Sloan: Educated will seek out evidence

When this column was due, I was vacationing in Arkansas — caves, cousins, cabins, canoes — so I perused Facebook for inspiration.

A few anti-education, anti-intellectual, reverse-snobbery sentiments caught my attention.

Wendel Sloan

Wendel Sloan

One pejorative term was “overly educated.” Since I have a master’s degree, perhaps I am lumped in that category.

My degrees at a blue-collar college required blue-collar effort. In addition to studying hard, I (aided by sacrificing, middle-class parents) paid my expenses by working at a steel mill, hauling hay, pouring concrete, cutting wood at a furniture factory, mowing yards, buffing floors as a late-night custodian, cooking at a Mexican restaurant, working evenings at the student recreation center, being a graduate teaching assistant, and bootlegging.

Not a single idea I learned in college educated me to my detriment. Because degrees hold no mystique for me, college made me more accepting of everyone.

My journalism and counseling degrees, earned through hard work and disciplined studying, supplement my life-long learning from all experiences. The subtraction of either would make my world poorer and probably more judgmental.

College was my first immersion in a world of swirling diversity.
By the time I joined the military and was sent to Florida, then Guam, my undergraduate years prepared me to feel comfortable with a limitless prism of colors, cultures, beliefs, non-beliefs, persuasions, attitudes, aptitudes and motivations.

Formal education is not a prerequisite for being well-rounded, nor an impediment. Disparaging someone’s formal education is no different from calling someone “overly handsome” or “overly wealthy.”

Since I have experienced neither (though I’m willing to try), I am unfamiliar with how such attributes might enhance my opportunities to broaden my world view.

Those of us with degrees are not impressed with ourselves, nor unimpressed by those without.

The truly educated, through school or life, simply seek evidence over mythology, feel morally obligated to calmly (albeit reluctantly) correct unsubstantiated nonsense, and uplift everyone by banishing stereotypes with the open-carry laser of acceptance.

Contact Wendel Sloan at:
wendel.sloan@yahoo.com