“Something’s been said,” is a quote used by members of my extended, Southern family. Although I was raised in the Midwest, I’d heard this phrase every time something suspicious happened within our clan. It means that there is something definitely wrong, unexplainable, off-putting, or weird going on with a family member, friend or associate but no one knows how to explain it or wants to expose the real issues. Details are often missing or simply don’t add up. No one could evaluate a situation with clarity or objectivity in an environment where hidden secrets and lies existed. As a child, I instinctively knew when a story didn’t make sense, and my facial expression often reflected it.
After moving south, a native North Carolinian told me that her grandmother told her to “hide yo crazy”. The statement made me laugh out loud because it reminded me of the stories we often share that provide half the facts that simply do not add up. It’s another way of saying “something’s been said“. Most people don’t internally question what they hear. Too few are willing to investigate, research or debate a topic before making a decision. There is an even smaller group who will allow room for a presumption of innocence until proof has been obtained.
In the late 70’s and early 80’s, a show called “Different Strokes” was a favorite in my household. I particularly loved the young son, played by former child actor Gary Coleman, who would question information that didn’t make sense to him…. something would have been said for sure!
In this section of Hide Yo Crazy …. Something’s Been Said, we’ll examine cultural, familial, relational, and current events, and provide a platform to examine and perhaps debate these matters in terms of appropriateness, accuracy, and relevancy. Guest writers will also participate to allow for different perspectives on subjects. I am hopeful that we will be able to unveil some of the different viewpoints and allow us to gain a better understanding of what may really be happening within our own minds as well as relationships. Come back soon …check out this video until we chat again.
We are currently witnessing the greatest civics lesson while our government is investigating the American insurrection that occurred following the 2020 presidential election. It is quite extraordinary and almost unbelievable that such an event would even occur on these united shores. Yet – it did happen before the entire world with the state of our democracy blowing in the wind. Using this backdrop of events for our final class salon discussion, we will now review the American compulsory education system and critique its results in indoctrinating our citizenry. Whether our educational curriculum and its methods have been successful is still debated as one looks at the state of our union and the mindset of the people. Former American presidents have understood the value of establishing a compulsory public education system since its inception in the early 1920s with the Smith-Tower bill which led to the establishment of the National Education Association. Funding public schools became the national mandate as ALL children were required to attend united under common curriculums to teach what it means to become an “educated American”. The educational system was not always equal but eventually barriers would be legally broken down in order to create a more “perfect union”.
Today, we are being challenged to understand how and why Americans continue to debate HIS-torical facts with an attempt to rewrite HIS–story. It is quite obvious that something insidious is being said in broad daylight unfiltered and unhinged. Most understand the importance of controlling the narrative within the compulsory education system. It allows those in POWER to indoctrinate – – whether truthfully or falsely – – future generations. Perhaps this is part of the reason we are facing the greatest existential challenge to democracy since the American revolution in 1776 . The halls of our schools have provided the environment for testing our democratic social experiment by indoctrinating children with the most accurate information available (or so it was believed). Many Americans now know that we’ve been lied to about a lot things taught in our schools. We are now also seeing an assault on facts as those in POWER attempt to suppress trUth in favor of outright lies or misinformation to hide reality.
Each decade, American public policy makers have refined the compulsory education system and its curriculums to educate a future workforce with the necessary knowledge and skills to function in an increasingly CHANGING world. The blue print for achieving this goal has continued to be a challenge as various political parties disagree about what it means to be “educated “ in this country. Indoctrination is not necessarily a negative thing since it can provide a common framework for its citizenry to understand who they are, its government and our collective role in a democratic society. If we look at current controversies and chasms within our culture, it has become obvious that we have failed to teach the undeniable trUths and realities of democracy and the fragility of this American experiment.
All of these U.S. states have all enacted legislation to re-write American history, rename American events including slavery or even banned books and other freedoms.
Most recently, we have American states trying to censor or outright ban the usage of certain books. In 2020, the American Library Association stated that its Office of Intellectual Freedom reported 273 books were affected by censorship attempts. Many of these books had content that highlighted race, gender and/or sexuality. Several states are also completely cutting funding for books written by authors from specific communities. This policy directly impacts Black and LBTQ+ authors whose subject matter focuses on their experiences and backgrounds. For example, Texas is even trying to ban former first lady Michelle Obama’s biography. WOW! Other states are trying to CHANGE the narrative about past HIS-torical facts calling slavery by different names including “involuntary relocation”. WOW again! Most are fighting against Critical Race Theory (CRT) arguing that it teaches racism versus simply reporting what actually occurred in this country and the long term implications. Our citizenry seems to have no idea or very little understanding about our country’s past mistakes and the contributions of some of our ancestors choosing to see the “other” as not being trUly American. Some argue that discussing trUth will make certain people feel bad. Wtf …WOW! All of these perspectives can not be blamed solely on the educational indoctrination system – – after all – – school districts and boards are made of everyday people. But – – we need to still shine a bright spot light on those in POWER who are attempting to re-write the trUth about us/U.S. It is very scary indeed to admit imperfections but the propaganda being used now could lead to unimaginable tyranny and destruction for values once held as sacred – – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This is no small matter!!!
