Posted: August 25, 2012 in Life, Society
Tags: , , , , , , ,

When most people hear someone mention the word education, schools automatically come to mind. In previous posts, I have touched on my own education and my family’s education.

I was once asked which taught me my greatest lessons, life or school. I could say life, because I’ve lived more years than I’ve been in school. Truth is, school was the catalyst to my becoming a citizen of the world.

The epiphany of a world outside of my limited world came to me as a young child. It has driven me to question everything I know. This was annoying to my teachers.

My favorite pastime was questioning and arguing with my teachers about conclusions made in my english and history textbooks. I was no blind follower. This trait, at times, could be problematic.

At least I wasn’t boring. I also questioned race, my own included. It infuriated many that I could make a convincing argument for and against horrendous topics such as slavery or racial persecution.

I, of course, always ended that neither was moral and I’d rather be moral and kind.  I felt that only thoughtful, frank discussions about bigotry was the best way to combat it. So being politically correct was a cop-out.

I was also angry about the purposeful whitewashing of American history. I recall my textbook spending less than two pages on atrocities committed by Americans. The Civil War was romanticized, rather than being truthful about evil-doers from the North and South.

I never bought the story that the United States was the greatest country in the world. We may be the wealthiest, but that doesn’t make a nation great. Americans can and have been generous, loving and proud.

I am proud to be an American, but won’t be a mindless drone spewing out self-serving rhetoric. I much prefer honesty, in her bitter or sweet form.

Life, not school, taught me about the wide spectrum of the human condition and my reaction to it. In my early 20’s, I had to take 2 buses at 6:30am to work at the garment district of downtown Los Angeles.

I was a clerk for a clothing manufacturer. The garment district was comprised of warehouses, the homeless, contruction or sanitation workers and the working poor illegal aliens.

I walked 3 blocks from the bus stop to work. Disgusting, obscene construction workers plagued me with vile tongue and finger gestures. This happened, without fail, ever damn day.

Then one day, I was walking with other female coworkers and I couldn’t take it anymore. I marched, with fire in my soul, to the pigs. Face to face, I cussed them out.

I told them that I hoped their wives or mothers never encounter scum like them. They never said a word again. Confrontation was a good thing. Fighting back became my new mantra.

When an able-bodied guy with a cane tried to mug me, I took the cane and hit his shins. Down he went. I told him, if I ever saw him again I would beat him to death. He believed me.

Education comes in all forms. The stuff that ends up on a resume may not be your greatest assets. Everyday, I try to learn more. I don’t want to just learn about pleasant things.

I want to learn about ‘real’ things that matter. The world is my classroom and recess is over.

  1. Doris says:

    If my father was alive he would love this post. He had an obsession with history and he would always say they got it wrong. HA! The more I read your blog the more I think you should write a book, your prose is great and many of us can identify with this.


  2. sagedoyle says:

    your narratives are profoundly expressed, they are personal, but they are each a complete story, and you enable the readers to identify with what you have to say, thanks for inviting me to have a look, keep it up!


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