A look at 1886…

Painter, in his book A History of Education, defines race simply as a means to categorize a group of people based on the countries that they originate from. Within this text book races were further divided into the civilized – upper class and alternately the other – lower class. This book was written in 1886 – over 100 years before I was born. The content did not surprise me but the specifics did. It is hard to imagine that this book contained the ideals that were reinforced during that era. This clearly was the norm – and people were not to/did not think otherwise.

Painter applies his views to mask an entire culture. He groups the Asian culture negatively by saying, “they are hypocritical and dishonest…”(10). How is one able to sum up an entire culture in such a manner?

Painter also compares other education systems and seems to disregard their effectiveness. He clearly feels as though the western way of education is the most effective and that the alternate ways that school systems work should be disregarded.

This was a very interesting book to read. It sheds light on just how far our world has come. I know we still have a long road ahead of us. The vast majority of us continue to subscribe to many of the stereotypes that still exist today. These ideals often are unintentional but seem to be engrained as we grow up – whether it be through the media, stories that we read, and things that we hear others say. It is important for us as teachers to attempt to turn these stereotypes off and teach in a manner that equally looks at and values each race throughout the world.


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