Saturday, December 10, 2011

I will not learn from you

Of all the different kinds of pride I've encountered or indulged in, this is the one I've seen as almost intractable and unyielding because it is the kind of pride that is selective. And selective pride is hard to deal with. Oh yes, there is racial pride, clan pride, poverty pride, survivor pride. And all these kinds of prides hurt others in addition to hurting the proud person. But the racially proud person might go to a black doctor if forced to. The poor person may allow herself to starve rather than accept help but if push comes to shove, she will give in...at least for hunger's sake to take a loaf of bread. But the "I will not learn from you" pride is so near bitterness and such a mix of so many prides and so many emotions that it's hard to break its power over its possessor. And generally, the person who has this kind of pride is quite a sweet person in all other situations... but in this one situation with a specific person or types of persons....well, a coldness pops up, and yes, an inability to learn. This is the dangerous thing.

I speak from experience. Both on the receiving and giving end of this particular sin/hurt/bitterness.

I've tried to teach certain writers but they consider me not famous enough, not white enough, not Christian enough, not enlightened enough...to help them.

And I've had people try to teach me stuff but then I just can't listen to them because I feel they have not suffered enough, or they are not enlightened enough (in my opinion), or they are not Black, or they are too evangelically trained Christian-y, or they are not whatever.

Of course sometimes we have to deal with arrogant teachers. Sometimes we have no other choice but to learn from an arrogant person. I remember....back in the day, WBAI had a very arrogant teacher of alternative health. He dripped arrogance. But hey, he taught so many good things. So what are we to do with these arrogant teachers, all swollen with their self-importance?

More often than not I am polite with these folks...(because they do mean well) but if they come at me with some superiority (which they often do because they are more famous, or subtly prejudice, or subtly more holy than unholy me) I get nasty. Although I am generally nice and accepting to other folks who want to teach me. Hence, the selectivity of the sin.

Now what am I to do with this nastiness of mine when dealing with holier-than-thou Christians? Obviously, I must forgive the past and stop being bitter at people who treat me as if I'm stupid. Obviously, I must assume that a possible teacher can teach me something, even if some teacher betrays subtle racism, subtle superiority, subtle nastiness. Ah, what a bother! Because I don't really want to add another spiritual challenge to my life. But worse, it's a bother because these folks I refuse to learn from aren't gonna change anytime soon...nor do they consider themselves in need of change.

So yeah, it's my battle alone. And I have to suck up and be all humble and teachable and let some superior annoying super-Christian teach me....while they walk away triumphing over me. Dang! The stuff God requires of His people!

Oh, BTW, got the title from a really great teaching book by Herbert Kohl...about how black and poor kids react to certain teachers. 
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