Education v. Culture

I’ve been thinking about what the average (whatever that is) White person may think about the plight of the average (whatever that is) Black individual. I’m of the mind that education is the single most powerful tool that we have in our efforts to gain social mobility. A proper education will not only teach individuals how to be good citizens, but it also provides us with a strong social network from which our job opportunities and access to certain social resources can be obtained. Let’s not also forget that a proper education will usually prevent you from being an idiot, and really, that point should NEVER be overlooked.

So what will a deficient education earn you? Well, if you physically survive the social climate of the school, first and foremost, you will likely be seriously uniformed–IGNORANT (IGNINT!). You have will have a higher propensity towards criminal behavior, rates of teenage pregnancy go up, and guess what? Your social network will be just as f*cked up as you! Good luck getting a job from Ray Ray or Boney Todd’s hook ups.

But now I must challenge my original premise: Is it true that education is the single most powerful indicator of social mobility? What about culture? Let’s define culture as an overall design for living. Culture informs us as to how to orient ourselves when we receive certain inputs. It is a blueprint for living. If, for example, someone steps on my shoes, the correct cultural response may be for me to sock that person in his or her (Chris Breezy!) eye. Or, the correct cultural response from me may be to ask that person for an apology or even to ignore it because I already know my shoes will be stepped on many more times (I’m trying to write this and watch the Lakers, so you’ll have to come up with your own more fitting analogies if you choose).

If culture is the dominant factor in determining the potential of an individual (and a people), why shouldn’t we look more to Mexican American culture as its own worse enemy? Why isn’t Black culture at fault? Let’s face it: any group of people proud to be known as “nigger” (“nigga” means the same thing buddy) has problems. If the civil rights movement and many of the laws that made redlining and some of the more overt forms of racial discrimination illegal can’t better the plight of peoples of color, maybe nothing can. What about Asians? Have you seen Koreatown in Los Angeles? It’s a city within a city completely run and supported by Koreans for the benefit of Koreans. How did they accomplish that? Was it a proper education or Korean culture or both–neither?

Since White American men completely own and run this country (in spite of Obama–how much longer will his name be underlined in red when I type it?), perhaps some of them would like to share how they accomplished this and how they maintain it all. I don’t fault White people for being on top. Hell, I’m jealous!

But just what is keeping my people from being able to make it?

…there’s gotta be some rules people!

5 thoughts on “Education v. Culture

  1. I think there are several points here that need to be discussed in more detail.

    1. Education and Culture are not separate. Education here is being discussed in terms of social mobility, but education as a social institution is simply an organization of people engaged in the the process of cultural transmission. If we use the definition of culture as a blue print provided here, the purpose of education is to ensure that the correct blueprints are being passed from generation to generation in order to maintain social stability and prepare individuals for adult roles.

    2. Since education serves a key role in social reproduction, an educational system within a given society is only as homogenous as the society. This means that different groups of people receive different educations. In agrarian societies eduction primarily served the function of socializing elite members of society, while in modern nation states mass education evolved out of a need to legitimate the state through the development of a citizenry. This did not mean that elite members of society were no longer distinguished from the masses in educational terms, however, as elites maintained a near monopoly on higher education and even after higher education became more widely spread following WWII elites maintained an educational distinction through their control over elite universities such as Ivy League institutions.

    3. Culture serves as a basis of reproduction. It is important to note that not all Asians are economically successful and this varies depending on their country of origin and is partially related to how industrial and urban these countries were. Those from countries that are more urban and industrial tend to fair better when immigrating to another industrial country than those who have origins in an agrarian society. They have “blueprints” already established such as literacy which greatly enhance their ability to succeed. Stereotypes and racial categories are also cultural adaptions developed by groups when attempting to understand their world. Once these become institutionalized they also serve as a basis of cultural reproduction as certain names, accents, musical preferences, etc, signal to others whether or not an individual is part of the in group or out group. The Obama’s and Rice’s of the world exhibit body language and express themselves in “articulate” ways which signal to other groups that they are safe to interact with. This also occurs interracially. One also picks up cultural clues by names such as “Velma” or “Verne” or by how certain words are pronounced, such as “crick” instead of “creek”. Minorities are not the only ones to catch affluent white off guard by being “articulate”.

    4. The over achievement of education is creating credential inflation in which education is actually become relatively less valuable. This is driving the growth in post-baccalaureate degrees. Despite this, there are only a handful elite post-baccalaureate granting institutions and certain groups will continue to hoard particular educational opportunities.

