Sunday, March 11, 2007

Gloria Steinem on Education in and out of School

From an article in the Guardian:

"I had the good luck of missing school until I was 12 or so. My parents thought that seeing the country from a trailer or caravan was as educational as a classroom, so I escaped the discouragement that, especially in my generation, came with it. I wasn't taught that boys and girls were practically different species, that America was "discovered" when the first white guy set foot on it, or that Europe deserved more space in my textbooks than Asia and Africa combined. I didn't even learn that people at the top were smarter than people at the bottom.

Instead I grew up seeing with my own eyes, following my curiosity, falling in love with books and learning mostly from being around grown-ups - which, except for the books, was the way kids had been raised for most of human history. With no one to tell me that some people were born to poverty or that women weren't leaders, but married or gave birth to them, I just assumed that hope could lead anyone anywhere.

Needless to say, school hit me like a ton of bricks. I wasn't prepared for gender obsession, race and class complexities or the new-to-me idea that war, male leadership and a God who mysteriously resembled the ruling class were inevitable. Soon I gave in and became an adolescent trying to fit in, pretending I didn't know what I knew, and keeping my hopes to myself - a stage that lasted through college. I owe the beginnings of rebirth to living in India for a couple of years and falling in with a group of Gandhians, then coming home to the Kennedys, the civil rights movement and protests against the war in Vietnam."

1 comment:

Gill said...

Great quote. Thanks!