"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

Search This Blog

Saturday, April 21, 2012

An Education in the Dehumanization of Americans

I've had several people tell me they felt sad and upset when they read MEW's article When High Stakes Testing becomes Abusive, it's Time for Parents to Keep their Children HomeA kindergartner's teacher wouldn't let her use the restroom because the class was in the middle of testing...that wasn't even "required testing".  The little girl had a terrible accident and had to sit in her waste until the testing was finished.  She was given a garbage bag to wrap herself in. Why didn't the teacher let the child use the restroom?

Many kids right now are taking Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) tests, the state standardized testing required by law.  Those tests start in third grade, but the superintendent says the reason the teacher was sticking so closely to MAP testing guidelines, even for a kindergartner, is because she was trying to simulate the stringent rules to prepare students for what's to come.   

What kind of teacher would allow a child to sit in her own excrement and have her embarrassed?  Is this what they teach college students preparing for the teaching profession?  Are college students taught the most important goal is to protect the system and treat children's needs as secondary?

Maybe some teachers took the same lessons as some TSA agents in Madison, Wisconsin.  The Gateway Pundit wrote an article about a young woman who was being patted down by a TSA agent and the woman was visibly upset.  Had she suffered previous sexual abuse?  The young woman's response was very intense and this was obviously traumatic for her. The attitude of the agent is similar to the teacher's response to a hurting 6 year old child.  Witness another example of dehumanization and indifference:

How can a human being not recognize or attend to another person's obvious suffering?  How could a teacher or a TSA agent inflict such distress on a child or an adult and just ignore the pain and embarrassment?   Does the system harden these people to not recognizing others as human beings?  Do you notice how the agent marches away after her patting down of the young woman and ignoring her emotional distress?

What is happening to Americans?  Why are we allowing schools and governmental employees to treat citizens in this manner?  Why has maintaining the system overtaken the needs of the people in the system?

Peggy Noonan has noticed this behavior as well.  From "America's Crisis of Character":

I think more and more people are worried about the American character—who we are and what kind of adults we are raising.

Every story that has broken through the past few weeks has been about who we are as a people. And they are all disturbing.

A tourist is beaten in Baltimore. Young people surround him and laugh. He's pummeled, stripped and robbed. No one helps. They're too busy taping it on their smartphones. That's how we heard their laughter. The video is on YouTube along with the latest McDonald's beat-down and the latest store surveillance tapes of flash mobs. Groups of teenagers swarm into stores, rob everything they can, and run out. The phenomenon is on the rise across the country. Police now have a nickname for it: "flash robs."

Also starring on YouTube this week was the sobbing woman. She's the poor traveler who began to cry great heaving sobs when a Transportation Security Administration agent at the Madison, Wis., airport either patted her down or felt her up, depending on your viewpoint and experience. Jim Hoft of TheGatewayPundit.com recorded it, and like all the rest of the videos it hurts to watch. When the TSA agent—an adult, a middle aged woman—was done, she just walked away, leaving the passenger alone and uncomforted, like a tourist in Baltimore. 

She continues:

In New York the past week a big story has been about 16 public school teachers who can't be fired even though they've acted unprofessionally. What does "unprofessionally" mean in New York? Sex with students, stalking students, and, in one case, standing behind a kid, simulating sex, and saying, "I'll show you what gay is." 

The kids in the flash mobs: These are their teachers. 

Finally, as this column goes to press, the journalistic story of the week, the Los Angeles Times's decision to publish pictures of U.S. troops in Afghanistan who smilingly posed with the bloody body parts of suicide bombers. The soldier who brought the pictures to the Times told their veteran war correspondent, David Zucchino, that he was, in Zucchino's words, "very concerned about what he said was a breakdown in . . . discipline and professionalism" among the troops.

In isolation, these stories may sound like the usual sins and scandals, but in the aggregate they seem like something more disturbing, more laden with implication, don't they? And again, these are only from the past week.

The leveling or deterioration of public behavior has got to be worrying people who have enough years on them to judge with some perspective.

Something seems to be going terribly wrong.

Maybe we have to stop and think about this.

Maybe when people are viewed as human capital instead of human beings...
  • and the most valuable aspect of who they are is information to be data mined for what they can contribute to a workforce, 
  • and they are continually reduced to being referred to as a subset instead of an individual,
  • and they are physically touched and searched for no reason other than they have been randomly selected for such a procedure, 
  • and they are punched out, robbed, stripped naked and no one stops to help...but there are plenty of people who assist in the crime, 
the dehumanization of Americans is to be expected.  When we are all "common" and reduced to data, to treat others with dignity is not supported by the system and must be mitigated.  We are left alone and uncomforted, as Noonan contends.

Something IS terribly wrong in America.  We have a poverty of the soul.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep it clean and constructive. We reserve the right to delete comments that are profane, off topic, or spam.

Site Meter