Me and My Sham Education

For my senior colloquium course in college, I had to read this book, The Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez by (you guessed it!) Richard Rodriguez. In it, Rodriguez talks about being a “scholarship boy” and the opportunities it provided him for a life amongst the gringos. He was given opportunities that his parents (who suffered because of a language barrier, in particular) just didn’t have. He was always concerned, however, that he was just pleasing people and going through the motions, that he wasn’t really as smart as everyone led him to believe. Much of this book examines the concept of duality. For a plethora of reasons, I hated it. Something about the language or his opinion of himself. I couldn’t necessarily put my finger on it, but I just hated it.

Then, a few years later, when I was in grad school, I had to read it again. Twice.

The more I read this book, the more I continued to dislike it. But as I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my education lately and where it’s gotten me, I keep coming back to this book. Curses! Something about that idea of duality and binary oppositions, that his entire education was something of a sham started to resonate with me.

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Breaking News!

First of all, for my sarcasm-challenged readers, I just want to begin with a disclaimer that the title of this blog is drenched with sarcasm. Moving along…

There is a picture of me at three years old, sitting in the front of a firetruck with my best friend. We are wearing fireman hats. His name was Peter. I don’t know his last name and I doubt if I’ve seen him since 1986, but if I were going to blame someone, maybe it would be him. I’m not going to point fingers, though, because that seems pointless. I hope Peter is having a great life.

In first grade, I started having a bit of a crisis regarding my dolls and my Nintendo. I had two best friends: one who would argue over Barbies with me, and the other who just wanted to play Nintendo and ride bikes. When it came to that point in elementary school when the clear divide between girls and boys started to make itself apparent, I started becoming something of a tomboy because I didn’t want to alienate that boy who was my best friend. The one who liked video games and bike rides. So I started pretending to be interested in basketball (a sport in which I truly have no interest. I honestly enjoy baseball and football, but basketball bores me to tears). I played video games like nobody’s business. In an effort to hide my weight and disguise the fact that I felt so ugly compared to other girls my age, I just started wearing guys’ clothing for a period of time, too. I developed an interest in what are generally thought of as boy hobbies, and as the years went on and I started to be treated like it, I started to feel like, well, one of the guys. Continue reading