torture graffiti


“I always thought school was a form of torture.” — Valleria Ruselli

“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” — Audre Lorde

“Parents need to encourage their children to provide their teachers with tools which will enable them to instruct them along entirely new lines.” — Rachel Olivia O’Connor of the Oxman Collective (which sponsors Flannery O’Connor Academy)

Stealth torture is the kind of torture that leaves no visible marks, like waterboarding, and the use of techniques like stress positions (hanging upside down, weighing someone down) and the imposition of environmental extremes (deprivation of sleep, scarcity of food). All designed to inflict unconscionable physical pain without leaving physical traces of any kind.

It shouldn’t matter to educators what the polls might show respecting how many Americans approve of torture. Nor should it affect them that the American Psychology Association has facilitated torture programs. Our societal embrace of torture should be spotlighted in classrooms as an indication of how sick we are across the board, waterboarding — perhaps — demonstrated by securing a volunteer moment from some kid’s parent who might dissent, who might approve of torture. “See how he suffers, children. Okay, Mr. Smith, you can go home now.”

Seriously, I ask teachers and administrators why no one in their state is doing what is being attempted by a small group of concerned citizens in North Carolina these days. No academic would have to risk their job by advocating something that was too controversial, say, for a given community. They could stir up righteous passions among select members of their community and encourage them (parents, activists et alia) to push the envelope with folks all across their state. And while those citizens were doing the right thing vis-a-vis the abomination of torture, they could — you might say — kill two birds with one stone. They could — simultaneously — speak out against capital punishment, which is “torture” of a monumental sort. Making comfort impossible for family members deprived of loved ones — whether or not they were innocent — for entire lifetimes.

Use your imagination to come up with alternatives to my suggestions here. And use your imaginations, readers, to intuit what ripples might be generated with regard to war if activism were successful on the scores spotlighted above. I say we’d have a shot at making a serious dent in the atrocities we inflict on others abroad. We’d be planting the seeds for sowing a serious change the very worst habits we’re holding onto. Which include, of course, looking the other way.

Some things are hard to see. And education can sometimes be a form of stealth torture… leaving no blatant marks for the unmindful.

Make this day a day or reckoning.

Flannery O’Connor Academy serves youngsters who have committed to home schooling. They write anonymously and exclusively for CC. Each young author posted here asks for feedback at The author believes that Roy Eidelson’s 2016 article might be of interest to readers who agree with the above, as — obviously — members of the APA are educators of a sort. And — quite often — parents too.

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