If you have been a reader of my posts, then you know that I usually end on an optimistic note. I am basically a glass half full type person – – after I’ve had t-i-m-e to vent, process and evaluate most controversies. In this case, however, the attempt to suppress information and facts triggers me to my core. Something awful is being said about us/U.S but I know in my bones that there can be HIS-torical reconciliation with full disclosure of trUth. Even Great Britain has expanded its own views to “unveil” what has been HIS-torically known about slavery but not publicly acknowledged in the past by former world colonizers. Today’s political environment has made some things painfully obvious. No one is safe. No one is really free. Our inalienable rights are not untouchable. No democratic society can survive without trUth being spoken! Perhaps everything we are experiencing is a necessary step before the final CHANGES occur to ensure our republic and the survival of democracy. U.S. Delegate Patrick Henry once said “Give me liberty of give me death,” during the second Virginia Convention in 1775 as a battle cry against England’s perceived tyranny towards the early American colonies. I’m not sure if this is where we are headed but it has definitely gotten real – – 0 to 100. The fight to have access to trUthful information and books within our school curriculums (including in the soft sciences) and to maintain our democratic principles (freedom of speech and expression, free and fair elections, etc.) must not be taken away, suppressed or misrepresented. Recent events have even challenged some of our most sacred assumptions about democracy and the 2020 elections. In spite of all the controversy, however, trUth and jUstice could prevail e-v-e-n-t-u-a-l-l-y as long as WE THE PEOPLE remain resolute to the facts regardless of where they may lead us and irrespective of the chatter bellowing through our respective state flags.
Schools are an intersection of humanity comprised of every ethnicity, age, gender, class and everything else in between. At this critical point in HIS-story, what more should be said about the need for making schools SAFE for children and teachers? Do we need to now teach children how to become “bullet proof” in order to be there? Recent news stories abound related to mass shootings at various places throughout THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – – including schools, churches of worship, grocery stores, concerts, parades, malls, sporting events, mass transit systems etc. Random acts of violence further highlight the reality (not ideal) state of our union. All of these past and present tragedies are a clear indication of some American values run amok. Why are mass shootings not occurring in other civilized nations but remains uniquely an American phenomenon? It is safe to say that we cannot keep our children or anyone else safe in a society committed to unsafe policies deeply rooted in the American idealized view of the U.S. Constitution – second amendment to carry arms without being “infringed” or requiring basic restrictions. People kill people – – not guns – – as some have espoused when the discussion turns to gun control legislation. While this is trUe, it is equally trUe that it is easier to obtain military grade weapons than it is to legally drink alcohol (also known to sometimes have deadly repercussions if abused). We also cannot keep children safe in a country that has not learned how to handle bullying, troubled children and mental health issues in a more comprehensive manner. We definitely cannot keep children and others safe with politicians more committed to POWER than protecting human lives.
Every generation seems to grow up with some type of societal fear. Today we have mass shootings. A 2018 Pew study found more than 50 percent of teenagers were concerned that a shooting would happen in their school, with 25 percent of them being “very worried”.
EVY Poumpouras – Author of Becoming Bullet Proof and former Special Agent, United States Secret Service
In writing this post, I thought about retelling the recent tragic incidents at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas with 21 innocent children and two teachers being gunned down by an isolated, troubled teenager using an assault rifle he legally purchased on his 18th birthday. After hearing the news, I tried not to imagine the scared faces and fragile bodies of the children and their teachers but the images would not go away in my mind’s eye. My heart cracked each time the faint imagined final moments streamed into my consciousness. The reality of such events reinforced just how unsafe we ALL truly are in this country. As more details of the events continued to be “unveiled,” fear vibrated with such intensity throughout our communities, it is now hard to imagine schools or any other community spaces as being a safe. How sad, unfortunate and angry does this make you feel?
As I’ve stated previously under my blogging section “why do good teachers quit” related to CHANGING our educational indoctrination system, nothing ever happens in isolation or immediately. Our schools are directly linked to the broader collective societal values, culture and psyche. To the extent society is healthy in mind, body and spirit, both individuals and our government, determine how SAFE our children, teachers and others will or won’t be today, tomorrow and in the future. We are – – for better or worse – – intertwined needing all parts to function healthily to make the whole.
