Politicizing the Classroom

Way too many years ago, I loved going to school. I loved my education experience.

My teachers were mature, professional, and heroic. They were respectful of each child’s home culture.

I never heard their political, religious, or moral views expressed beyond “The Golden Rule” and classroom behavior.

I was never taught how I was supposed to feel about things. I was given tools to analyze things on my own.

Searching for Truth

I don’t enjoy fiction unless it involves profound truth.

That probably makes me a boring person.

When I was trying to form my world view, I went to the public library and began a series of reading historical texts.

My favorite things to read are journals, personal letters, and ship logs.

I remember reading one book that was making a case against an early explorer.

It contained much of his personal logs.

A Very Different Vibe

As I read the words of the explorer, I got a completely different vibe than what the author was trying to convince me of in his book.

He should have left out the journal entries, he might have converted me to his opinion.

The author took huge liberties in discrediting what was written in the journal. I took the journal at its word and in the context of its historical setting.

The author was trying to apply today’s values to events happening hundreds of years ago. He really did not try to place himself in the setting of the characters he was trying to judge.

Those opinions and opinions like them would be taught across the nation in every higher education lecture hall, eventually ending up in the public-school classroom.

Others would join in until every founder and framer of our imperfect country would be vilified by the very ideas, they paved the way for.

We have at least two generations of students who learned out of context opinions of the motives of our founders and framers.

when I studied history in school, it wasn’t that we were not educated about the Spaniards’ treatment of native Americans and understood that it was wrong, we did.

We understood the horrors of slavery, war, and other atrocities.

The difference is context. We understood the world as it was. To understand that world, one has to study it, not opinions of how we should feel about it.

The Entire World Was Racist

The entire world was divided by class, race, and religion. If you want to experience that type of class division, you still can in other countries.

I have witnessed it for myself on numerous occasions. It is offensive and I want to do something when I see it, but it is absurd to try to use my values to judge an entire world.

While living in a third world country, we decided to have a big party. We had friends in the professional world, the town people where we lived, and some of the mountain village people where we ministered.

It was a total shock to see the class division in my own house. I did not realize how embedded into their souls it was. Especially since they all looked exactly alike.

There were three distinct groups. All of them were lovely people, but they had never had the opportunity to interact with one another on a level playing field.

With a huge amount of manipulation of circumstances by myself, by the end of the night, they were playing music together, talking in mixed groups and learning things about each other that they didn’t realize.

Brilliant People Imagined This World

Concepts of multiculturalism, equality, and justice are American ideas put into motion by the ones now condemned by our education system. It is not something that occurred naturally. Brilliant people imagined it.

To try to judge and condemn our founders and framers with our current, evolved, standards, taken out of context is not logical.

At the time that this melting pot was emerging, there were a few daring, imperfect individuals that were willing to go against social norms and do outrageous things.

As I read the historical accounts in the context that they existed, it is impossible for me to come to the conclusions that have been taught for the last thirty years in the classroom.

It took hundreds of years of evolving as humans to come to this place of “liberty for all”.

Without worldwide, historical, context, you might observe a day in 1692 and say “we have some problems with racism, classism, and immigration” or you can see it for what it was; Well on our way to something great.

Did The US Invent Racism?

The United States of America did not invent racism or injustice, but we have been a world leader in stamping it out and enlightening others to follow.

To recognize Mistakes and to correct the things that we have learned about humanity, compassion, and freedom is part of our journey and evolution as a melting pot.

Vilifying those who were products of their time and culture in the process of slowly evolving is absurd and illogical. Victimizing those who endured suffering while the evolution was taking place is pointless. Punishing those who came through it and now are doing well as privileged is mind blowing.

I do not understand what has become of the classroom or textbooks. It has become a place of tearing down, finger pointing, and digging up bones. Opinions have replaced facts, context, and a thirst for knowledge and truth.

The beautiful and sometimes ugly truth of our origins lies silently inside of dusty documents, letters, and journals, untouched because we have made up our minds. We have chosen to move backward.

Unlike my education experience, I can tell you the political, religious, and moral position of every one of my children’s teachers and college professors.

Often, I can tell the political, religious, and moral position of the textbooks as well.

I won’t even mention the demeaning and disrespect of home cultures that don’t align with theirs.

What a sad contrast to the heroes who taught me.

Our Melting Pot

Some came here seeking freedom from persecution; leaving all behind;
Some came on slave ships; Hearts ripped without goodbyes 
Some came seeking fortunes and opportunities;
Some were already here, helpless at changing times;
Some crossed rivers, evading captors with children by their side;

All are here today;
And I am thankful for each life
It matters so much more
Where we go from here;
Than how we came to find ourselves 
In this beautiful thing called
“America”, our home.

Thank You, Lord, for this amazing melting pot.

poem by Margie Gandy

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