STUPIDITY: A SERIOUS ISSUE FOR CLASSROOM TEACHERS

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2664

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2664

The term “stupid” rarely means lack of intellect, although its usage as such has crept into the language. Most people possess the intelligence to make common sense decisions. In fact, the term means “in a stupor” thus “a condition in which someone is not able to think normally because of being drunk, drugged, tired, etc.” and “a condition of greatly dulled or completely suspended sense or sensibility.” Its origin is the Latin word “stupere” meaning “to be amazed or stunned.” Thus one can also be stupid from a blow on the head . . . or, as I would like to suggest, from a blow inside the head, in the mind. I will explain.

Stupidity is a condition brought on by something. As the definition stated above suggests, it might be brought on by drink, drugs, exhaustion, and anything else that drains the energy needed for thought. When one drives drunk, one is insufficiently alert to step on the brake or even to read street signs or see the lines painted on the road. These causes of stupidity are usually remediable. One can sleep off a drunk and exhaustion. One can wait out the effects of a drowsing drug. But there are other causes of stupidity that are not so easily dealt with, deeper causes that condition one to be stupid. I suggest that indoctrination can make one stupid to reality.

In children, especially in those of middle school and high school age, stupidity appears to be a chronic condition! There are reasons, mostly related to excess energy, distraction, the learning process itself, which often requires concentrating a mind that is not quite ready for concentration. How often must a teacher remind students to pay attention, to stop talking or horse-playing, or, alas nowadays, to put away their phones and iPods and pay attention to the lesson at hand?

For public school teachers in urban classrooms like the one in which my wife teaches, students are conditioned by outside sources to resist rather than take part in education. The task of overcoming stupidity is monumental when a teacher must negotiate between teaching and dealing with the brash, often threatening attitude of students determined to undermine efforts to teach them.Most of the time, students do not bring paper or pencils to class and must ask for them. Since my wife gets almost no supplies from the school, she provides them. She brought a box of cheap golf pencils one day for an exam. One student, looking at the stubby things, declared, “I ain’t use them pencils.” He refused to take the exam.

As a veteran of two decades in urban schools, my wife grows weary of such indignities, expressions of often outright hatred, and disgusting epithets in broken English, threatening and outrageous. Another teacher I knew told me he asked a student whether he wanted to learn anything, received the reply, “I ain’t pose to learn. You pose to teach me.” My friend no longer teaches. He has given up.

Many young black students are told by their parents and other elders to resist the authority of white teachers. There, I’ve said it. This is a dishonor to the many black children who are eager to learn, who are polite, cooperative and—here it comes—rarely if ever stupid. Nor are the stupid ones stupid from drink, drugs or exhaustion from labor (although many put their heads down and sleep through class). They are conditioned to be stupid by authoritarian “leaders” who tell them that they are entitled to be educated, whether or not they work at it! Parents often confront teachers with “What are you doing to make learning fun?” My wife always says, “I am paid to teach, not to entertain.”

Moreover, very often students who are punished for their misbehavior put up the fictitious issue of respect as a roadblock, believing that a teacher who demands anything of them is “dissing” (disrespecting) them. They’ve been taught that they have a built in excuse for their misbehavior, consequently, they persist in misbehaving and obstructing all learning. They behave stupidly because they’ve been told it’s okay.

But students are not the only stupid ones. In fact, my wife has been treated regularly to students’ harangues, only to be treated to the same harangues by parents responding to complaints about their children. Once, when she complained about this behavior in a faculty meeting, someone demanded to know how she had escalated the situation, causing the student to threaten her! Knee-jerk stupidity is not confined to ill-mannered teens, but to liberal administrators who have also bought the liberal propaganda regarding race.

Where does this conditioning come from and when will it end? It comes from a pervasive left liberal mentality that encourages racism, entitlement mentality and a kind of social greed (in this case for undeserved, unearned grades and diplomas). This stupidity is fostered by liberal politicians, local, state and national, who use black people as a collective from which to garner votes. And it is fostered by community “leaders” such as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan, who hammer the point ubiquitously, that black people are still oppressed and must break the fictitious chains of their enslavement by resisting all white authority, even that of their teachers.

So, instead of breaking their chains by learning, excelling, getting ahead economically and socially and proving their value to society as individuals, they adopt collectivist attitudes that condemn them to lives of welfare, crime, ignorance and, ultimately, to poverty, because the lies they have been told which encourage their entitlement mentality will eventually prove their destruction.

When will it end? It is impossible to predict how long a cycle of stupidity will last, but it will surely outlast the present generation, because, once indoctrination takes root, it is a difficult and even shocking thing to wrench it loose. The tragic thing about all of this is that it has nothing fundamentally to do with skin color. There is nothing innately stupid about anyone’s ethnicity or race or skin color. But skin color is a distinguishing marker that enables one to be targeted.

At one time in this country, black people were the victims of repressive white racists who treated them not as people, but as a collective, to be enslaved, often lynched and generally ill-treated. Now they are treated as a collective, to be enslaved and eventually disowned by the liberals in power, black as well as white, many of whom are their own so-called “leaders.”

We may not be able to predict the end of stupidity with any accuracy, but we can surely predict the outcome, because stupidity has always had its own reward—and punishment.

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FJ Rocca is an independent, conservative writer/blogger of fiction and non-fiction, most interested in the philosophy of American conservatism. Clarity is more important than eloquence, but truth is vital to human discourse.

 

2 Comments

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  • Faithwalk

    I thought this was going to be about how the word “stupid” and other name calling is now acceptable in the classroom and in the lessons being taught. We teach our kids at home that namecalling is not ok and they go to school and it is ignored or even in the literature if you can call it that. As for the rest of it, I think many minorities have been taught that society owes them something and that cannot end well.

    • FJ Rocca

      Actually, they call each other names all the time. But let a teacher say a single word that appears “disrespectful” and she is threatened by administration with action against her. One student even said to my wife, “My mother tell me if you disrespec’ me I kin hit you in the face!” Another one, when told she could not sleep in class, leapt up and said, “You don’t KNOW me!” with her fists at the ready. They use the “F” word with abandon, slinging it not only at each other, but at teachers. My wife was out sick and returned to her classroom to find her desk covered with obscene graffiti aimed directly at her. That’s how it is in the inner city. Do not imply that identifying their stupidity, which actually exists, is an act of incivility. Unless you experience it first hand, you are not qualified to judge the reality of the situation.

      This article was not about name calling, but about an attitude, an atmosphere, that prohibits learning and it most certainly does take place in the urban classroom.