My seven-year-old great-nephew came home from soccer camp wearing a T-shirt that read: “If it moves, kick it; if it doesn’t, kick it until it does.” Great message right? It’s cute and funny.
Not so great message right? Are we talking about the cat, dog, little brother, friend, neighbour? This message says that it doesn’t matter if you are moving or not, I have licence to kick you. Is subtle violence so embedded in our society that we don’t even see it anymore? Those T-shirts have been out there, worn by the coaches and the kids, going on five weeks now and counting. Does anybody else see it? Does anybody else get it?
You can find former U.S. president Jimmy Carter on TED Talks telling us that the No. 1 problem globally is violence against women. He also states that the No. 1 reason, and I quote, is that “Men don’t give a damn.” I wonder how many women give a damn when they pick up their children with this message on their shirts and say nothing. Does it even register? We are spending millions on anti-bullying campaigns and sending kids home with this shirt.
It takes a village to raise a child. I implore all of us to wake up, see the subtle signs of violence all around us, intentional or not, and call the originators to awareness. I asked for a recall of this T-shirt and a printing of one with a positive message of courage, determination, perseverance or any other virtue encouraged by sports, but the rec center sees nothing wrong with it. A class of student teachers at SFU unanimously found the T-shirt inappropriate. What do you see?