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.