The fundamental principle in Rich’s article is that we, as students should not receive an education, but to claim one.
All our lives we have acted as empty vessels, soaking up the information that society thought we should know. A teacher stands in front of a classroom and fills our heads with knowledge that can very well be justified as lies. Being children, we are not subjective. It is not until we are older that we become more inquisitive and learn that essentially everything that we have learned is a lie! They told us that Christopher Columbus discovered America and over the years, as devastating as it was, we discovered that it was not true. Many of our parents teach us about the origin of life and Adam and Eve, but in school, the teachers negate everything in their lesson plans teaching us about evolution! As a child, what are we to believe? Subconsciously we think that our parents and our teachers have all the answers, but when the two theories conflict, what are we to do? I sort of went of on a tangent, but the notion is all the same and also very relevant.
So the challenge is for us to be active learners and not passive learners; learn to be more inquisitive and a nonconformist instead of just receiving the information that [they] want us to think is sufficient to success, when in reality it is only enough to get by. The people who are noted as the “supreme beings” or who are of higher authority and stature, learned how to beat the justice system and are aware of the “secret” that they do not want us to be aware of. Our success is contingent on our critical thinking, analysis and the ability to think for ourselves! If it is our choice to change the world, we cannot be afraid to be different. We have to have inquiring minds and conduct our own experiments and investigations.
Over the years, the black minority has become more conscious of the fact that our findings exist outside of what should be classified as human. Instead, it is labeled as the black perspective. This is very relevant to the discussion in class about realizing that the problem exists outside of you. It is not just you being singled out as an African American woman, but the fact that all African American women may share the same experience. You must first make an observation; have an understanding of its origination and what sustains it. Prior to reading this article, I never questioned the accuracy of science. The studies that should essentially be accounted for in the studies of humanities were not labeled as human. It not once crossed my mind that this would also be prevalent in the sciences. I always noted science as being truth and that theories and laws supported the accuracy and precision. However, upon reading Rich’s article, I have realized that even science can be sexist.
Society provides us with an ethical image of a woman, what a woman should look like and how she should act.
This somewhat reminds me of when Lady Macbeth asked to be stripped of her dire qualities; society painted a picture of what a woman should be and Lady Macbeth insisted that all judgments be erased and base her actions merely as a human being and not as a woman. A woman is said to be nurturing and warmhearted, but upon the reader being knowledgeable of what she wanted to do to her child, the qualities of a woman became very questionable. We are to be stay-at-home mothers doing domestic work and being absent in the workplace, avoid confrontation and to treat our bodies as a “commodity”. (Rich 17) However, it is our courage to be different that Rich suggests. We have to be responsible to ourselves meaning that we do not let anyone think or naming for us.
Rich furnishes us with the key to success; as women, we have to be engaged and use a propelling force to learning. We must have a serious pledge about our knowledge of the world. If our professors engage in what is supposed to be a mutual act, having “seriousness about women, about language, about ideas, methods and values”, (Rich 18) then the potential of a woman and her education will no longer be paralyzed. If this can be accomplished, we can make a choice to change the world.