this is just sad

Today's WaPo tells us that "Despite Lessons on King, Some Unaware of His Dream."

"In a recent survey of college students on U.S. civic literacy, more than 81 percent knew that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was expressing hope for 'racial justice and brotherhood' in his historic 'I Have a Dream' speech.

That's the good news.

Most of the rest surveyed thought King was advocating the abolition of slavery."

Maybe it's because I studied Political Science & History in college, but I find this very sad.

To think that King - in a
recorded speech given in the 1960's - was advocating abolition of slavery would mean that you would have to believe that slavery existed in the 1960's. Beatles, Vietnam, Hippies, Television ... and Slavery. Which one of those does not go with the others?

Call me crazy, but I think by the time you reach college this is something basic you should have a handle on. Even if you don't know the historical facts, a college student should be able to deduct that a speech given in the 1960's was about something other than slavery.

Sigh .... I shouldn't be surprised. There's a reason why there's that saying about people not knowing history being doomed to repeat it. Happens all the time. Which is why I was happy to hear Pre-Vatican II Novitiate horror stories at dinner today from some of my "older in religion" compatriots. Now that I know about what it was like for them, I won't be doomed to repeat it! (Penances, faults, and bells ... oh my!) It also helps me gain some perspective on what it's like today.

Back to the main topic of this post, I wonder what would happen if we spent as much time, money and resources on educating our world's children as we do fighting the war on terrorism (or the "ism" of any given era). Maybe we'd all learn to get along? ... I know, a crazy thought. One might even call it a dream.


Anonymous said...

I was no history scholar, trust me on this one - I hated it every year I was forced to study it. I couldn't tell you the exact year slavery was abolished, but even I know it wasn't around in the 60's - or for many decades before that! Do these students have no common sense or deductive reasoning skills? Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I just might be a little slow ( wouldn't be the first time :) ) what what is wrong with penances, faults and bells? Many orders still have them today ( most at least have bells ) and they seem to be doing fine.
Pax Christi

Susan Rose Francois, CSJP said...

Lili - thanks for the comment on my tangent. I was not intending to downgrade the importance of taking responsibility for one's actions and having structure to one's day. Those are important things, but I think there is room for growth in all things including how religious communities approach and include those facets to their lives.

My silly tangent was in response to dinner conversation peppered with very interesting stories of what it was like before, and my happiness that for me it is no longer that way in our community.

To give an idea of the context - one of the stories involved having broken a filing cabinet and then had to kneel on the floor holding the filing cabinet during dinner. Another was the less than 5 foot Sister who broke a lamp larger than her which she brought in to dinner for faults.

In my community at least times have changed and I for one am glad. When the stove broke, we put in a requisition to get it fixed. Seems more reasonable to me.

Hope that helps give context to my comment. And I doubt you're slow!