fucking suspect, employers who knowingly exploit your passion for children and love telling you about how progressive they are...

So much fucking tip-toeing I feel like a ballet dancer.

Honest, constructive, productive - yet respectful - ANGER can be a good thing.


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