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Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectKnowledge is not the same thing
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=29947&mesg_id=29985
29985, Knowledge is not the same thing
Posted by Nettrice, Sat Apr-16-05 09:18 AM
...as knowledge of self. When we are born we put our first attention on the external world, i.e. folks who are in authority. During our formative, years we start the socialization process and this includes preparation for school. Therefore, our emotional, mental and spiritual awareness is developed BEFORE we enter school and this often changes once we enter school.

For example, my parents, being the hippies they were, encouraged me to be a free spirit. This includes my awareness of nature and creativity. I knew how to read and write to some degree before I entered school. One of the first things I had to experience in school was reward and punishment. I was rewarded for being able to follow the rules and punished when I broke them. I learned that specific accomplishments garnered rewards and I did more of that. Before long I became less creative, less imaginative and less sure of myself. My knowledge became more dependent on the external but I was not being my authentic self.

One of the things that saved me was my love of art. Both these activities helped me to learn outside of the box and be more aware of my thoughts, feelings, surroundings. Notice that the first thing that gets cut in schools is art. There is a reason for this:

"Although today the word art usually refers to the visual arts, the concept of what art is has continuously changed over centuries. Perhaps the most concise definition is its broadest—art refers to all creative human endeavors, excluding actions directly related to survival and reproduction. From a wide perspective, art is simply a generic term for any product of the creative impulse, out of which sprang all other human pursuits — such as science via alchemy, and religion via shamanism." - from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art

In school our instruction is carefully programmed to reward, punish and place less value on creativity. However, for Black folks this is all we have (creativity), so we make beats in the classroom and cafeteria. We created hip-hop as a response to what was happening in our external environment. The only problem is we are often limited in how we create, our awareness of the larger picture is missing.

Schools also place less value on our culture and history, etc. In children, especially children with fewer resources, this is damaging to awareness of self. In Black children, this can be disastrous because often we are not taught how to deal with adversity, how to be creative with our responses to racism, sexism, etc. They are become less able to express what they are experiencing because there are no outlets. They become less able to gain skills that will enable them to compete...more able to maintain the status quo.

When knowledge is only about ego and not the creative impulses that develop a higher level of skills, we will always be the victim of the system.