Friday, April 11, 2014


Just finished reading The Shame of the Nation today, which is a book about the US education system's lack of truly integrated schools. A common theme in the book is that change kind of happens from the bottom, but historically, these poor ("let's face it: black" according to the author Kozol) schools don't get much no matter how bad it gets. Students are taught "I am the change." But ultimately, huge education reform happens on congressional levels. The charter schools grow, stricter rules get shoved onto the most struggling of children. They are not getting the elementary education I got in my (let's face it: white) suburb.

This is always the complaint. Why are all these people speaking for others they don't fully understand? It is an archaic system on a slow road to change. Sure. That's fine. And I'm not blaming congresspeople (let's face it: men) for not truly understanding poverty. Just like I don't blame myself. I can blame someone for not being aware, but to truly, truly understand is a different story. I would have to work very hard to understand. I have learned a lot from this 300 page book, but I am not in those little shoes.

What would it be like if in our culture you could only speak to things you truly understood or directly applied to you? On one hand, this is impossible if you believe in community. We are a web after all. On the other hand, how sweet would it be if it was extremely rude to speak about abortion unless you were currently pregnant? No sharing an opinion on a film unless you've seen the whole thing. Shut up about another country unless you live there?

I'm not suggesting this. I think we should consider other viewpoints. I think we need to. Just a daydream of sorts on this fine Friday afternoon.

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