public education, racism, and irony on the internet

Es­ti­mated reading time is 3 min­utes.

HIGH SCHOOL ENDED FOR ME in 1969, but I watched my bother and sister go on for the next few years. And even then I could see that both the ed­u­ca­tion they were re­ceiving was not quite as de­manding as mine had been and that the at­ti­tude of their peers was different.

More and more the kids younger than me seemed to be going to a school that would soon be per­fectly cap­tured by the stoned stu­pidity of the 1975 movie Dazed And Con­fused.

And now I have found an ar­ticle ti­tled “Four Ar­gu­ments That Scream ‘Save Public Ed­u­ca­tion!’” by Paul Buch­heit (writing for Buz­zflash at Truthout, March 31, 2014) opens with the fol­lowing statement:

“The ed­u­ca­tion pri­va­tizers are trying to con­vince us that parental ‘choice’ will solve all the prob­lems in our schools. But the choice they have in mind is to dis­mantle a once-proud system of ed­u­ca­tion that was nur­tured and funded by a so­ciety of Amer­i­cans willing to work together.”

He then pro­vides four ar­gu­ments for the nec­es­sary funding of public ed­u­ca­tion for the bet­ter­ment of both the Amer­ican pop­u­la­tion and the Amer­ican Dream. The first ar­gu­ment, “Equal Op­por­tu­nity is an Amer­ican Man­date,” states the following:

“But now, as The Econ­o­mist points out, ‘Whereas most OECD coun­tries spend more on the ed­u­ca­tion of poor chil­dren than rich ones, in America the op­po­site is true.’ Poverty, of course, is of all colors, but it’s dis­pro­por­tion­ately black.

The Civil Rights Project at UCLA shows that seg­re­gated schools are sys­tem­at­i­cally linked to un­equal ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties, while the Eco­nomic Policy In­sti­tute tells us that African Amer­ican stu­dents are more iso­lated than they were 40 years ago.”

But . . .

But . . .

But this simply cannot be so! As Di­nesh D’­Souza has shown in his best-seller The End Of Racism (1995), racism—especially sys­temic racism—simply NO LONGER EXISTS in the US . . .


Poster for the 1975 movie DAZED AND CONFUSED, which poked fun at public education.

No irony on the internet

At ap­prox­i­mately 5:00 this morning, I pub­lished the piece above as is and ti­tled it “four ar­gu­ments that scream save public ed­u­ca­tion.” Then I re­mem­bered the ad­vice of an­other, more ex­pe­ri­enced blogger who told me that there was a rule that all blog­gers need heed: There is no room for irony on the in­ternet.

I as­sured him that my readers were su­pe­rior readers and would, there­fore, un­der­stand the black humor in the final para­graph. That was not the problem, he said: the piece could be found by a ca­sual reader—not a reg­ular, reg­is­tered reader—and mis­in­ter­preted, picked up and placed on an­other site, and I could end up ac­cused of racism (or stupidity).

Gotcha, said I.

So at 5:30 this morning I trashed “four ar­gu­ments that scream save public education.”

Then, at 6:30 later, me thinks to me self, why not post it with an ex­pla­na­tion that it is an ironic piece. After all, I have ad­dressed irony in other posts?

So, here we are with the new, im­proved “four ar­gu­ments that scream save public ed­u­ca­tion” but now ti­tled as “public ed­u­ca­tion, racism, and irony on the in­ternet” but fea­turing the ad­di­tional com­men­tary that you are now reading.

Now, for those readers fa­miliar with the word irony but not truly aware of its meaning, here is Merriam-Webster’s de­f­i­n­i­tion of irony as the word is used here: the use of words that mean the op­po­site of what you re­ally think es­pe­cially in order to be funny.”

Note that irony has other mean­ings, es­pe­cially when used lit­er­arily: “the use of words that mean the op­po­site of what you re­ally think es­pe­cially in order to be funny.”


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Reading your post & thinking...oh my god, thats right

The typed word has no nu­ance, like ac­tual verbal speech, so when irony is in­tended, per­haps italics, paren­theses, bold, caps or quotes would work... maybe fol­lowed by a (haha) or LOL, or even (dare I say) a smiley... That way there leaves no doubt, even to the un­so­phis­ti­cated reader, as to the in­tent of the writer.