Discussion: Impact of Ageism and Adultism
SOCW 6051: Diversity, Human Rights, and Social Justice Week 10
Adultism refers to the oppression of young people by adults. The popular saying “children should be seen and not heard” is used as a way to remind a child of his or her place and reaffirm the adult’s power in the relationship. The saying suggests that children’s voices are not as important or as valid as an adult’s and they should remain quiet. Children are often relegated to subordinate positions due to socially constructed beliefs about what they can or cannot accomplish or what they should or should not do; this in turn compromises youth’s self-determination. This oppression is further highlighted when considering the intersection of age with race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation. You will be asked to consider all of these when reviewing the Logan case and Parker case.
By Day 3
Post an analysis of the influence of adultism in the Logan case. Then, explain how gender, race, class, and privilege interact with adultism to influence the family’s discourse related to Eboni’s pregnancy as well as other family dynamics.
Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen S. M. (Eds.). (2014). Sessions: Case histories. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].
- “The Parker Family”
- “The Logan Family”
The Logan Family
Eboni Logan is a 16-year-old biracial African American/Caucasian female in 11th grade. She is an honors student, has been taking Advanced Placement courses, and runs track. Eboni plans to go to college and major in nursing. She is also active in choir and is a member of the National Honor Society and the student council. For the last 6 months, Eboni has been working 10 hours a week at a fast food restaurant. She recently passed her driver’s test and has received her license.
Eboni states that she believes in God, but she and her mother do not belong to any organized religion. Her father attends a Catholic church regularly and takes Eboni with him on the weekends that she visits him.
Eboni does not smoke and denies any regular alcohol or drug usage. She does admit to occasionally drinking when she is at parties with her friends, but denies ever being drunk. There is no criminal history. She has had no major health problems.
Eboni has been dating Darian for the past 4 months. He is a 17-year-old African American male. According to Eboni, Darian is also on the track team and does well in school. He is a B student and would like to go to college, possibly for something computer related. Darian works at a grocery store 10–15 hours a week. He is healthy and has no criminal issues. Darian also denies smoking or regular alcohol or drug usage. He has been drunk a few times, but Eboni reports that he does not think it is a problem. Eboni and Darian became sexually active soon after they started dating, and they were using withdrawal for birth control.
Eboni’s mother, Darlene, is 34 years old and also biracial African American/Caucasian. She works as an administrative assistant for a local manufacturing company. Eboni has lived with her mother and her maternal grandmother, May, from the time she was born. May is a 55-year-old African American woman who works as a paraprofessional in an elementary school. They still live in the same apartment where May raised Darlene.
Darlene met Eboni’s father, Anthony, when she was 17, the summer before their senior year in high school. Anthony is 34 years old and Caucasian. They casually dated for about a month, and after they broke up, Darlene discovered she was pregnant and opted to keep the baby. Although they never married each other, Anthony has been married twice and divorced once. He has four other children in addition to Eboni. She visits her father and stepmother every other weekend. Anthony works as a mechanic and pays child support to Darlene.
Recently, Eboni took a pregnancy test and learned that she is 2 months pregnant. She actually did not know she was pregnant because her periods were not always consistent and she thought she had just skipped a couple of months. Eboni immediately told her best friend, Brandy, and then Darian about her pregnancy. He was shocked at first and suggested that it might be best to terminate. Darian has not told her explicitly to get an abortion, but he feels he cannot provide for her and the baby as he would like and thinks they should wait to have children. He eventually told her he would support her in any way he could, whatever she decides. Brandy encouraged Eboni to meet with the school social worker.
During our first meeting, Eboni told me that she had taken a pregnancy test the previous week and it was positive. At that moment, the only people who knew she was pregnant were her best friend and boyfriend. She had not told her parents and was not sure how to tell them. She was very scared about what they would say to her. We talked about how she could tell them and discussed various responses she might receive. Eboni agreed she would tell her parents over the weekend and see me the following Monday. During our meeting I asked her if she used contraception, and she told me that she used the withdrawal method.
