The ‘ism’ schism

The ‘ism’ schism

This sounded like a pretty cool title when I thought I’d coined it. But within a few moments, I recalled that it was, in fact, a Bob Marley lyric.

I found this interesting ‘take’ on YouTube …

Perhaps the easiest way to make noise within a community is to divide the tribe; perhaps the easiest way to confuse and maintain a kind of control is to get people to argue amongst themselves; get caught up in the minutia of an issue and so miss the bigger picture.

In many ways, my earlier political rants may well have been inspired by the notion that the big picture is being lost within some of the petty squabbles we have been witnessing. Hidden behind the political posturing; presidential tweeting and evangelical evasion are some crucial issues about where we are as a species and who we are as members of the human race.

Several years ago members of the Education Profession were told that the term used for a particular thinking skill was not ‘politically’ correct. The term “brainstorm” should be replaced with “thought shower” so as not the offend those suffering from epilepsy.

Several years before that, when I was teaching in what was the ILEA (Inner London Education Authority), teachers attending a workshop on multicultural awareness nodded in disagreement when a colleague made a double un-PC error. He first responded to a question about how he wanted his coffee by saying ‘white’ rather than ‘with milk’ and, through the ‘tuts’ and ‘disapproving nods’, asked for a piece of chalk for the blackboard when the correct term was said to be ‘chalk board’.

Of course, words and the use of our words should be considered with care, but?

At the ILEA meeting a black (afro-Caribbean) colleague who was attending stood up and said something along the lines of …

“Coffee with milk can be white and board that is black can be back. It seems to me that you are trivialising the point. It’s about empowerment, cultural identity and valuing people – not about school furniture or choices about beverages’

Fait point surely?

How far we let politicians and those mis-representing the ‘isms’ detract us from the real issues; trivialise the real challenges is something, perhaps, we should be guarded about.

Alan /|\





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