Knowledge is power. And education is the key.
Without the pursuit of education, people would continue to stereotype, to generalize, to rationalize, and to live in a happy little bubble where “the other” does not exist and everyone gets along perfectly. Education shatters this perception. Education, providing that an individual possesses a willingness to learn, allows us to become aware of how “our” culture innately creates an “other”, to understand another’s viewpoints and experiences, and learn the multiple forms “otherness” takes.
I know that without this course, people, discussions, and personal growth I’ve experienced this semester, I would still be the same person who didn’t think racism existed beyond her grandparent’s generation. A girl who was angry about workplace inequality and wage gaps and other career-related issues, but only as they related to herself. A woman ignorant of the injustices going on around her, and happily oblivious to the “other” culture, as she was not a part of it. But through this class, which covered conceptual ideas of otherness, how otherness is perpetuated by a “dominant” culture, where otherness is seen in contemporary times and throughout the history of art, I have learned so much more than I bargained for in the beginning.
And that’s the point, isn’t it? That in order to create change, one has to be aware and open and educated. In order to pursue action, one must understand what the history, context, and understandings are of both sides of an issue. In order to better this world, one needs to be willing to be a life-long learner, and to dedicate themselves to educating themselves and others. Education is the key to understanding and sustainable action. And that’s what this class was able to share with me through so many different approaches; that while knowledge is power and knowing facts and viewpoints is important, education is the key to change, as it incites a call to action to educate others.