PERSONAL SPACE, RACISM, AND JOE BIDEN

I live in the south of France. When the local rugby team walks into our sports bar, there's a lot of kissing. Big, sweaty, bearded guys greet other big, sweaty, bearded guys with kisses on the cheeks. Then they hang out with their arms draped over each other's shoulders.

Nature or nurture?

I was curious. I googled: Do children have personal space? The answer? Apparently not. Page upon page of results lead to that conclusion. Why? Perform the exercise yourself and you will see.

Children must apparently be carefully taught about personal space. There are exercises, worksheets, activities, and publications promoting the teaching of personal space. When it comes to explaining the necessity for personal space, though, things get a bit fuzzy. Again, google: Personal space is vital to being oneself. Being able to engage in outside interests is a good way to develop a stronger sense of self, which leads to the discovery of one's desires and dreams. This is important because it fosters trust and communication between partners.

I parse those sentences and I scratch my head. Children who ignore the concept of personal space certainly have a sense of self and often demonstrate individuality at a high level. Children who ignore the concept of personal space are certainly adept at expressing their desires. And children who ignore personal space are certainly trusting and communicative. It occurs to me that problems in these areas exist after children have been taught the concept of personal space, not because they lack that concept.

Is there such a thing as unwanted touching? Absolutely. And we teach that No Means No. In fact, the young, smart, highly educated, professional women that have singled out Joe Biden as having made them uncomfortable have probably been taught that No Means No since childhood. But they didn't say No to Joe. They chose instead to speak to a microphone. Years later. I do believe that the women may have felt uncomfortable. I also believe that Biden did nothing wrong. 

Personal space is an artificial construct. And fluid. Studies show that it is effected by gender, age, climate, social norms, and other factors. Yes. You have to be carefully taught.




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