Today I was in a tutoring session with a 6th grader who I have always considered to be very mature for her age. She’s always aware of the latest current events and it seems her parents don’t try to censor the content she consumes online. Just last week we had a very in-depth conversation about George Floyd (she’s horrified and heartbroken) and Trump’s handling of the coronavirus (she’s disgusted).
As a teacher, I of course don’t play favorites, so needless to say she’s my favorite.
Anyway, given her maturity and general awareness of horrible shit in the world, I was surprised when, given an assignment to invite 4 famous people (past or present) to dinner and write the dialogue that would ensue, she immediately chose Michael Jackson as her first guest.
Me (treading lightly): “Oh. That’s, umm…an interesting choice.”
Kid: “Yeah I mean he’s a LEGEND. And a musical genius. I bet he’d have a LOT of interesting stuff to say. He’s like one of the most successful and best-selling artists ever!”
Me (realizing she is clearly unaware of the controversy surrounding him): “Well…I can’t really argue with that. So ok, Michael Jackson. Who else would you choose?”
Kid: “Barack Obama, Malala, Greta Thunberg, and Martin Luther King Jr.”
Me: “Oh! I love those choices! But remember you can only have four guests total.”
Kid: “Ok, I guess then get rid of Michael Jackson.”
Me (relieved): “I agree.”
Kid: “He doesn’t really fit in with the rest of my choices. Like, he’s not a hero or an activist or anything.”
Me: “Right. Exactly. I was thinking the same thing.”
Kid: “Plus he raped all those kids.”