Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Michelle and the Standard Line.

I got a little annoyed with Michelle Obama today. I read that she’d visited an East London school (when the British media uses the term ‘East London school’ it usually equates to ‘a school in a deprived inner city area’ although I can’t know for certain in this case) where she gave the kids – all wide-eyed, I expect, at having America’s First Lady standing only feet away from them – the standard address on the value of education.

According to the news report she not only lectured them on the need to work hard at getting a good education, but went so far as to tell them that a good education guarantees success in life. This was going to be a long post, but I’ll keep it brief:

1. Does Mrs Obama not realise that ghetto and near-ghetto culture is different from mainstream culture and puts tremendous pressure on kids not to get a good education – to the point where so doing can be extremely dangerous?

2. Has she considered the question ‘how many people with degrees are unemployed and claiming welfare?’ I gather it’s lots. Guarantee? I don’t think so.

3. Is she not aware of a recent report which concluded that young people are being put under unfair, unreasonable, maybe intolerable, and certainly potentially damaging pressure by both the system and parents to ‘get a good education’ irrespective of the stress it’s causing? My stepfather did that to me when I was around ten. It carries the implied corollary of suggesting how worthless you will be if you don’t get a good education. It isn’t nice and it shouldn’t happen.

I’m not against education. Education is generally good (although I often wonder just how much it’s designed to make people happy and open minded, and how much it’s designed simply to reinforce the Hum of Mother Culture. I even wonder sometimes how honest it is.) But there’s a balance to be considered and I do believe we’re loading far too much weight on one side. I’m also disappointed when somebody with the gravitas of America’s First Lady travels 3,000 miles just to deliver the standard Establishment line.

Was that short enough? Shutting down and going for a shower now.

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