“Where is our threshold for self-awareness?”
What does it take for a society to be sickened by its own behavior and to change its attitudes? That can be asked about questions of power and political repression—and also about distinctive national pathologies. When did a majority of South African Boers realize that Apartheid was reprehensible? How about whites in the American South? When will the Japanese force their whalers to stop, finally realizing that their persistence has caused widespread international revulsion and opprobrium? When will the British realize that public drunkenness—a practice now internationally associated with them as a nation—is something to be embarrassed about? When will we Americans realize that our society is an unacceptably violent one, that this is how the rest of the world sees us, and that much of that violence is associated with guns? Will it be the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School? Where is our threshold for self-awareness?
This event is nothing short of tragic and will impact on this Newtown community and its surrounding communities for an indefinite time. Will this impact American self-awareness? I honestly hope so, but to what degree? Shouldn’t it encourage us all to have a good hard look at ourselves? As Anderson indicates above, there are so many underlying cultural practices we should be embarrassed about. Here in Australia our binge drinking culture is having an impact on our education, health and welfare systems with the rise in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) (discussion for a future post). What about the rise in sexualised behaviour and how this is impacting on our young adolescents?
thanks to Alec Couros for sharing @courosa
These are two things which I see impacting my classroom NOW and it will only become more pervasive whilst we sit back and watch it happen. Do we need sexual violence to escalate to epidemic rates, or our classrooms, mental institutions and jails filled with FASD kids before we call for action too?
Just some thoughts….I would love to hear what you think we need to respond to now before we have to react to something tragic in the future.