Sunday, February 22, 2015
Discrimination is not Easily Abandoned
Koreans want the best educational programs for their children and will sacrifice a great deal to achieve it. A professor writing in the Peace Weekly doesn't like what she sees. In one district, parents did not want their children to go to the same school with children coming from rented homes. You have parents moving to an area where the teaching is of a better quality, and you have the 'goose dads' who are living alone because the mother is with the children in some oversea country. Our professor wonders if the parents understand what a good education should mean.
She mentions meeting a European student studying Sanskrit in India so as to read the ancient texts. Students from England and Europe are in Africa studying the primitive languages. In Bangkok, Thailand we have the Chulalongkorn University where many students from the States and Europe are majoring in Asian studies. The professor feels there is a one sided understanding that education has to concentrate on learning English. Other areas of the world want to tear down the walls that separate us from one another: a desire to be more open to cultures different from our own.
While in California for a workshop, on a bus was a Swiss intern at their Embassy, when the bus stopped for a red light, he saw a grandmother in tattered clothes carrying a big bundle crossing the street. He quickly left the bus to help the woman cross the street and returned to the bus. The passengers, where on an educational exposure trip on American Democracy. Another member of the group that morning had taken a banana from the table and put it in her purse to give to the first beggar she met. Concern and sensitivity to others was evident.
One great difference from the traditional society and our modern society is the breaking down walls surrounding social status. More important than the status at birth are the efforts that people make that are valued. We have moved to equality under God and under law: from monarchy, in a circuitous way,to a colony of Japan, to the Second World War, and Korean War to a commonwealth and a constitutional democracy. We had sadness and consolation: we put aside the nobility and commoner division and the male and female servant divisions. Our common experience with empty stomachs and common background allowed us to become one nation, but in retrospect we did not work sufficiently to maintain our unity.
Allowing discrimination to appear by the kind of homes that we have, is not a sign that our education has been doing its job. Nelson Mandela in South Africa was able to do away with apartheid, (the separation of the races) and received applause from the whole world.
We have the pope opening the Vatican to the homeless for showers, free haircuts, and umbrellas distributed on a rainy day. Discrimination and exclusions that nurture conflict and scars make us see clearly problems in the world village. Discrimination between our children and those living in rented apartments is sending a harmful message to our children. In the present society it is not easy to make known our discrimination for it's a throwback to another age, and she wants those who think this way to jump out to the front, and surprise everybody.