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Allison Fink's picture

Culture as Mind Numbing

People, myself included, tend to put each other in categories based on whether they are good or bad at something compared to everyone else and to themselves. I find it moving to think about how blind people can be when they think that they have a right to decide whether a person has something wrong with him and that they have a right to try to change it according to what they think is best. After all, they don’t really know what the person knows. I kind of agree with the point made in the beginning of the article that labeling someone as disabled can make the person’s “problem” worse. How can a person function if she is constantly told that no matter what she does it will always be wrong, because there is inherently something wrong with her? She might as well be told that she should give up trying to be self reliant. Cultures also make some people think they are competent because they succeed while others fail. It’s easy to become complacent this way. Whereas what if they compared themselves to the standards of what could be done, but no one has yet? And what if in schools and other institutions, people competed with themselves, rather than each other? Something that Anne said that stuck with me is that no one can give you a grade on your life. That is, there is no set formula for that. What if it were the same for school? I believe that at Hampshire College, for example, students don’t get grades- they get written evaluations that assess how much they’ve improved, what needs work, etc. Grades, with their limitations, are simply out of the equation. And at the same time, it would be good for students themselves to be conscious of their own striving to improve by their own standards by writing self-assessments.


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