Education and Malevolent Intentions

Updated on April 5, 2019
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Alex has taught at two public schools, been accepted into two honorary societies, and traveled the Americas and Europe. He has his A.A.


Education and Malevolent Intentions

Although many people believe that the desirable objective of education is to open one’s mind to new possibilities, there still exist those who believe that education’s intention is to be something to limit the individual. Such an idea is clearly not always negative; prevention from drinking alcoholic beverages and preventing active promiscuous sexual behaviours are but two examples. However, there are some who feel that education’s principal purpose is to promote what has been called “the three “C’s”” (Jensen). That is, some people want to Christianize, civilize, and conquer. The two works THE LONE RANGER AND TONTO FISTFIGHT IN HEAVEN and Indian Boarding School: The Runaways help to illustrate these “C’s” (Jensen).

For many individuals living in the Western world, the idea of Christianizing a people is often well meditated upon. Concerning the Native Americans, one man writes “[h]ow these people can best be led to the true knowledge of… Christ, is hard to say” (Michaelius). To Christianize a non-Christian people is to take away from their heritage. For some Native Americans, readjusting in such ways to a new culture is akin to “saying good-bye to” their “tribe” (Alexie 176).

There are those who strongly believe that one of the main purposes of education is to civilize. For example, one individual writes “I don’t think there’s any doubt that we want our schools to help civilize” (Iannone 69). A simple yet important example of this civilizing phenomenon comes from Sherman Alexie’s writings wherein a teacher sternly tells a Native American boy that he will “learn respect” (173). On the same page of Alexie’s work, the boy’s teacher forces him to cut off his braids (173).

Finally, certain people feel that one reason we educate is to conquer. In Indian Boarding School: The Runaways the reader is faced with an illustration of the conquering of the spirit. The children in this work wear clothes that “you would think shame was” (Erdrich 108). This is not the only time that “shame” is mentioned in Louise Eldrich’s story; “[w]e scrub the the sidewalks down because it’s shameful work” (108).

Some people desire that education be a tool to improve the quantity and quality of synaptic connections in the brain. However, some individuals strongly believe that education’s objective is to Christianize, civilize, and to conquer. Indian Boarding School: The Runaways and THE LONE RANGER AND TONTO FISTFIGHT IN HEAVEN are but two works that help to emphasize the existence of said individuals. The human species desperately needs to mature into adulthood. If there is to be any positive fruition to the future of living organisms on this planet, then we all need to create more positive educational environments.

Works Cited

Alexie, Sherman. THE LONE RANGER AND TONTO FISTFIGHT IN HEAVEN, Design by Laura Hough, pp. 171-180. Grove Press, 2013.

Erdrich, Louise. “Jacklight.” ENG 234: Ethnic American Literature - Spring 2017 Harford Community College, Design by Harry Driggs, Layout by Andrea, pp. 107-109. University of Washington Press, Jan. 2017.

Iannone, Carol, et al. “Symposium: Should Education Civilize?” Academic Questions, vol. 17, no. 4, Fall 2004, pp. 68-69. EBSCOhost.

Jensen, Emily.

Michaelius, Jonas. “Attempts to Christianize the Indians.” Attempts to Christianize the Indians, 10 Jan. 2009, p. 129. EBSCOhost.

Have you ever witnessed problems arise in an educational system?

Have you ever witnessed problems arise in an educational system?

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Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Alexander James Guckenberger


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      • Miebakagh57 profile image

        Miebakagh Fiberesima 

        2 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

        Hello, Alexander, you are welcomed. Nothing could be further from the truth. Have a nice time.

      • Guckenberger profile imageAUTHOR

        Alexander James Guckenberger 

        2 months ago from Maryland, United States of America

        Miebakagh Fiberesima, I would state that Islam has done similar things. Don't get me wrong however; I have taught in the public school setting and have a degree in the art of education. I'm also a priest in my church. I don't hate Christianity, Islam, nor education. I simply think that one can keep something of their initial culture when having the option to join ours at the same time. Anyway, I love the discussion here so far.

      • Miebakagh57 profile image

        Miebakagh Fiberesima 

        2 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

        Hi Alexander, the 3 C's apart, how do you see the education in a Mohamedian setting? Do muslems christianized? No, so education has other bents. However, the article isinformative. Thanks for sharing.


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