    5. A large part of education that occurs within the family and primary/secondary school determines higher education attainment. Regional differences in funding, differential parental involvement, and how teachers respond to different students differently all leads to differential educational attainment. Insofar as certain groups have disadvantages here, they will have a disadvantage in acquiring the social blueprints which are most rewarding.

    6. Groups which are isolated from the process which generates successful blueprints will tend to generate new blueprints which are successful for there particular problems/experiences.

    7. Newly generated blueprints will serve as a new basis for reinforcing existing stratification systems by members of dominant groups.

  2. In response to how white folks rule the world:

    Timing.

    Western European culture was about the third or fourth megalithic culture to conquer the “known world.” They were about the thousandth culture to try. They were hardly the most brutal, the most racist, or even the most efficient in doing so. The only reason this culture has enjoyed a lasting dominance is due to pure coincidence. A number of factors came together during the Western European hegemony that has made this world system succeed beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. These include (but are not limited to):

    1) The Industrial Revolution
    2) The Spread of “Money Economies”
    3) The Printing Press
    4) The Invention of Antiseptics
    5) The Rise of the Nation State

    Now, #’s 1, 3, and 4 are technological advances, and should probably also include the rise of science as the dominant ontology. #’s 2 and 5 are social organizational advances, and should probably include the rise of capitalism as a dominant mode of production. In any case, what’s important to realize is that “white” culture is only dominant because of the timing of their rise to power. Western Europe wasn’t even especially good at empire building, they just got lucky.

    White culture has been villainized for what has happened over the last 600-700 years. And rightfully so. BUT!!! Let us not forget about the Mongols, the Egyptians, the Chinese, the Assyrians, the Ottomans, and all of the countless nameless chiefdoms that attempted (and sometimes succeeded) in taking over the world. Do you think they didn’t slaughter people with extreme prejudice in doing so? Do you think they avoided taking slaves, or exploiting the resources of the new lands? In most cases, the brutality and degradation of these conquests went far beyond anything Western Europe ever dreamed up. Yes, the imperialism of Western Europe was/is horrific and shameful. But, it is far from unique, and it was bordering on incompetent in comparison (the Mongols just had horses and bows). Why are whites so villainized? Our society now has the luxury of a lasting memory: we have the books and pamphlets to remind us of this most recent conquest, something that is ostensibly missing from the earlier slaughters. The result: the Western European expansion will be shit upon in history class for a long time coming, in spite of the fact that they were just following the example of all prior large societies.

    So, how did white men get to the top? Luck. Dumb luck. An accident of history. Ah, but how do white men stay on top?

    Bi-weekly Tuesday meetings on the top floor of every bank and post office. The topic of discussion for the last 100 years has been how to keep the Blacks and Mexicans fighting amongst themselves. Oh, and how to make sure “Black” music continues to promote violence, ignorance, alcoholism, and a devaluation of the family unit. Mayonnaise sandwiches and Diet RC Cola are served. Usually by deaf-mute black waiters.

    • “So, how did white men get to the top? Luck. Dumb luck. An accident of history. Ah, but how do white men stay on top?

      Bi-weekly Tuesday meetings on the top floor of every bank and post office. The topic of discussion for the last 100 years has been how to keep the Blacks and Mexicans fighting amongst themselves. Oh, and how to make sure “Black” music continues to promote violence, ignorance, alcoholism, and a devaluation of the family unit. Mayonnaise sandwiches and Diet RC Cola are served. Usually by deaf-mute black waiters.”

      LOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!FUCKING HILARIOUS…and true, no doubt…

      Indeed, wherever (and whenever) we find White people “finding” or “discovering” some ancient civilization of color, they did bring death, disease, and religion (Yeah Jesus!). But, you’re right, all of those nations you mentioned attempted to conquer the known world. But I’m not buying that it was luck! European (and Eurocentric) domination might not have been the goal of some grand commission of Whites, but so many factors came into play with so many forms of justification (religious, cultural, even on the basis of who’s human) that this shit must have been a plan!

      Now, I’ll admit that my goal is simply to learn how to you all accomplished this so that I can subvert the interlocking systems with greater success and enslave White people. I have White friends too, but in the revolution, they must go first because they know me too well. That said, LOL, any suggestions?

      • “I have White friends too, but in the revolution, they must go first because they know me too well.”

        I would like to just clarify that I am more of an associate with Sundjata than a friend.

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