In the past week, Ethan Metzger’s entry for the 2013 Bronx Youth Poetry SLAM has been gaining attention on social media.
Metzger’s poem, unofficially titled “My Parents Brainwashed Me,” explains how a classmate at school told him that he was “only Jewish because [his] parents forced [him] to be,” and that his “parents brainwashed” him with religious beliefs.
Metzger said his peer’s comment caused him to reflect on the ways his parents had in fact influenced his beliefs and values.
“My parents brainwashed me? Yeah my father twisted my infant brain in such a horrific way that he made me value my integrity; and to make matters even worse he led by example,” Metzger said.
Commenters on the video praised both Metzger and his parents.
“Ethan, your parents are to be commended for such twisting of your brain and perverting your way of thinking to believe in ‘giving your all’ and ‘to be accepting of others and their beliefs’ and by leading by example,” BadBoyMensch said in a YouTube video. “You will go far, young man. This I'm sure.”21 comments on this story
Others believed that Metzger’s response did not address his classmate’s comment.
“Nice poem except you totally dodged his point,” Daniel Roberts commented on the video. “He said nothing about your character he said your parents brainwashed you into your religion.”
Metzger finished his poem by saying that after thinking about the positive ways his parents had “brainwashed” him, he responded by telling the classmate that, “You can call it brainwashing if you want, that’s fine. I call it teaching.”