We have to embrace the moral decline in this country. Our kids are exposed to a lot of stuff that’s harmful to them with video games, these violent video games. Some of the rap music they listen to is not healthy. We need to address this kind of stuff.
Taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens is not the answer. That just leaves all the criminals with the weapons, and the law-abiding citizens with nothing to defend themselves with.
Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson – – Response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas
Until Americans are willing to face America trUthfully (not just the good but the bad and ugly), we are potentially headed into an abyss of despair as more children, teachers and others face uncertain and perilous times. This doesn’t have to be this way if WETHE PEOPLE, as a collective, decide to CHANGE what it means to “bear arms” and under what legal circumstances. Establishing reasonable gun control legislation with restrictions, protections and consequences is a necessary component for making everyone safer contrary to the position taken by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and some politicians. We also have to address the broader societal ills like mental health, bullying, isolated/troubled children and violence glamorized in the mass media and broader culture. Even law enforcement has come under scrutiny for its varied tactical responses to addressing crime and mass shootings (sometimes heroic/deescalating/ stopping a target and/or lacking empathy/cowardice). For example, news reports are now alleging that some police officers stood by fearing for their own lives or even ran into Robb Elementary School to rescue their own children while the gunman was barricaded inside a classroom. All of the strategies mentioned above are an important component of a much bigger picture for overall SATEFY in this country. Arming teachers and educators is not the answer either as some politicians have proposed as a solution. It is also nearly impossible to “legislate hate” seemingly so prevalent in halls and echo chambers of our communities.
In spite of how bleak things look, one must still hold on dearly to some sliver of hope in US – – the great American experiment – – comprised of diverse humans being able to agree for once to fight for the our collective well being and safety of our children, educators, neighbors, friends etc. Even Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, made a surprise appearance in Uvalde, Texas to pay her respects and lend her celebrity to this cause. NO INNOCENT PERSON (ADULT OR CHILD) SHOULD EVER HAVE TO DIE BY GUN VIOLENCE IN SCHOOL OR ANY OTHER COMMUNITY SPACES! If we can all agree to this fundamental premise, WE have some serious advocating and work to do – – both personally within our families and legislatively with our politicians. Something troubling is being said!Mass shootings are a uniquely American problem! When you have a belief built into the very soul and culture of this country, eradicating it will literally take generations to CHANGE but CHANGE we must! This sad and tragic American phenomenon tells a lot about us/U.S. – for better or worse. What will we do to diminish gun violence and mass shootings going forward? The innocents are watching and hoping to simply have a “GOOD DAY” – – whether in a school, grocery shopping, worshipping at a church, shopping at the local mall or cheering at their favorite sporting event, etc. Where do we go from here to ensure this is possible?
As humans, we can all use different psychological defense mechanisms to protect our egos and feelings when triggered – – guilt, shame, hurt, angry, jealous, envious etc. The one most mentioned in today’s lexicon is the word – projection. Psychological projection is a common behavior in which someone attributes their own character traits, emotions, intentions, impulses or desires onto another person making the assumption that this person desires, feels, thinks the exact same way. For example, a person who is a liar might assume that ALL people are liars or an honest person believes ALL people are the exact same way without evidence to support this assertion. Most of the time, psychological projection involves the denial of some aspect of one’s own thoughts or behavior while simultaneously assuming or accusing other people of doing or thinking those same things.
So – – have I been guilty of using this defense mechanism? Yes – indeed! I have projected my own value system onto people who had not demonstrated those values, traits or characteristics. Have others used this defense mechanism towards me? Absolutely! Some have accused me of having traits not demonstrated yet those same individuals have exhibited the exact same traits or committed the very same actions towards me and others. Projection allows people to unconsciously confront unacceptable feelings or impulses without directly recognizing it in themselves.
There is no need to fret, however, because within this defensive strategy is a hidden lesson. Do not judge people without evidence – – whether positively or negatively — via first hand encounters over time. Everyone does not think, feel or act the same way. Relationships unfold gradually and people will definitely “unveil” their trUe authentic selves by their ACTIONS – – eventually. Just wait for it ………..lights, camera, ACTION. If you allow for time to pass, you will be able to see yourself clearly (both positive and negative) and whomever stands before you.
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Still interested in Phychological Defense Mechanisms?!?!?
The study of neuroscience and how the brain learns has fascinated me the most during my educational experience. There is still so much to “unveil” in this field that it remains an evolving mystery as to our brain’s complete functionality and capacity even today. Even scientists still don’t fully understand the complexities of the human brain. It remains unclear the reach of our intellectual prowess as more research into the human gift of intuition is still being explored. Yet, we know that children are born with over a billion neurons “wiring and firing” making connections throughout their entire development. With so much still unknown, questions abound about what constitutes a real life “genius” and to what extent are these abilities nurtured versus predetermined at birth or perhaps some combination of the two. Is our educational indoctrination system even structurally equipped to identify, nurture and support individuals with diverse talents at the “genius” level? If we BUMPED into one – – would we even know it? Perhaps we would simply view them as an exceptional child (most definitely trUe) or worst case scenario reject them as “weird” or “crazy”?
