The Need for Equality in Education
Jiddu Krishnamurti became one of the world’s greatest thinkers and religious teachers in the 1920’s. Wisely, he once taught, “The ability to observe without evaluation is the highest form of intelligence.” Unfortunately, mankind evolved in the opposite direction of this advice, and judges others unjustifiably. Specifically, the decision to withhold access to education on an equal-opportunity basis to certain groups fits this criteria of wrongful “evaluation”. Ultimately, this mistake will lead to greater destruction towards the oppressors than the victims. The first to suffer will be entrepreneurs. Business owners rely on their pool of customers to be diverse. Segregation limits consumer numbers. Even simple work-force segregation could lead to a devastating boycott. Even if only one person refuses to make education available to all, the influence of one man can not only kill thousands of Jews, but lead to the inevitable downfall of Adolf Hitler himself. Women without as much right to be seen in public without male escorts in Middle Eastern countries suffer in unnecessary subjugation. Men claim to understand their holy Koran to mean that women must not only remain under male control, but she must be beaten, humiliated, and even killed should she disobey. However, the prophet Muhammad himself taught that fathers must treat their daughters respectfully, and should regard them as equals to their sons. Those refusing to grant education to the oppressed may gain power over their victims, but withholding basic human rights consumes focus and hinders further mental growth for the oppressors.
Oppressors have only an imagined grasp of control over their victims. Let us imagine for a moment the life of a king: he is the last word, the final authority and judgement among his subjects. He makes the last, but not the first. Yes, he makes decisions and everyone must obey, but his place in power is determined by the people’s decision not to oust him from the throne. The people, his royal guard, all remain loyal as long as he can maintain the image of strength and credible leadership. Kings only rule if there are people willing to be ruled, and entrepreneurs only sell if there are buyers. They only sell as much as people buy. Plato uses a metaphorical ‘cave’ to tell the story of prisoners in darkness, chained so they cannot even see the sunlight enter the cave. The effort of holding someone back from education takes time and willpower that could be used for other activities, like taking mental journeys into one’s own light.
People who oppress others will in turn oppress themselves. The chains, it can be assumed, are oppressors preventing the ascension of the people to metaphorical light, or enlightenment. Those chains, in holding their prisoners, remain also in the darkness. William Mangino wrote an article for Hofstra University about the negative effects privilege has on educational endeavors. He provided data representing the difference between privileged students and their lower status maintaining peers. As it turned out, people as much in the past as today are less likely to continue to higher education if they are in the top one percent of privileged humans. The richest kids will fall out of education, or make less efforts to obtain a degree. Mangino calls it the “’privilege hypothesis’: because privileged people have more informal opportunities to deploy a given level of human capital, they opt out of education at earlier points than their less privileged counterparts. The less privileged…have fewer informal opportunities to exchange human capital and they…pursue…more education… [to gain] comparable status” Without the need for more money, there is no feeling of emergency to obtain a higher status. These people feel at the height of life, and therefore have no need to be educated.
There shouldn’t be any assumption that the high life is detrimental to the lives of these people, on the contrary, privilege means more opportunity for them. However, this contentment drives away motivation for mental growth. This separation from education leaves the person vulnerable to ‘evaluating’ their peers, even underprivileged but educated peers, incorrectly. This dangerous response is not automatic among groups. It is spawned from a single source. The world witnessed one of the worst judges of humans during World War II. The passions of one man swayed armies of men to hate and to murder. Those mistaken to believe in personal supremacy without viewing the entire truthful world spread their opinionated views, the hatred, and the prejudice. This separates groups from each other that work better when together, like men and women.
The sensitive topic that is ‘gender issues’ usually ends up in a battle of the sexes: Men vs Women. The better way to speak our minds as ladies is to speak in terms men can relate to.Men understand progress. They will understand us if we tell them how our freedom, our educational rights, will add to their progress. Should men and women band together in that intellectual journey, what progress will we finally find, hand in hand? In this time of technological leaps, women have been allowed education and so much more. In 2009, about 43.2 million women had jobs in the United States. Women are closer to equality today than in the sixties when women worked less than half as much as men. Yet, men in 2009 had about ten million more workers than women. This new era of global communication and transactions should continue to fight for those last steps towards true gender equality across the globe.
The men of today should not be blamed for the abuse and oppression of women one hundred years ago. Instead, sit with your younger brothers and explain how this knowledge of history should cause them as much pain as it causes us. A conversation about gender equality should not merely allow exclusively female audiences to join. A conversation about any type of equality should mirror the purpose of the words spoken with parallel actions. Frederick Douglass realized how much mistreatment he received from his white mistress when she was ordered by her husband to stop teaching him, but, “Slavery proved as injurious to her as it did to me” (185). Women need to have equal education, equal pay, and even equal judgement if any. There are still entire nations that need to be led out of their caves. Any tolerance for human subjugation will mean the spread of “injurious” darkness over the entire world.
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Mangino, William. “The Negative Effects of Privilege on Educational Attainment: Gender, Race,
Class, and the Bachelor’s Degree.” Social Science Quarterly 95.3 (2014): 760-84. Wiley
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Plato. “The Allegory of the Cave”. The McGraw-Hill Reader: Issues across the Disciplines.
Gilbert H. Muller, Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2014. 583-586.
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