Saturday, 20 July 2013

The Hopkins Trend

When Katie Hopkins appeared on the This Morning programme and announced, “I do judge children by their names ... For me, a name is a shortcut of finding out what class that child comes from,” there was a nationwide gasp of disbelief that could be heard way beyond the confines of daytime television.

Hopkins went on to say, “I tend to think that children who have intelligent names tend to have fairly intelligent parents and they make much better playdates for my children.” But hang on, let’s not forget these are statements made by the Queen of Conflict. You know, the woman who declared she wouldn't employ fat people “because they look lazy.”

Was I shocked to hear the shallow tactic she employs for selecting appropriate friends for her children? No, not really. Disappointed maybe, but not shocked. Why? Because there are plenty of parents who  spend an inordinate amount of time engineering what they perceive to be the ideal social mix for their offspring. Recently, I heard of a mother whose son has been strongly encouraged to divorce himself from his slightly younger pals because it’s time for him to ‘man up’ and make older friends. Ideally, those boys who have attained a level of maturity that belies their years – we’re talking primary school here.

The insidious process began with separating him in the playground ‘line up’ ahead of his school day. It reached a new and defining mark when the boy’s younger friends were excluded from his birthday bash. Several of the discarded number were reduced to tears. Hardly surprising, given that a bond formed at pre-school had now been torn up on a parental whim.

I’d prefer to think that the mum in question is naïve, ill-advised, or perhaps a little of both. However, all the signs are to the contrary, and the unpleasant shadow of the pushy parent seems to be in danger of morphing into something far more sinister than devising ways and means of keeping a child ahead of the game.

19 comments:

  1. The next Lost Generation is imminent.

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  2. I have known lovely children with some of the names she listed and I have very dear friend in my own age group called Sharon, who is highly intelligent. As a teacher though I have been prevented from using my choice of names for my own offspring merely because of the association with a particular child.Hopkins didn't do herself any favours did she? I feel so sad for that little boy with the controlling parent too.

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    1. I sometimes wonder how people like Hopkins would survive in the real world, Nell.

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  3. Ah yes, the almighty mothers (mostly) that I have met along the way, that thought they had all the proper answers. So very sad, for the children involved.

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    1. I agree, Karen. The children often seem to get lost in all of this.

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  4. I watched her on that programme and thought she must have been joking ... but she wasn't. Oh dear.

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    1. Oh dear, indeed Fran! Makes my blood boil.

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  5. Eek! My parents always tried to steer me away from my friends - with little success, which is usually the case ;)

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    1. I know what you mean, Gabrielle. Parental guidance is vital, but kids are not entirely unable to make a 'call' themselves.

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  6. ps. but my parents based their judgements on behaviour rather than perceived class and things like that!

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  7. Does anybody take her serious? Many parents are control freaks, and very ambitious for their children. I think those parents must be quite unhappy with their own achievement.

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    1. Yes, Titania, I think parental low self-esteem has a lot to do with it.

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  8. Although I was forced by convention to give the Lad a real name, I have always referred to him as "thingy". I wonder what the good lady would make of that.

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    1. Alan, you would need bodyguards in her presence!

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  9. Alas, my mother engaged in that sort of social engineering way back in the Fifties -- moving me first from one school to another and then from one school homeroom to another to ensure I would meet the 'right' people. The way I turned out was still a disappointment to her.

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    1. That's interesting, Vicki. You'd hope that parents today, would benefit from more enlightened times. Sadly, it isn't so. More disappointment is inevitable, as a result.

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  10. I saw that clip on facebook - she got nervous when asked did she judge by second names, knowing well her opinions would be revealed for exactly what they were then, racist as well as classist, and bloody dangerous. Why was she on at all I wonder?

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    1. "Why was she on at all I wonder?" A question I asked, myself. Sad to say, I guess her provocative and controversial views make good television - at least, in terms of viewer numbers.

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