Who develops the curriculum we currently use in our modern educational system?Why do you hold certain beliefs about what it means to be you, as an American – – your racial identity, or gender roles, etc. In realty, our educational and familial indoctrinations systems teach us, fundamentally, who we are as citizens. We are also programmed via the entertainment industry including: movies, music, internet and other media. If one can agree to these facts you might ask “what, if anything, is wrong with this occurring”. After all, it is a primary goal of any modern, civilized society to educate its populous so that it is able to thrive, globally in the world market. It is assumed and has been proven that the more literate a population, the more advanced and powerful it often becomes.
Oddly enough, most of us never question the accuracy of the programming we receive but we should do exactly that. The modern educational, familial, and cultural systems can sometimes skew, distort or only provide partial facts related to our individual and collective identity, as well as our past history – – perpetuating a gross misinformation campaign. In the book, Lies My Teacher Told Me by Dr. James Loewen, the author describes specific events in history that we continue to teach in schools that are not factually true. For example, we still depict the aboriginal natives of the Americas as savages who needed outside help for survival, while not describing early American settlers as immigrants. Even in many celebratory holidays, we place the emphasis on the smallest, positive aspects of its cultural relevance while omitting its more complicated historical roots. As a result, many in this society grow up believing half-truths and even lies about their ancestors and brethren creating long lasting divisions.
In addition, the modern educational system has held within its vast walls another agenda called the “Hidden Curriculum.” This curriculum goes beyond the basics of reading, writing and academic learning to lessons about what it means to be a human being. Students receive lessons about teamwork, following orders, how to get along with others and how to succeed. School hallways display endless quotes and mantras about the greatness of the human spirit and its ability to rise above most circumstances but the importance of individuality and thinking for one’s self is not highly stressed. They even teach lessons on personal character, especially in sports where children are encouraged to utilize their talents to the fullest. In reality, life is not always just and fair. Most will experience disappointment, hardship or loss at some point. Privilege does exist in many forms and some will not be able to catch up to those who already have the winning advantage. Yet, we still propose these platitudes and instill in children that everyone is a winner or #1 in a world where there are also other scores. It should be noted that being #1 does not determine your destiny anymore than not achieving this goal. Our current world has been based upon the idea of there being a working class of people who provide the labor to fuel society for the few who may reap the financial benefits. The rich keep getting richer while the poor remain stagnant, allowing for the current economic divide (the haves and the have nots). We sell the dream that everyone can make it (and many do) but sometimes hopes and dreams are lost.
We have also been taught through our spiritual and religious teachings that humans are here to procreate. It is assumed that because one has the ability to procreate, it means that you are also healthy in mind, body, spirit and equipped to become parents. Parenting is not just being a caregiver to children, which is extremely important. Parents are also the first teachers – – particularly women, whose job is to attune to their children and give them a sense of belonging, safety, love and self identity. This foundation is crucial for any child’s emotional and psychological development. It also helps establish the foundation from which all children grow into adulthood. But what happens to a child’s emotional, physical, and spiritual development if parents are suffering from mental illness, alcoholism, or abusive, etc? What if the parents have a distorted moral compass? Or worse, none at all? As a society, we have not infringed upon the human right to procreate by instituting and regulating a sort of “parental fitness test” but we should at the very least acknowledge that children are not guaranteed the same advantages at birth. A person’s birthright depends on the family unit one is born into. Whether it is well adjusted, economically privileged, literate and race etc. Society can not regulate the morals, values, and traditional thought introduced to these young minds. I definitely would not advocate governmental interference in one’s rights to procreate, nor on a parent’s right to rear their child as they deem appropriate. At a minimum, however, perhaps we should collectively change the narrative by creating a cultural environment where we formally recognize the challenges of parenting and offer concrete support. Many could benefit across racial, socioeconomic, and religious affiliations.
Finally, the entertainment industry and celebrities have been great influencers in terms of our cultural identity and position in the world. Whomever controls this massive propaganda machine can often dictate what we collectively think about ourselves and each other. Whether it is via mass media, fashion, music or some other source, these iconic industries have the ability to influence and shape the perceptions, norms, and actions of millions of children without explicitly stating the obvious. The only question that remains is whether we, as as a society, agree with the content and messages. Does it support the masses for the highest good of everyone. Or, is it leading us astray? Our culture is more materialistic and narcissistic than ever, placing issues of character and integrity as outdated personal goals for the masses. At times our religious institutions, who seemingly hold the moral authority within or society, have faltered in its unwillingness to uphold its fundamental principles, especially as it relates to brotherly love. It not surprising that our society elevates certain pop culture norms (facebook, snapchat, twitter, instagram, etc.) as the means to express ourselves to the point of presenting hateful speech, false images, and misinformation without accountability or just for “likes.” Direct human interaction is diminishing as we become less tolerant, compassionate, and emotionally available for authentic relationships.
Potentially, there is no turning back from the three vast indoctrination systems we have willingly embraced. I only wish that we would occasionally question what we accept as the norm and maybe relook, rethink, reevaluate what we are accepting. To question one’s perceptions and information is to be a fully “woke” human. You get to decide what is truth for you and your family. Lies can’t exist as long as the facts don’t support them. We can change many perceptions and our current national tribalism to establish a more accurate narrative of what we have been, who we are, and what we dream to be in the future as united people. No one needs to sugar coat or misrepresent our collective mistakes and triumphs. No need to whitewash information that forces us to remain fearful, shameful, or live with a false sense of superiority or inferiority. The idea that our journeys have been intertwined, perhaps destined for some greater purpose for the sake of humankind may seem like radical teaching but at least it offers a platform for authentic dialogue, debate and mutual understanding.
First, however, we must collectively identify where are the parasites and decide whether we want to continue feeding them. Who will hold the ultimate power over your mind?