Education As “Deadification”

“A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” intoned the black baritone in those old United Negro College Fund commercials.

I’m coming to suspect that wasting one’s mind on an education that “is little more than a state sanctioned lobotomy is far, far more than terrible.”

Everything useful I learned, I learned outside of the classroom. Certainly, I received lots of useful information in all levels of academia….but who did it serve, to whose ultimate benefit?

Go to school and “get your education,” like a ham, like a video at Blockbuster, like a quart of oil. “Once you get that education, nobody can take it away from you,” so the saying goes. That’s one crime we should welcome: ‘please, take this brainwash education and give me back my fucking mind – I’ll pay YOU!’

I despised school, but I always operated from the assumption that something was wrong with me, I was stupid, I just couldn’t fit in – as opposed to my spirit not WANTING to fit in. Systems have a way of making people think that they should conform to them instead of vice versa. And again, someone operates, someone controls those institutions to OUR detriment, not our betterment.

If only we knew that.

Conflict can be quite revealing in exposing lies and getting closer to truth. I need to be awakened more and more regarding the ways in which I sleep on my own brainwashing. So often, I see reflections of my issues and problems, my concerns, in the mirror of other people. Certainly, there have been times where I project onto others my baggage, what is actually within me. Gotta keep that up front.

BUT…mine eyes have seen anew what ‘education as indoctrination/deadification/mummification can do. I’ve seen it in this dialogue over the academic hypnosis that my friend, PZ has fallen under, or more truthfully, embraced with a death grip. I’m always surprised where people’s stop signs reside, always surprised when people choose to terminate their inquiry into self, terminate their reclaiming of self and default to the false/fake/static identity that AWQ references. The murder of the eyes of a child within them, within us.

The relationship that we (can) have with this culture is to either cogitate, collaborate or medicate. If you’re meditating on it, you can’t fail to see the death-style of it. If you’re collaborating with it, you’re probably telling yourself all kinds of fairytales to justify raping and pillaging the planet. And if you’re medicating, you’re too strung out on shopping pills and gin mills to notice.

But you have a choice, we all have a choice. And I thank my friend AWQ for doing lasic surgery on some of these cataracts of mine that hinder my ability to see.

Living life in this culture can be like failing to read the fucking label on your food: do you really know what you’re ingesting and do you muthafuckin’ care?????

Why you mad at me when I tell you it’s genetically modified, tell you that its poison?!

9 Responses to “Education As “Deadification””

  1. I’ll have to agree. I’ve learned much more outside of the classroom. It’s been a while. I see that you’re still kicking up dust. 🙂 That’s cool.

  2. worker bees- that’s how our system is set up- to produce worker bees. we had manufacturing jobs in big square buildings and sent our children to school in big square buildings so that they could work in big square buildings. there is something wrong with a compulsory education system that prides itself on conformity and standardization. a system where individual school boards spend 98% of the tax money earmarked for schools on ‘administrative costs’ and 2% on the actual students. we don’t want to teach our children- we want to warehouse them. if we wanted to do what was best for our children, we would set up school times that allow the children to learn- early morning for small ones and later morning for teens- but we do it to accommodate parent’s work schedules and vacation times. we don’t teach- we help kids memorize facts for useless tests to keep the education machine running. the poor kids have always been shafted and now the middle class is being ‘dummed down’- we have to ask ourselves, why? why do we discourage learning as a culture? why do we view it as ‘uncool’ or ‘nerdy?’

    sorry to suck up your comments section. 🙂 i agree with you- i learned most of what i have learned by reading on my own and researching things to find the truth. why are we not more curious as a culture? as a country? it’s a problem.

  3. Bess, I’m covered in dust at the moment. Isn’t feeling like such a virtue, but this to shall pass.

    Betmo, 98%???? That is some criminal shit. No use in sending em to school. We need community schools that are run by parents who don’t work in those bland structures you mentioned. Fuck getting brainwashed. When I go to my daughter’s daycare, I’m appalled. The caliber of the thinking, the emotional development – its nuts.

  4. Personally, my experiences were pretty much the opposite. School was always something I was really good at. If I had to depend on most of the people I was around to teach me much of anything instead of books, I’d know practically nothing because they were too busy sneering at me.

  5. Hi MJ,

    I think I might be ready to engage with you here again, if you’ll have me.

    We’ve had a discussion about this before, how education does nothing but educate people in a particular way, to think in certain ways. I’ve been feeling it this last year or so, in my academic education, that I’m being taught to think about the world in a particular way, just based on curriculum – and more than what is taught, what ISN’T taught.

    Something Visible Man just said struck home – that he was always good at school. Me too – I’ve always been an exceptional student, able to learn anything and everything and get super grades and be rewarded by that system of ‘education’.

    That small sentence was an awakening for me. I have always been good at being educated. It’s like my mind is the perfect most fertile ground to accept the education the system has thrown my way – a system based on white male supremacy. And I think that’s why it’s been so hard for me to break through on some things, to break through about race, to break through about gender, about sexuality – identity politics in general. I’m good at being “educated”. Why? Because it’s a system made for me, in many ways. It’s a system that ignores the history of indigenous people in my country, that ignores black history in my country, that ignores the history of women struggling for the vote, that ignores the history that black women and native women in my country didn’t get the same voting rights until the 1960s as white women enjoyed in the 1920s (just found that one out today). The voices of so many people are lost in the education system. But voices like mine are heard loud and clear. Sometimes (most times?) they’re the only ones speaking. And because of my whiteness, my internalized brainwashing that is racism and white supremacy and unearned racial privilege, I can’t even see what’s not there. Because the voices in the education system are talking to me, about me – in ways that I can understand because of who I am and how I’ve been socialized, as a white person in a white supremacist society.

    No wonder I’m so good at it.

  6. Our situations are nowhere near identical, though. You were (presumably) rewarded for getting educated. I don’t really think that I’ve ever been anything but punished for being good at it-left socially isolated (by both black and white people), generally ignored (even by my family, who pay lip service to the concept by saying that the respect everything that I’ve worked to learn…but I should pretend that knowledge really doesn’t mean anything in comparison to a ‘reality’ that from their perspective, mostly involves kissing ass and adhering to traditions whether they make a fucking bit of sense or not). Despite the fact that this is the only thing I was (no, I was ALLOWED) to get good at.

    And you know what? It was really, really easy, despite getting an education, for me to understand precisely how much I was valued. Getting spit in the face while being called the N-word while everyone else (black and white) looked on certainly made that point. Being told that even though I was getting the crap beaten out of me on a daily basis for being the ‘nerd’, that there was something wrong with me for not getting along with these subhumans by my black parents really made a point too.

    Perhaps a different question or approach would be in order:

    FS, have you ever known any black people who you considered ‘school’ smart, and did their being ‘school smart’ make them any less black to you?

  7. VM –

    I didn’t mean to imply that our situations were similar, just that your comment inspired an awakening in me. So thank you! Sorry to hear your experience with being clever at school wasn’t rewarding.

  8. Welcome back, TG.

    V: There were guys I thought were nerdy, enunciated words precisely, their verbal style lacked that ‘flava’; basically sounded just like white folks. But, I’ve been accused of sounding like a “white boy” too.

    This was when I was pretty confused and that’s not to say I’m not confused. How you sound doesn’t make you less black; its who you are. And who you are is all in the eye of the beholder.

  9. The entire education system needs overhauling because it still focuses on subjects that are no longer relevant. More of a focus on technology and science rather than subjects such as history.

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