As nativism and jingoism, racism and xenophobia are raising their ugly heads around the world, is it enough for educators to focus on the local and logical? How can we extend local understanding of issues to cross-contextual perspectives and complement logical thinking with ethical approach to learning an teaching? Below I link a post that I wrote for a blog run by writing teachers at my university (in Stony Brook, New York).
The first semester of my teaching in the United States, about a decade ago in Kentucky, one student wrote an essay arguing, essentially, that the United Nations is an inefficient organization run by corrupt foreigners. After supporting this claim by citing various dubious sources, including articles from conspiracy theory websites, he proposed that the US take over and unilaterally run that place instead. I found the paper so shocking that I wondered if the writer had a psychological problem, so I went to the director of the program for advice! It turned out that among people embracing a certain political ideology in this country, the student’s argument could be just a logical solution to a genuine problem. I learned a good lesson.
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