Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another thought on Anti-Intellectualism

And speaking of anti-intellectualism (another tangent!), I want to use this post to express (in a wholly non-thorough manner) how pissed I am that some African Americans have wholeheartedly embraced this bull.* The last few times I attended church back home, I got so tired of pastors sneering, "A college degree/PhD won't get you into heaven."

I didn't think that it would.

The implication of course, is that college-educated people assume they are "better" than others. Certainly, some do. But I remember (and not just because I'm a history teacher!) when many black people and organizations believed that education was one way to uplift the individual and the community.** I spent a lot of time with my dad's mother and she didn't comb my hair often,*** but when she did, she'd press me between her knees and to keep me distracted, she'd talk. She'd tell me how smart I was and how proud she was of me. She'd ask me about where I was going to college--not that I had any idea in elementary school, but to put it in my mind that I was going.

So this idea that being smart or educated = selfishness, condescension, and bad, bad, bad is mind-boggling.
*mrs. o reminded me of what seems to be the neverending taunt thrown toward us--that we are "acting" or "trying to be" or "sounding" white, but that deserves a post of its own. This post is just the beginning.

**There has been classism associated with the concept--DuBois's talented tenth, black club women's belief that they were "their own best argument" and the "masses" of black women should be reformed in the club women's image.

***she'd had nine boys and three girls, and my Aunt Jo wasn't going for too much of that hair-combing mess, so my grandmother was not adept at combing hair--much like her granddaughter.

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

I'll co-sign wholeheartedly!

One thing I've learned during this whole election year (my own tangent), though, is that Americans in general seem to frown on intellectualism these days. It's okay that Dubya was basically average in school his whole life - folks could relate to him. McCain finished in the bottom 5 of his class, but he's a war hero - who needs brains? Sarah Palin doesn't seem to own a coherent thought in her head about foreign policy or the economy, but damn those elite (read: informed), leftist (hardly)media nuts for implying she needs to in order to qualify to be VP.

It's disgusting. The US can't compete globally with this dumbing down we've been going through.

And the same can be said for African Americans. College isn't the answer for everybody, but education, none-the-less is critical.

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...