Facts: We Don’t Hide Them, We Clarify Them.

I’ve written about winning an essay contest when I was in college in which I argued that we should keep teaching texts that contain disturbing content, but not to support or glorify this information but to make sure that this is not hidden or whitewashed. It was and still is important to me that no one should forget history–even literary history. Always know what has been popular or acceptable–for good or ill. It informs your understanding of how cultures evolve and groups dominate.

I do want to revisit what I just noted: That preserving the information should not be to glorify or support the negative. The awareness of this negativity should be for educational purposes. It should not be meant to continue victimization.

With this in mind, the removing of publicly displayed historical emblems that glorify those who openly fought for causes that supported oppression is a service to citizens, not a revision of history. Now, if we removed all references to the Civil War from textbooks or did not show the images of participants on both sides, we would be doing a disservice to history and to future generations who need to know the full story, from both sides. This is the only way to understand how any war or treaty is formed.

No one is asking any publishers to remove people like Robert E. Lee from the textbooks. We just don’t want to see him in bronze anywhere–outside of a museum exhibit maybe where the theme is related to the topic of misplaced investment in glorification or political monuments through the centuries. That would then be educational and voluntary viewing. Again: Adjusting the perspective is not necessarily revisionist–it is a corrective action that enables everyone to learn full content in the correct context.

There is an Opinion piece in the New York Times by Caroline Randall Williams titled “You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body is a Confederate Monument.” (https://nyti.ms/383rugG) that addresses this very concept. She and others like Playon Patrick, a young poet among other accomplishments for one so young (2020 Quarantine Killings https://youtu.be/FpFbBuZi2sM), are restoring the balance, the record, to reflect a truth that has existed and has been known but has not been fully understood or, frankly, cared about by many. I’m grateful to be able to learn what I did not know to look for, and to learn it both subjectively and objectively. I am grateful to receive this in such a masterful presentation that humbles me as a writer.

A New Direction for an Established Interest

calvin and hobbes

I am pleased to announce my acceptance to the Literacy in Education program at Rutgers University. While I hold a masters in English from NYU, the dominant focus of my studies, research, and employment has been founded on the idea of literacy itself: How do people acquire their skills and improve them? Reading comprehension is the core of writing’s strength. Without the experience of and access to a wide range of texts and writing styles, how can you develop your own voice–fact-based or fictional? It’s like a guitarist with no heroes or a poet with no muse!

I miss learning. I miss being in a community of learners. The inspiration to discover and to share those discoveries has been languishing somewhat. My corporate colleagues are all seekers of knowledge in some form and are involved in discovery and invention, but not all are in the same field of interest. I need to be able to be on the same wavelength with a similar knowledge base. The variety that they bring to our conversations is enjoyable and necessary for my own growth, but I am falling behind in my own field while they are moving forward in theirs. It’s time to flourish again!

The only way to do so is to rejoin academia—for me at least. For others, that is not the only option. It’s not necessary to be acknowledged by a formal body to have proof of learning, knowledge, or intelligence. It is, however, one way to at least prove two out of three (more on that another time) and to receive formal credentials with which to pursue career goals.

So let’s see if this returning student still has the chops to make the idea a reality. It may be that I don’t have the resilience that I once possessed. Or I may be better equipped now for the challenges, personal and intellectual, that loom. Regardless, I’m admitted and committed and it’s up to time and effort to produce the results.