Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Few Things On My Mind

1) This Great Country

The United States of America comprises over 301 million people. 8.3 million of them live in New York City. Nearly 14 million live in New England. 36 and a half million live in New York.

You know what else? Hollywood has thrust upon the nation such "liberals" as the dreaded activist and former union president Ronald Reagan. Yeah, I said it. Look here:

Nearly 60 million of us - nearly 1/5 of the population - live in places routinely denigrated by conservatives as being somehow un-American. Listen to the sneer in certain politicians' voices as they talk about New York media, Hollywood liberals, etc. Guess what? Those are Americans, people.

2) Anti-Intellectualism

I look forward to a day when we've cured cancer. I look forward to reading the next world-changing novel that becomes a classic for the next generation, an encapsulation of our time, of the entire human condition. I am anxiously awaiting the world's next big peacemaker, uniter. The world needs more smart people, more intellectuals. More people who are excited by new ideas, who seek them out and surround themselves with thinkers, who take tons of information from all over and synthesize it to form informed opinions.

I look up to and learn from the elite, the "the best of a class," educators. How on earth did we get ourselves into a place where intellectual, elite, and professor are used as insults?

3) How Long Will it Take Us to Ruin the Next Generation?

When Ellie started at a public preschool, she came home chattering about her classmates: Bilal, Shiroz, Indy, Umar, and Maddy. Her favorite giant floor puzzle features cartoon kids standing on the outside of a globe and as we're searching for the appropriate next piece, she describes what she needs: the boy in the green shirt, the woman in the white dress, the ballerina, the soccer player. It's not self-conscious political correctness; race honestly doesn't occur to her yet as a categorization for describing people. Now, that's American.



Orange said...

(1) "We raise good people in our small towns"? Yeah, and in our cities. My dad, my grandparents, and my son all boast urban upbringing, and they're all good Americans, good people.

(2) Exactly.

(3) My son's school is super-diverse, with no one ethnic group accounting for more than 40% of the student body (and three accounting for about 20% each). Some of the kids have racist ideas, but they're getting them from their parents, not from school. When he was younger, Ben remarked on people's skin color—as in "Mrs. Johnson is dark brown, Ousaf is brown, I'm tan, so-and-so is light brown." Merely descriptive, like white folks enumerating redheads, brunets, and blonds in a group. He's learning what sort of backgrounds people come from now, what their ancestry is, but I don't think he's at all conscious of "race" as a first-line descriptor.

Sarahlynn said...

You know what else we produce in small towns? Crystal meth. Seriously, I've split my life between small towns and big cities. I don't see how the people in one place were better than the other.

Watching my daughter is like watching someone from a completely different culture, when it comes to race. I just love how there's no baggage whatsoever. Yet.

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