Is having a loving family an unfair advantage?
Once he got thinking, Swift could see that the issue stretches well beyond the fact that some families can afford private schooling, nannies, tutors, and houses in good suburbs. Functional family interactions—from going to the cricket to reading bedtime stories—form a largely unseen but palpable fault line between families. The consequence is a gap in social mobility and equality that can last for generations.
In contrast, reading stories at bedtime, argues Swift, gives rise to acceptable familial relationship goods, even though this also bestows advantage.
‘The evidence shows that the difference between those who get bedtime stories and those who don’t—the difference in their life chances—is bigger than the difference between those who get elite private schooling and those that don’t,’ he says.
This devilish twist of evidence surely leads to a further conclusion—that perhaps in the interests of levelling the playing field, bedtime stories should also be restricted. In Swift’s mind this is where the evaluation of familial relationship goods goes up a notch.
You may be wondering how this jives with the new party line consensus being spouted in the NYT that the black-white and black-nonblack gaps in everything from education to income to museum attendance is rooted in the fact that black parents don’t use enough words at, toward and around their newborn and toddler and infant children. It’s easy, really — If Aquanetta won’t read to little D’Leisha and Shitavious, then the way to make things equal is not to allow white parents to read bedtime stories to their white children.