Thursday, May 27, 2010

A good read from Metropolitician

I sometimes get on Metropolitician's case for being a drama queen with something of a chip on his shoulder, but he has some very good insights that make his site worth a look every now and then (which, coincidentally, is how often he updates it).

This post in particular is one I would like to direct you all to. It's a very good reminder that we all could use a mental check every so often to ensure we're learning before speaking, and that we may not know as much as we think we do:
Oftentimes, these conversations reek with cultural condescension and outright ethnocentric arrogance. Does some noob fresh off the plane and here less than three months really think that such revelations have never occurred to Korean reformers, government officials, or specialists in education, such as teachers or principals, or to the students themselves? Take, for example, our own screwed up education system in the United States. In the final analysis, the major source of disparities between school districts and individual schools has to do with the division of resources from property taxes. Why don't we just "fix" these things and get on with it? What the hell is America's problem? The solution is "obvious," right? ...

In the end, it's quite arrogant to assume, as a foreigner and a newbie, that after 2 weeks of thinking about the subject, all social problems would be solved if people just thought like you. It's also arrogant to keep stubborn and unwavering opinions without having done much thinking about the subject, nor any background reading, anything. You just sit there at the bar with your beer and have the answer.

Isn't that what we often get on Koreans' case for?
It's something I have said and would say again, but when he does it, no one would accuse him of apologism. (Actually, I encounter Europeans, Japanese, Taiwanese, and Koreans engaging in the same such behavior I see so many anglophones doing back in Korea, which is all the more reason I see the message as very universally apt.)

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