Hey, our future is about HQ

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Hey, our future is about HQ

My son was in upper grades in elementary school when he started to have interests in “adult stuff.” He downloaded an adult animation on the computer at home. I was quite perplexed, but I didn’t want to impose a strict ban right away. There are so many ways to access these materials, so I wanted him to be able to control himself. Moreover, I was concerned that he may develop misguided perception on sexual relationship. I had a talk with my son. “Most of the adult videos reflect fantasies men have, and the acts that are unpleasant and insulting to women or even some criminal acts are packaged as pleasure. I hope you grow up as a man who is considerate to the woman you love.” My son responded, “Of course, I know what you mean. I am not a kid.”

However, the effect of the “constructive discussion” was undermined so often. On television drama, a man often attempts physical contact on a woman without her consent or forcibly pushes her into his car and drives away. The woman would respond by slapping his face. What’s more dreadful is that the two would soon fall in love. Violence is described as a love potion. Kyungpook National University professor Kim Du-sik says that it is a uniquely Korean dramatic language on television that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

What about at school? Many teachers openly insult the students performing poorly. They may argue that they were encouraging the students out of love, but the students who are publicly embarrassed surely feel differently. The teachers go through personal belongings and check the outfit and hairstyle. A grownup would never let another person to intervene in privacy like that. However, there is a perception that human rights of the students can be deferred. But by definition, human rights is the right not to be discriminated based on not just gender, race, religion but also age and status.

Despite controversies, I personally welcome the movement to adopt the Student Rights Ordinance. It is fortunately that human rights have emerged as a key agenda in school education. Human rights sensitivity is the ability to look at various phenomena from the perspective of the socially weak and share the sentiment. Many offenders of school violence often say that they did not realize how bad their actions were. They surely lack human rights sensitivity. Internationally renowned human rights educator Hugh Starkey said that human rights are only completed when people are aware of them and exercise them. Human rights need to be studied and learned, and the teachers have a duty to teach the principles and provide them with opportunities to experience the environment where human rights are respected.

Reinforcement of human rights education will substantially improve the future of the children. The greater flow of history is changing. As capitalism fans monopoly and competition, global retrospect and attempt to seek alternatives have already started. The values of sharing and co-existing are highlighted. The world wants a leader with outstanding human rights sensitivity. An era has come when HQ, or human rights quotient, is more celebrated than IQ or EQ. I hope my son would grow up to be a man of human rights sensitivity. He may not become a global leader, but he will surely be an agreeable and considerate man.

The author is an editorial writer for the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Lee Na-ree
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