Saturday, January 27, 2007

On real education
Are well-meant minority-studies programmes really condescending, a form of ‘Bantu education’? I don’t claim to be well-read but Justine Nicholas’ point stands.
"Why don’t you teach us things you really care about? Things you know really well?"

My tongue only partly in my cheek, I retorted, "What if everything I know and love was written by dead white men?"

"Well, we need to read what they wrote."

I realized that the plays mattered to these women for the same reasons they meant so much to me. Shakespeare and Ibsen both dealt with matters of fate and choice, and the consequences of each. And they did it in such a way that reached across centuries and continents, and across divides of socio-economic class and gender.

For me, plays like those of Shakespeare and Ibsen, as well as the 19th-Century English and French novels, and Latin American poetry I would find at the local public library, allowed me to see worlds that existed beyond the bubbling bricks and flaking paint of my blue-collar Brooklyn neighborhood.

I realized that my students were simply asking me to help them experience the intellectual and aesthetic nourishment I gained from my own reading. To have done anything less would have been cheating them.
Some of the same reasons the ritualist Anglo-Catholic slum priests and traditional RC and Orthodox churches didn’t/don’t offer something in church that’s only a reflection/continuation of the slum or factory, or suburb or cubicle for that matter.

From LRC.

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