Darker Shade of Black II

Like pretty much everything else in the reign of our totally legitimate, not at all fraudulent President, Joey Cabbage — peace be upon him — our educational system reminds me of the Soviet, but somehow so much dumber.

Let’s get back to our friend Wyatt. We’ve stipulated that he really is what the Poz insists all Blacks everywhere are — intelligent, hardworking, conscientious, etc. The problem is, Wyatt himself doesn’t know this. He can’t. Oh, he’s been told he is, of course — pretty much all of Newsywood exists to broadcast that message to the entire empire — but because he really does have something going on upstairs, he can’t help but notice that Newsywood is comprehensively full of shit. Like anyone with an IQ higher than Joey Cabbage’s, he wouldn’t believe the “news” if it told him the sun rises in the east. But… what else does he have to work with?

So off he goes into the real world, armed with nothing but his 4.0, his class presidency, his prom king crown, etc. These, he’s been told, make him an expert without portfolio, capable of handling whatever life throws at him. And though he has his doubts, he forces them down — he’s just a guy, after all, and who really wants to face the possibility that maybe he’s not all he’s cracked up to be? — and heads off to work…

…which is fine, so long as inertia continues undisturbed. But if something comes along to knock the system askew, Wyatt is absolutely the worst guy to be in charge. If he were dumber, he’d simply throw his hands up in despair and kick the problem up the chain. He’d do the same thing if he really were as smart as he’s been trained to believe he is, because by definition the “something” knocking the system askew is something outside the system’s parameters, something the very very smart guys who set up the system weren’t able to account for. But he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, so he charges confidently in, and… well, you know. I’m sure I don’t have to tell y’all that it’s the “bright, but not nearly as smart as they think they are” people who do the worst damage in a “knowledge economy.”

If you want to see how that plays out over a few generations of Wyatts, look to the USSR. The only thing Wyatt is really good at — objectively good at, not just certified as expert by some standardized test — is working his skin color. Again, I’m not blaming Wyatt for this, he’s just a guy, no better (or worse) than he ought to be. But that’s the one thing he really knows, so when a problem comes up that he has no idea how to handle — as is guaranteed to happen, see above — his first reaction is to go to the tried-and-true. The Soviets did the same thing. The only thing their Wyatts knew –and for the same reason — was The Collected Works of Marx and Engels, and since that’s somehow even more imaginary than the Poz’s view of Blacks, they responded to any and all problems with more applications of Marxism. Take that out a few generations, and there’s your Chernobyl.

The actual history of Communism as practiced in the USSR, China, et al has been all but erased from history — shocking, I know — so unless you’ve done a lot of independent reading, you probably don’t know that back in the days, they really did try to build factories and infrastructure with nothing more than Marxist theory. No, really, they did — Lenin took great pleasure in clearing out the universities, sending the faculty off to Khabarovski Oblast to build a tractor factory with hand tools, all under the supervision of some “revolutionary” twerp whose only experience of industry was writing an article about how capitalism is bad for Iskra. Mao Zedong, when his time came, refused to be outdone, mandating that his collective farms should smelt steel on their off hours in their backyards. There’s a reason blast furnaces aren’t a DIY project, but that was no object to anyone with the People’s Will and a proper understanding of dialectical materialism…

And here’s where it gets really fun. What do you think happens to Wyatt in that scenario?

He really IS bright, y’all. He’s really trying. But he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, and again, that’s not his fault, but it’s true nonetheless, and anyway he’s being asked to do the impossible. All he really has left, when it comes right down to it, is his “class position.” Is he going to admit defeat, and use his brains, conscientiousness, etc., to tell the higher-ups that he’s been asked to do something beyond his competence, indeed, beyond physical reality? Or is he going to double down?

Part III soon.

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2 thoughts on “Darker Shade of Black II

  1. Avatarganderson

    I don’t know how many of you saw the HBO (yeah, I know) series Chernobyl, but it did a good id job of illustrating your points. Everyone except the two main characters were solely concerned with saving their own asses, and had little ability to think through any solution to the problem.

    These three pieces are really good, if a tad depressing, as I don’t see this getting better anytime soon.

    I went to college as the rot was beginning to set in- the early to late 70s (college was cheap, and the Gopher hockey team was REALLY GOOD) but I think that most of us had a sense of how smart we were- for me freshman calculus made my intellectual limitations abundantly clear. I had a contemporary who called his diploma a “certificate of attendance”; I think it was on the way to becoming true in the 70s- it’s really true today. I was certainly an indifferent student, although I think I learned quite a bit during my extended stay at northern plains BSU. I remember one time, in a German history class I took, I missed the midterm, going out to breakfast being more important , and then I missed the make up. I went to the professor, who, despite the fact that his name was Otto Pflanze, was a courtly old southern gentleman. I asked him if there was anything he could do for me. To my great shock and surprise he said “Yes. ( oh boy, I thought!) I can tell you how to get over the Morrill Hall and take out the papers to drop the course.” Of course today I’d be back with my lawyer!

    I saw a lot of what you describe, and not just among black kids, in HS, from which I am mercifully retired- I got the sense that many of my fellow teachers (especially but not exclusively English teachers) marked their papers, but did not really evaluate them; many good History teachers will complain that we do more English teaching than the English teachers. So yes, kids really don’t know what they don’t know, which will have really bad downstream effects for us all.

    Side note: did I hear that the new Mario Cuomo Bridge, the one that replaced the Tappan Zee Bridge is already showing problems? Or is that just Cuomo hatred? I approve of Cuomo hatred, but I’d hate to see the bridge collapse.

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