this i believe.

30 Oct


i believe that change is hard. and everyday i think it is impossible. and everyday i believe we’re almost there. i believe that learning is for everybody. school is not. and i believe that for most of us, while some of us are better at it than others, our approach to schooling is not working. i believe that we should start all over. blow up and make strange all the things we take for granted and assume to be just what they are. that students of the same age should be in the same classrooms. that the best way to assess what whole populations know is by having a piece of paper ask questions, and allowing test takers to guess the best response from three, four or five options. that textbooks are the best way to carry mass amounts of information. and that classrooms require teachers. that teachers require classrooms. i believe that within this rote and archaic structure, and that at this pace, we are losing. all of us.

every other arm in america has evolved with the changes that have emerged over time. industry. technology. music. art. people. but at least two things have not changed apart from switching seats around the same small circle – our politics, and our system of education. and the two are related. i believe that more than history and racism, the hate we learn, and the ignorance we inherit, people are attached to power. and power is attached to money. and it is power’s attachment to money, and itself, that has maintained a system of systems wherein people are perpetually without basic things they have rights to. a system that teaches its constituents to (unknowingly) endorse it, and fight against one another – a battle which ultimately sustains it.

i believe that changing how people think will be the only thing that changes what people do. and the one thing that is capable of changing how people think is the hardest thing to accomplish. experiences with diverse populations – experiences, that is, that nurture understanding and empathy, and sincere connection to humanity. one can raise awareness, by occupying wallstreet for example, or lighting up watts. but until awareness breeds spaces where people are talking to one another and not against each other, and it includes the poor and black and brown among us, awareness will always fall short of influencing action.

and it is at the point of action, which after people have aha moments, and revelations, and begin to see the world differently, that change occurs.

i believe that change is slow. and there are lives among us who do not have time for it. and so we grasp at what we want and need, and steal small, subversive victories for ourselves in other ways. and sometimes these victories manifest in little defeats. sometimes talking back at a teacher gets us suspended. and sometimes one suspension makes it easier for the next, and the next, and then expulsion, and the life thereafter. sometimes if we don’t meet someone along the way who we believe in, and who we trust believes in us, we lose the point of it all – which was saving ourselves.

(artwork by paul goodnight.)

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