Meet a real life “genius” in 2022
The probability of bumping into a real life “genius” could be described as a miracle or even a lofty prospect similarly to seeing a real life unicorn. Yet some educators have speculated that each of us are born with unique and different gifts, talents and proclivities that could be called “genius” if allowed to grow and develop. Cultivating these talents would require an educational indoctrination system along with educators who have the ability to nurture this level of individuality, creativity, critical thinking and uniqueness in order to support such gifts. Our current educational system with its varied checks, balances and assessments often does not support such freedom of expression in all subjects within the normal school setting even though educators try desperately to help each student.
So, what attributes constitute a “genius” you might ask? For the sake of discussion, we will use the premise that most individuals considered to be at the “genius” level status possess the following:
Independent thinking (not a copy cat and isn’t afraid to break the mold, explore new concepts and ideas)
2) An unbroken passion, interest and concentration toward something
3) Excels in logical, abstract and creative thinking
The genius mathematician, Albert Einstein, once said, “I am not more clever. I just sit longer with a problem”. If this sentiment is true, it just may be the key personal trait one must posses to achieve the “genius” level status. Commitment to one’s gift(s) no matter how big or small, mundane or glamorous, simple or complex might just be the cornerstone for cultivating one’s unique passion or SUPER POWER. It should be noted that this does not mean that “others” or the world will acknowledge you for the effort. It often takes time for us regular people to catch up.
Children could be considered “geniuses” at birth since they are born seemingly knowing very little but have the neurological capacity to learn so much after exposure to stimuli, other humans and within the educational indoctrination system. American developmental psychologist and educator Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences proposes that “people are not born with all of the intelligence they will ever have”. This theory challenged the traditional notion that there is one single type of intelligence, also known as “g” for general intelligence, that only focuses on cognitive abilities. So what happens to make some loose this gift – – “g” – – or forget their own innate special SUPER POWERby the time they are finished schooling? Not surprising, most of us are acutely aware of the limiting parameters placed on the educational system where we continue to use antiquated strategies and outdated curriculums and standards, teach incomplete HIS-story (conformity, norms and traditions), tolerate group think and action while free independent thinking is not encouraged or supported, materialism has replaced substance and authenticity and life long learning is not widely hailed. These limitations often create the perfect conditions that limit the intellectual growth and potential for ALL children before they even have the opportunity to fully embrace and explore who they are and their unique gifts – – “g” . In recent years, it has become painfully obvious that the typical American has definitely been indoctrinated to accept conformity without questioning and to reject facts and trUth.
Both Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist Nikola Tesla and Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan faced rejection and condemned for their gifts and ideas but the belief in themselves and their unique gifts – – “g” – – proved too powerful to ignore. This is a perfect example of how those with unique abilities are not always nurtured or recognized. Our formal compulsory educational system also has limitations.
We also know that there is still so much more to explore about how the brain learns and the study of neuroscience. Our school systems tend to favor those who exhibit intelligences in the areas of math or linguistics while ignoring the others. If a student is not good at math or linguistics, they could still be “gifted” in other subjects. Many of the other gifts are not traditionally labeled as “gifted” but why? Our compulsory educational indoctrination system has not been set up to provide individualized instruction which has been typically reserved for the wealthy and others with the means to afford to hire tutors to address individual students’ needs. Since each student differs from one another, there is no logical reason to teach and assess students identically either. During COVID-19, however, we have now seen how technology – – along with master teachers – – can make it possible for more students to access a wide variety of teaching modalities and assessments depending on their needs and abilities.
As we evaluate the future of our educational indoctrination system, let us continue to support the notion that within its sacred halls are lots of “geniuses” with gifts – – “g” – – in every subject if allowed and encouraged to blossom. My only wish today is that we begin to fully appreciate the innate potential of ALL children without stifling their individuality and uniqueness. So I’m tossing this wish out into the atmosphere hoping it will resonate. CHANGE can happen even in the way we view “geniuses” – – from being rare SUPER humans to everyday human BEINGS. We owe it to the millions of children being born with unique voices and perspectives still waiting to be “unveiled.
I come with no wrapping or pretty pink bows. I am who I am, from my head to my toes. I tend to get loud when speaking my mind. Even a little crazy some of the time. I’m not a size 5 and don’t care to be. You can be you and I can be me. I try to stay strong when pain knocks me down. And the times that I cry are when no one’s around. To error is human or so that’s what they say. Well, tell me who’s perfect anyway.