Guest blogger Bexology2 confronts haunting issues about giftedness and difference.
I’m in the middle of my PhD. It’s not about giftedness or even anything to do with education, but rather it centres on urban poverty and food insecurity. I’m reading George Herbert Mead and Mary Douglas and David Sibley and Georg Simmell. I’m thinking around Mead’s notions of ‘the generalised other’ and how we apply them to the poor, considering how Douglas showcases our construction of ‘the other’ as dirty and unclean, learning that Sibley identifies numerous ways in which space and place are utilised in order to exclude, and all these ideas combine in our society today in a variety of ways that work to ostracise and dehumanise and dismiss those who are different.
And we, the gifted, are different. We see the world through unique lenses; we ask too many difficult questions; we refuse to accept pat answers; we persist in challenging the status quo. The world needs people like us to push past what is and to reveal what could be. The world need us to continue to provoke, to ask, to think in new and creative ways, to demand that our society can and does improve in multiple ways.
And yet, it is our very difference that sees us ‘othered’ and ostracised and made fun of and demeaned and dismissed.
I’m not sure what the answer is, or even if there is one. I’m two score years into my three score years and ten, and I’m only just now feeling comfortable in my own skin, including identifying as being gifted. My children too are gifted, but I’m not yet comfortable outing them as such. I know the pain of being the ‘other’ and it’s not a pain that I want to inflict on my (or any!) child. Instead I patiently advocate for their needs, support more vocal voices than mine, and quietly hope that we will become a more inclusive, compassionate society that values each and every one of us for who are, not how well we ‘fit in’ in our desperate attempts to avoid becoming the other.
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