Friday, October 22, 2004

Joyella: 1(or I should say God:1), Yahoo Maps: 0

I had a little adventure tonight, and drove to D.C. all by myself. I had invited several of my friends to come with me to hear the tenth annual Kuyper lecture, but everyone I asked had a good reason not to go. I wanted to have some company just in case I got lost, but it is also nice to have someone to discuss with on the way home. Anyway, I went alone, and was prepared with my Yahoo Maps directions, which seemed simple enough. There was one vague direction that I hadn't noticed before and that was the exit off of 295, it said, "Take the Washington exit - go .1 mile." There is no "Washington exit", there is a "downtown exit" which my intuition told me to take, but I second guessed myself, because I thought that the next exit might say "Washington". WRONG. So I said a few nice bowling words and then got back into the zen of D.C. driving and finally found a place to check my map and turn around. As I was backtracking, I said a little prayer that I wouldn't get lost, and that God would put his hand on my car and guide me because I was now realizing that the Yahoo Maps directions were lame-o. And this is the amazing thing that happened: I took the second "downtown" exit I came to and that street literally dumped me right at the hotel parking garage where the lecture was! I was only a few minutes late, and the lecture hadn't yet begun, so I was very pleased. Praise God!

The Tenth Annual Kuyper Lecture: Education, Race, and Social Justice
(Quoted from the brochure: Dr. Trulear and two respondents will use the occasion of the anniversary (of Brown vs. Board of Education) to illumine the landscape of education and race in America today. Where are we today, and where should we be going in the quest for racial and educational justice?)

Overall, the lecture was informative, if not conclusive, about the state of racial discrimination in our public education system. The Rev. Dr. Harold Dean Trulear's primary focus for the lecture was that it is the "lack of will" on the part of the public, religious communities, family and the American youth which is bringing about social death. Also that tribalization, a focus on our own interests as small group as opposed to the common good for all Americans, is the main motivator in causing this disconnect between cultures and socio-econimic backgrounds. That we are all guilty of this, but as part of the "church" it is our responsibility to overcome this injustice and bring about change for the better. I was a little offended by the repeated usage of the term "Vanilla brothers and sisters" by Judith Thomas, the first respondent, because I think that to say "Chocolate brothers and sisters" would be racist. I am not a flavor, I am a person. Anyway, she focused on reiterating all that Dr. Trulear stated, and emphasized the fact that "Brown vs. The Board of Education" did not bring about equality for minorities in education. She declared that the quality of a child's education should not be based on their zip code, and proceeded to say that sitting next to a white child in the classroom does not make for a better education. I am not sure what her proposal for a solution to this problem would be, but it was heavily hinted at that more money (taxes, I presume) would need to be dumped into the public educational system to bring up the standard of education in the inner cities and poor neighborhoods. I was throughly engaged and intrigued by the second respondent, Jerry Herbert and his point of view which was different than the first two, not so much a focus on race, but on freedom. Jerry was speaking more to the role of government in the education system. That it isn't (or shouldn't be) the role of government to be involved in deciding the "what" of education, but instead to insure that education is administered justly to all. The government needs to acknowledge the necessity for parental choice in education, because education is always about virtues and perspective, and parents should be able to determine which virtues and perspective are taught to their own children. Also that the monopoly of government education must be stopped. He clarified during Q&A that he does not oppose public education outright, only the way in which it is carried out presently and stated that the primary function of the government in education (true to the CPJ) is to determine that education is carried out justly, not to provide the education itself.
Again, no real solution to this overreaching problem with the public education system was presented, but I did come away with a broader scope of the current injustices and an greater appreciation for what the Center for Public Justice aims to accomplish. I look forward to next year's.