Eboni met with me that following Monday, as planned, and she was very tearful. She had told her parents and grandmother over the weekend. Eboni shared that her mother and grandmother had become visibly upset when they learned of the pregnancy, and Darlene had yelled and called her a slut. Darlene told Eboni she wanted her to have a different life than she had had and told her she should have an abortion. May cried and held Eboni in her arms for a long time. When Eboni told her father, he was shocked and just kept shaking his head back and forth, not saying a word. Then he told her that she had to have this child because abortion was a sin. He offered to help her and suggested that she move in with him and her stepmother.
Darlene did not speak to Eboni for the rest of the weekend. Her grandmother said she was scheduling an appointment with the doctor to make sure she really was pregnant. Eboni was apprehensive about going to the doctor, so we discussed what the first appointment usually entails. I approached the topic of choices and decisions if it was confirmed that she was pregnant, and she said she had no idea what she would do.
Two days later, Eboni came to see me with the results of her doctor’s appointment. The doctor confirmed the pregnancy, said her hormone levels were good, and placed her on prenatal vitamins. Eboni had had little morning sickness and no overt issues due to the pregnancy. Her grandmother went with her to the appointment, but her mother was still not speaking to her. Eboni was very upset about the situation with her mother. At one point she commented that parents are supposed to support their kids when they are in trouble and that she would never treat her daughter the way her mother was treating her. I offered to meet with Eboni and her mother to discuss the situation. Although apprehensive, Eboni gave me permission to call her mother and set up an appointment.
The Logan Family
May Logan: mother of Darlene, 55
Darlene Logan: mother, 34
Anthony Jennings: father, 34
Eboni Logan: daughter, 16
Darian: Eboni’s boyfriend, 17
I left a message for Darlene to contact me about scheduling a meeting. She called back and agreed to meet with Eboni and me. When I informed Eboni of the scheduled meeting, she thanked me. She told me that she was going to spend the upcoming weekend with her father, and that she was apprehensive about how it would go. When I approached the topic of a decision about the pregnancy, she stated that she was not certain but was leaning in one direction, which she did not share with me. I suggested we get together before the meeting with her mother to discuss the weekend with her father.
At our next session, Eboni said she thought she knew what to do but after spending the weekend with her father was still confused. Eboni said her father went on at length about how God gives life, and that if she had an abortion, she would go to hell. Eboni was very scared. Anthony had taken her to church and told the priest that Eboni was pregnant and asked him to pray for her. Eboni said this made her feel uncomfortable.
When I met with Eboni and her mother, Darlene shared her thoughts about Eboni’s pregnancy and her belief that she should have an abortion. She said she knows how hard it is to be a single mother and does not want this for Eboni. She believes that because Eboni is so young, she should do as she says. Eboni was very quiet during the session, and when asked what she thought, said she did not know. At the end of the session, nothing was resolved between Eboni and her mother.
When I met with Eboni the next day to process the session, she said that when they got home, she and her mother talked without any yelling. Her mother told Eboni she loved her and wanted what was best for her. May said she would support Eboni no matter what she decided and would help her if she kept the baby.
Eboni was concerned because she thought she was beginning to look pregnant and her morning sickness had gotten worse. I addressed her overall health, and she said that she wanted to sleep all the time, and that when she was not nauseated, all she did was eat. Eboni is taking her prenatal vitamins in case she decides to have the baby. Only a couple of her friends know about the pregnancy, and they had different thoughts on what they thought she should do. One friend even bought her a onesie. In addition, Eboni was concerned that her grades were being affected by the situation, possibly affecting her ability to attend college. She was also worried about how a pregnancy or baby would affect her chances of getting a track scholarship. In response to her many concerns, I educated her on stress-reduction methods.
Eboni asked me what I thought she should do, and I told her it was her decision to make for herself and that she should not let others tell her what to do. However, I also stated that it was important for her to know all the options. We discussed at length what it would mean for her to keep the baby versus terminating the pregnancy. I mentioned adoption and the possibility of an open adoption, but Eboni said she was not sure she could have a baby and then give it away. We discussed the pros and cons of adoption, and she stated she was even more confused. I reminded her that she did not have much time to make her decision if she was going to terminate. She said she wanted a few days to really consider all her options.
Eboni scheduled a time to meet with me. When she entered my office, she told me she had had a long talk with her mother and grandmother the night before about what she was going to do. She had also called her father and Darian and told them what she had decided. Eboni told me she knows she has made the right decision.