In this class education has been focused on identity, class, and power. With these ideas in mind, what is the meaning or the significance of this quote by Malcolm Forbes:
The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one?
I understand Malcolm Forbes’ quote to be a representation of the ways in which education can be expanded and altered to better assimilate culturalidentity. Historically, education has been plagued with countless examples of classism, discrimination, and abuse of power. Instead of education representing an institution willing to embrace ethnic ties and backgrounds, it seeks merely to promote institutional discrimination. In “Keeping Close to Home: Class and Education”, Bell Hooks examines the various way in which classism marginalizesstudents which results in a loss of personal and cultural identity. Further, the reading “2-205” by Reshma Baig recounts the unequal power dynamic based on race and white privilege. Additionally, “Imagine a Country” by Holly Sklar looks at unequal division of power in education. All three accounts demonstrate how education has become a type of conditioning. Education is based off of certainprinciples that favor certain individuals. Simply put, this is an empty way of thinking as it excludes all the various facets of humanity. Instead of education being a tool to promote equality and to break down barriers, it simply perpetuates flaws by its standardized nature.
“Keeping Close to Home: Class and Education” Bell Hooks recounts her experience as an African American pursuing her educationat Stanford University. Hooks’ main argument stems from the idea that her class background dictated how she was perceived at the University. She discusses the idea that “class differences were boundaries […] it was easier to downplay them, to act as though we were all from privileged backgrounds” (161). The emphasis here is the idea that class is essentially an inhibitor. In order to excel andsucceed to the greatest degree, it was necessary to abandon one’s background and to mirror the lifestyle of the bulk of society. Here, Hooks is referring to the idea of white hegemony, instead of education embracing different classes, it simply acted as a catalyst for individuals to “speak with the masses” (163) or assimilate to the standard (white) way of life. Finally, as Hooks says “class wasnot just about money; it was about values which showed and determined behavior” (162). At its core, education does not represent an open mind, instead it is restricting. Education promoted the ideal of commonality.
Abuse of power over minorities in education is portrayed in “2-205” by Reshma Baig. Baig narrates her experience as a minority in a predominantly white sixth grade class.Unequal distribution of power can be seen through “the monitor”. Baig describes “the monitor” as the prefect of the class. Abuse of power over minorities can be seen through the selection of dodgeball teams. Baig describes this process as being decided “according to the Lisa Principle. According to this principle, all the cutesy boys and pretty girls were places on Team A. And all the non-white onTeam B” (213). First of all, one can only assume Lisa or “the monitor” was most likely white as Baig says “If anyone on Team B touched Lisa at any point during the game, she would squeal ‘Yuck, foreigner cooties’”(213). The marginalization and discrimination against cultural differences is quite evident even at such a young age. Yet, nothing was done to rectify such subjugation. Instead ofBaig having the opportunity to play on Team A, she was merely destined to be on Team B because of her color, her race. Not to mention, teams were not selected democratically, rather they were selected by the white female monitor of the class. Her white privilege allowed her power over those of different cultural backgrounds and the power to determine their destiny. Ultimately, education uses...
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