Binaries Deconstructed

(Note: I mean absolutely nothing by this whatsoever. – Owen)

= = = = =

He explained to us, at some length, and with considerable torturing of language

That binary thinking was at the root of most forms of oppression:
Male & female, white & black, us & them, free & slave

He then went on to conclude that all forms of binaries were illusory
Just things humans made up to maintain their own, unfair and oppressive power
And that we should oppose such things

I thought I understood, and followed along, taking notes
Agreeing completely

I then wrote totally different answers on the test than those he had taught
And got an “F”

It turns out, the one power-dynamic binary he still supported
Was the one-sided power
Of teachers

… Things Called Teachers …

I’ve read that many years ago
Way, way back in the day
Kids once learned things from “teachers”
That used to be the way

That living breathing humans learned,
With others in a class:
There children were with other kids,
Inside or out on grass —

But that idea has disappeared
As far to dangerous:
We cannot be with others, they
Are way
Too much
Like us

The screen was lit up, and it said: “Today’s arithmetic lesson is on the addition of proper fractions. Please insert yesterday’s homework in the proper slot.”

Margie did so with a sigh. She was thinking about the old schools they had when her grandfather’s grandfather was a little boy. All the kids from the whole neighborhood came, laughing and shouting in the schoolyard, sitting together in the schoolroom, going home together at the end of the day. They learned the same things, so they could help one another on the homework and talk about it.

And the teachers were people…

The mechanical teacher was flashing on the screen: “When we add the fractions 1/2 and 1/4…”

Margie was thinking about how the kids must have loved it in the old days. She was thinking about the fun they had.

– Isaac Asimov, “The Fun They Had,” 1951