Morrison, Moral Inhabitants
If education is about anything other than being able to earn more money (and it may not be about any other thing), that other thing is intelligent problem-solving and humans relating to one another in mutually constructive ways. But educational institutions and some of our most distinguished scholars have considered the cooperation among human beings and mutually constructive goals to be fourth and fifth rate concerns where they were concerns at all. The history of the country is all the proof one needs that it is so. (paragraph 6)
When I first read this passage, I could only understand that this is about racism. I partially get the point that this is against it, but the passage itself does not express this idea directly, which may be the main reason that I do not understand it. But after reading it over for another time and looking up some words, I can gradually understand that Morrison is referring us as some “moral inhabitants” that could not discriminate human beings from objects—even the Bureau of Census and the Historical Statistics of the United States recorded them as pure numbers. One other factor that hinders my understanding is the history part, some of the names mentioned in the passage seemed strange to me but may be common sense for native readers.
I choose this particular passage is because this is the first one I read and also the topic that I am interested the most. Such conflict between different races does not exist back in my home country. However, that does not mean there is no conflict at all—in fact, discriminations even happened within races, which actually draws attention to the concept of identity. People discriminate from each other by identity, but they unite with each other by the same concept. From this point it is easy to see the two sides of both identity and humanity. One cannot put it as simple as good or bad, but the individual must view it in a complex yet comprehensive way.
For the particular paragraph I excerpt, I think Morrison criticize the education system in order to indicate how serious the problem between race is. Human should help each other, but this is never the case. The whole passage is actually implying the theme that the majority of the United States should do the right thing which they are not doing it at all, even “the most distinguished scholar” put this problem as a minor one.