Letters to the Editor: February 1, 2008
Good god man, you are out of our mind?In 1931 some well-meaning people, make that very rich people, altered the coastline of California by building a seawall on some rocky outcrop in La Jolla. The rocks they built them on were called “Seal Rock Point” and “Seal Rock” because that is where seals had been hauling out of the ocean since before you, your forefathers and your forefathers forefathers had even seen the land or called it La Jolla.
Ellen Browning Scripps thought it would be nice to have a safe place for children to use the ocean, as they say, “a fine idea at the time,” just like building homes in the Desert View Drive area.
But now, “it’s a brilliant mistake.”
Nature has a way of proving us all wrong, and you can’t fool with mother nature or the millions of years of seal’s natural behavior. Would you build a swimming hole for your little ankle biters on the same plot of land called “lion rock” that the lions or tigers like to stop by for a nice cool drink of water?
I have a great idea, let’s go to Africa, build cute little swimmin’ holes where the lions and tigers drink and put a names on it like, “children’s swimmin’ hole.” we will put your name on a plaque and even light it at night so all the children can realize how wonderful you are. I should hope that those lions and tigers can read, but if they can’t ... oh well. Tasty children for the lions. Trying to alter the path of mother nature gives a few problems, 1. Erosion will eventually take care of the seawall, it won’t be anytime soon, but it will eventually go. 2. The seals and their pups are probably thankful the E.B.S. gave them a nice sandy beach to haul out onto as opposed to the hard rocky rocks known as “seal rock.” 3. Just because you name something doesn’t mean its correct. 3a. Desert View Drive, you can’t actually see the desert from there. (But eventually it will be deserted) 3b. Country Club Drive in La Jolla doesn’t actually go to the country club, in fact to get to the country club you need to take High Avenue, that is actually below country club drive. 3c. La Jolla Village Drive is nowhere near La Jolla and doesn’t take you to the Village in either direction. So to recap ... humans placing artificial barriers on top on rocks that have been used by countless creatures over the millennia doesn’t mean that the creatures will obey our will or suddenly learn how to read. But if you really want, maybe we can ask the seals if they wouldn’t mind being domesticated in the soon to be empty homes up near Desert View Drive.
Is MLK Appropriate for Early Education?The importance of history is often cited as the value of studying the past to minimize the chances of making the same mistakes again. But, a question that needs to be addressed in our school systems is when is a good time to learn these lessons of history?
My current concern relates to the MLK holiday. We are all inherently born “color-blind.” Of course, kids see the color of skin, as they do other superficial characteristics. But, the critical issue is that uncorrupted youth does not harbor preconceived judgments/biases/prejudices about a person based on the color of their skin.
These types of preconceived judgments only come about through the environment. We, as a society, can not control the learning that takes place in each home and neighborhood. But, the government does have a say in the development of preconceived judgments that take place in schools. Unfortunately, the risk is that introducing such a heavy topic as racial inequality and slavery at too young of an age may actually help reinforces adverse preconceptions. What prompted me to write this piece is my 6- and 4-year old both came home from school this week talking about the efforts of Dr. King. Curious, I listened, but became disenchanted with what was communicated. The focus was on the specifics, as you might expect at this age. The problem I realized was that these specifics were the extent of their “take-away” from the topic.
The truth is that young kids do not have the knowledge, experience, or emotional maturity to possibly understand the significance, history, and legacy of race relations in the U.S. The same can be said of the Holocaust or 9-11.
My fear is that the MLK holiday has such a focus on race, and the divide that has previously existed, that it will actually have my kids look at a person who has darker skin with a judgment that was not previously there. Moreover, I worry about the individual on the other side, who suddenly is feeling different - because of the color of their skin.
I have always tried to raise my kids to realize that what matters is who you are on the inside. Every person has a set of unique characteristics on the outside. But, that is not a way to judge a person. The way that you judge a person is by the character on the inside. After hearing my kids’ comments about Dr. King, I tried to make clear to them that this crucial difference, between characteristics and character, is what MLK day is really all about.
That is something they could understand.