Wednesday, March 31, 2010

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Why are Southerners so ignorant?

So I had an epiphany the other day, well it was a long time coming because I have always struggled with this, but I think I may have found a reason to our ignorance... and yes, I said "our", as in, I am including myself in this band of dignified Southern idiots...

I've always considered myself a smart girl, I love to learn and if my classes were engaging enough (which for the most part, tended to be) I performed pretty well in them. I was involved in after school programs, I took all Honors and AP classes, but when I moved North for college, I could not help but be slapped in the face, daily, with my clear lack of knowledge... And in the South, I was considered one of the smart ones in my class! Sure they knew VERY little about the Alamo, the Battle of San Jacinto, and that there were in fact six flags that flew over Texas... But, I didn't even realize there was an "Upper Peninsula" to Michigan and my lack of worldly knowledge was flat-out embarrassing. I covered it up as much as possible, and tried to soak up as much knowledge as possible, but living day in and day out with a Yankee has forced me to re-evaluate the situation, and ponder if it was just me, or our whole Southern mentality.
I know what you are thinking, "Good 'ol W. Bush, cleared that up for us over the last 8 years Amber" and I agree, but it isn't the Fact that Southerners lack the worldly knowledge of Northern counterparts, it's the WHY.... Why, if I have put as much time into my education as he has, why am I still so far behind?

In a book I read recently, Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, you can see my post on Outliers that provided a little insight into the education system and the differences in schooling for low income families versus higher income families... Basically it showed that due to the lower income families inability to involve their children in the after school and summer camp activities like higher income families, the lower income children lose a lot of their education over the summer. Meaning that students all learn at the same level, but due to the lack of stimulating activities, they fall behind. Well, I was from a middle class family and I did activities... So what the Heck?

So I thought a little more about my summer school and a majority of my after school activities, (which most of my Southern friends also involved in), and came to a realization.....
Most of my stimulating activity involved the church... Could it be? The church, which taught me many things about how to behave in life, taught me so little about worldly knowledge, or to question authority and "look it up myself". Could we be dumbing down our Southern generations with Jesus?
I am not going to get into a religious debate, but I am sure I could tell you the books of the New Testament, quote a parable for a troubling life issue, and go through the 10 commandments without hesitation. But ask me about the Bill of Rights and I am going to struggle, ask me to name all of the continents and I may be able to sweat them out, but it comes with a very strong maybe. Heck, ask me about to point out Iran and Iraq on a world map and I am lost.
If the church is the main place we (Southerners) turn to to raise our children with the proper values and life lessons, shouldn't we be equally as concerned about their knowledgeability in worldly lessons? Shouldn't we be instilling in them past historical lessons or worldly values. If we really want our children to succeed in world that is becoming increasingly smaller and increasingly flatter, why do we not ensure their success with education. We've seen what happens when someone that lacks this worldly knowledge comes into power... I've already named one, but I am sure we could all rattle of a bit more. How can we, the South keep going back!?!? Have you seen Texas's newest additions to our children's textbooks? It's pathetic. And even today we keep pushing more religion! Really?! My family was not even that religious and I assure you in my adult life, more religion was not what I needed. And now, we are closing schools, I believe 55 schools in this area due to lack of funds, but yet I swear I see a new mega church monthly, if not weekly.
I think it's way past time for a priority change Texas! I know Jesus said the meek would inherit the earth, but let's not make idiots out of our children to ensure the "South rises again".