The Honor Blog
Today is: Jul 8, 2020
Post From: Nov 24, 2017
A Sign of Sickness in Education
Today is the celebration of Juneteenth. I have to confess that I did not recognize the name when I first heard it - but this is the celebration of the anniversary of the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation. The date is getting quite a bit of extra attention this year, as a result of recent events.
That sounds like a pretty good thing to celebrate, to me! Talk about a positive holiday - maybe we should work to make Juneteenth a bigger deal. I mean, there is nothing more American than the moment taking an enormous leap in the direction of "living out the meaning of its creed", as Martin Luther King, Jr. called on us to do.
I don't see how the Emancipation Proclamation can be seen as anything but an tremendously positive step in the direction of embracing all people as deserving equal dignity and freedom.
However, there are some who seeme determined to twist it into something else.
Today, however, I received a message from an educational organization which said, in reference to the Juneteenth holiday: "It is American in that it drips with both the pain and the hope of being Black in America".
I hope you see the distortion. Rather than embrace the positive step forward of Emancipation, this author is choosing to cling to grievance, to reject efforts at reconciliation, to wallow in pain.
Now, it is worth considering whether this is nothing more than an isolated incident. It is only one anecdote - as a scientist, I agree anecdotal evidence must be treated with tremendous care. However, I have observed our educational system for a long time, and I am convinced that this quote is entirely representative of the tone which saturates our educational system. So I am using it as such - I am treating it as a representation of the system as a whole.
The word which summarizes that tone is: self-loathing. Our educational system is focused on negativity. Rather than portray the Emancipation as a wonderfully positive step forward, our system focuses on grievance and pain and hate.
Now, there are times when the truth can be painful, and it is important that educational systems not shy away from those painful truths.
But that is NOT what is happening here - because the truth of Emancipation is extremely positive. In this case, the educational system is taking a cause for celebration and distorting and twisting it in order to focus on victimization and division.
Now, consider that mental-health measurements of today's young people are at all time lows. I wonder if that has anything to do with the self-loathing which saturates their schools?