If a man has ten good qualities and one bad one, look at the ten and forget the one; and if a man has ten bad qualities and one good one, look at the one and forget the ten. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
The concept of living a dichotomous life is one that I have been reflecting on lately. I grew up a blended story: Always the rhythm of my father's culture beating in my veins. Always the inquisitive call of my mother's people pulling me forward. Between my Anglican and Quechua roots I was always in motion, even if I was still. Always seeking, dancing, feeling, moving between the different chords of sounds, tastes and visions my parents' cultures gave me. So the idea of choosing one, emphasizing one, is not something I ever felt impelled to do. If you saw me, spoke with me, engaged in a little time with me, my father's culture would initially jump out. I remember consciously nurturing this culture within me and seeking it out - primarily because living in a society whose dominant culture is White middle class, my mother's New England culture was not hard to find or grasp. It was my father's culture, that kept eluding me as I tried to find it in the world around me. But when others looked at me, immediately I was pegged: Latina.
|The author, Ymasumac|
|Commons area of Hampshire College|
We are all a make-up of our ancestors. We cannot slice them into bits and dismiss those parts that are not part of the physical illusion of who we are. What the eye can see is not always true. We have to dig deeper and perceive the wholeness in all things.
Hampshire confirmed this idea that every time we focus on one area with too much emphasis, others can become minimized. According to Hampshire College, when they no longer had the SAT or ACT to filter the student's application through, "...every other detail of the student’s application became more vivid."
Children are born naturally as active agents of their own learning; we cannot continue as a society to stifle this natural desire in them to explore the world they live in. It is not enough to blame the educational system, when as parents we direct so much of the learning as well in our own home learning environments. Or as a society we build the structures and spaces for engagement and innovation. Blame will not bring about the exploration and change we desire. We need to rethink what learning looks like and how we will quantify learning - at school, home and in our working environments.
When a respected institution, like Hampshire College, takes a bold step to eliminate such an archaic form of assessing learning and success, such as the SAT and ACT in their application process - we must ask ourselves, how will we respond to these forces around us and support the outliers who are creating change and new avenues of thinking?
I for one will continue to reflect on my own learning environment that I co-create with others. I will also encourage my son to apply to Hampshire College and be a part of innovative change, as is the desire of his heart.