Reminder: Decolonize the Mind – a Public Service Announcement by Michael Pitter


(photo by Michael Pitter)

 

We Need a Curriculum for an Intellectually Independent Society:

The curriculum for a new intellectually independent age first and foremost needs to be decolonized. The last 520 years in European history was partly characterized by the colonization of lands, the subjugation of people and the manipulation of knowledge. European values have pervaded the independent societies of various regions to the extent where the non-“Western” epistemologies have been rendered blurry and in many cases, extinct to at least the majority of young American students. The Eurocentric nature of the Western educational system propagates misunderstandings regarding the relationship between culturally Western peoples and peoples at the fringes or outside of the “West”. It effectively excludes substantial amounts of knowledge and lores that would disturb the collective belief that Western ideas might as well stand for those of the whole entire world. The falsely inflated notion of the superiority of Western thought has been jammed into the psyche of generations of, at least, American students. They have been forced to learn fragments of the world’s history, literature, philosophy and science all to keep buoyant the false sense of American super-significance and Anglo-Saxon superiority that has led to social tension inside and outside of the country. My life-long experience in the American educational system has revealed to me that the shapers of the common curriculum in this country were not at all interested in revealing the wide expanse knowledge available in the world.

Intellectual independence can be achieved if our curriculum comes to survey the independent histories, philosophies, sciences and literary arts of places around the world as free from political and ideological influence as possible. The considerations of each subject or field in the classrooms should be equal.

The provincialism in the Western educational system brings intellectual harm to the student that could lead to physical harm to others. No one lineage of historical events or no one poet will be artificially given universal significance and eminence. What we learn affects what we do and how we justify what we do.

Happy Independence Week

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