My Kid Beat Up Your Honor Student - An essay about Anti-Intellectualism in America

Essay by BluescatUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, May 2004

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Have you ever seen on of the popular bumper stickers that proudly proclaim, "My child is an honor student at such and such school", or the responding sticker that says, "My kid beat up your honor student?" This parental display of resentment toward scholarly students is sickening. The non-honor parent is promoting a ridiculous stereotype through out the country: Smart kids are not physically strong. Something is seriously wrong with American culture today when a gifted young individual is segregated from the rest of their peers because of anti-intellectualism. This is so commonplace today that no one seems to care much or even notice about what is happening. In his essay "America Needs Its Nerds" Leonid Fridman argues that this negative view of intellectuals and students who do well in school does damage to the progress our county needs to make. I absolutely agree with Fridman's statement that anti-intellectualism is very prevalent in America's culture and schools and something needs to be done immediately.

        One could argue that resentment towards intellectuals is in America's DNA. After all, it was against elitist, intellectual British against whom the Revolutionary War was waged. Colonists fought to not only to separate the colonies from monarchial rule, but also the intellectual lifestyles imposed on the colonists by the British. According to Hofstadter, our democratic and populist urges have driven us to reject anything that hints of elitism. Even Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn exemplified American anti-intellectualism. The novel's hero avoids being civilized; going to school and learning to read; so he can preserve his natural goodness. In today's times, derogatory words like "Nerd","Geek"and"Snob are used to put down anyone who is driven towards individualism and scholarly activities instead of tribalism. Television and movies also portray the stereotypical image of the intellectuals, which only acts as a...