THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 2023
Teaching American history: Go figure!
Somehow, Nicholas Kristof decided to run for governor of Oregon (his home state) without checking to see if he was eligible to do so under Oregon law.
It turned out that he wasn't! As evidenced by his column in today's New York Times, Oregon's loss was the journalistic world's gain.
Kristof writes from Tilonia, India. He isn't frisking the latest minutia concerning the round-the-clock effort to throw you-know-who in jail.
Instead, he's describing an attempt to create a better world for some good, decent people who deserve one. At the start of his column, he introduces to the kind of person who will never be mentioned on our self-impressed blue tribe's repulsive multimillionaure cable.
Headline included, he describes a good, decent person:
Can’t Read? Here’s a ‘Barefoot College’ for You.
TILONIA, India — It’s the Harvard of rural India, minus wingtips or heels: a 50-year-old institution called Barefoot College that offers lessons for empowering people worldwide. Maybe even in America.
Barefoot College does empowerment as well as any institution I’ve ever seen, and here’s what that looks like in the rural state of Rajasthan: An illiterate woman named Chota Devi who never attended a day of school is hunched over a circuit board, carefully using color-coded instructions to solder resistors and diodes into place.
Chota, who has no idea how old she is, is a Dalit, those at the bottom of the caste system once known as untouchables, and from a particularly low-ranking group called the Valmiki who often cleaned human waste.
“I will have more knowledge than my husband,” Chota noted slyly. When she goes home, villagers now call her “Madam.” It’s partly a joke, partly a show of respect.
Chota is a good, decent person. According to Kristof, she has five children, none of whom are currently attending school, but she wants that to change.
“I’m working with women who know how to read and write, so now I want my children to learn as well,” Kristof quotes her saying. You will never hear about people like this from our own blue tribe's millionaire hacks.
Chota is a Dalit, Kristof says. The leading authority on the topic offers this overview:
Dalit (from Sanskrit: meaning "broken/scattered"), also previously known as untouchable, is the lowest stratum of the castes in India. Dalits were excluded from the four-fold varna system of Hinduism and were seen as forming a fifth varna, also known by the name of Panchama. Dalits now profess various religious beliefs, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Christianity, and Islam. Scheduled Castes is the official term for Dalits as per the Constitution of India.
The term Dalit is a self-applied concept for those called the "untouchables" and others that were outside of the traditional Hindu caste hierarchy. Economist and reformer B. R. Ambedkar (1891–1956) said that untouchability came into Indian society around 400 CE, due to the struggle for supremacy between Buddhism and Brahmanism (an ancient term for Brahmanical Hinduism)...
In the late 1880s, the Marathi word 'Dalit' was used by Mahatma Jotiba Phule for the outcasts and Untouchables who were oppressed and broken in the Hindu society. Dalit is a vernacular form of the Sanskrit... In Classical Sanskrit, this means "divided, split, broken, scattered."
Untouchability came into Indian society around the year 400. In our view, such facts should be an inherent part of teaching our brutal American history to our American public school kids at an appropriate age.
Our nation's brutal racial history is one part of the frequently brutal human history which has prevailed around the world since the dawn of time. To wit:
In this morning's New York Times, Troy Closson profiles a bunch of kids at Brooklyn Tech who are taking the College Board's Advanced Placement course in African American studies. The good, decent kids in that high school class deserve to know the global context of the brutal American history they're currently learning about.
Those good, decent kids will instantly know how to care about "the wretched of the earth." Kids like them are decent and good. They will want to be told about this.
Along the way, they will learn that the suffering inflicted on the American group with which they identify was part of a much wider human moral problem. You must resolve not to be this way, a trusted teacher may tell them.
Kids like them will understand the meaning of this larger lesson. On the other hand, you will never hear about any of this on the clown-like corporate "cable news" channel devoted to pimping the Storylines which please our own self-impressed tribe.
Let's save those good, decent kids from us and from our wretched instincts! Let's teach them about our world's history. We can guarantee that they'll care.
"We in America could learn from this approach in rural India," Kristof writes near the end of his column about Barefoot College. "The United States as well must do better providing training in technical skills to people who have been left behind."
The woods are lovely, dark and deep. Even within our infallible tribe, our instincts aren't always the best.