The Educational Paradox

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“The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.” -James Baldwin

Mr. Baldwin is correct in his stating that an educated man will begin to critically observe his own society, but the aforementioned quote can hardly be called a paradox. Reasonably, any person of formal, or informal, education is expected to examine the society in which he is being educated for reasons having much to do with social realization, personal growth, and ultimately a desire to further his educational repertoire. The formal definition of a paradox is “a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth”, which, in this context, is not an appropriate description of education in the least. Contrarily, to examine one’s upbringing and community is commonplace for an intellectual person. Being that the goal of true education is intelligence plus character, as said by Dr. Martin Luther King, it would seem absurd for a learned person not to pursue a broader understanding of his surroundings by questioning the society in which he was educated.

It is the norm for children to follow their parents or guardians in their respective religions and practice as their parents. This is mostly due to the fact that a child of a certain age, or at least the average child, is unaware of the particulars of any one religious affiliation; and also because the scolding from the parent for not doing so usually isn’t worth the trouble of resisting. Now, as the same child ages into his late teens and early twenties, he will at some point begin to question his faith, even if only for a brief period. Although some might say the reason for this is partially due to a teen’s natural tendency to rebel. However, the flip side of that statistic is that the young adults who aren’t acting on rebellious inclinations are keenly observing their educational environment....
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