Sunday, October 17, 2004

America the Uneducated

So I was reading this editorial, and it made me think of a previous experience of mine.

We all know that a vast majority of Americans are underinformed or simply uninterested in current affairs, and particularly, issues of international concern. We blame it on education. I blame it on isolationism.

In 2002, I was hanging out with a Gypsy (or Roma if you prefer), and met his family. They were among the 10% of Gypsies in Hungary who retain cultural identity, meaning that they speak the Roma language (the dialect most prevalent in Hungary) and maintain traditional customs.

I spoke with the men and the women. The women in the family had even more limited education than the men. The most educated had an 8th grade education. And yet, as we discussed the Israel-Palestinian conflict, they were remarkably well informed, and had an excellent grasp of the issues at stake in the region. Undoubtedly, they sided more with the Palestinians, being an oppressed group themselves, but even so, they didn't resort to the incredibly biased rhetoric one often finds among pro-Palestinians in the U.S. In short, these uneducated people, part of the most looked-down upon minority in Europe, had a better grasp of international affairs than half of the kids I went to college with.

I think this is a testament to something. Maybe it is a testament to the fact that education isn't everything, and independent thought is everything. Maybe it is a testament to the fact that an oppressed minority will be more likely to look at international issues. Whatever the reason, it serves as a sobering reminder of American narrowmindedness.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've tried to learn as much as I can and I still don't have an informed opinion on this one...

12:00 AM  

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