Why do we Value Beauty Pageants over Educational Honours?

by Uche Onegeria 19 Feb , 2016  

They say a picture speaks a thousand words. This one below spoke to me and reminded me of why our societal values are twisted and why we could be on the brink of losing intelligent people.

The 2 factors of debate here are beauty and brains (2 eternal rivals).

I’m not against rewarding beautiful people for their God-given gifts. I just question the reason why the society places less value on the reward given to the intelligent students. In one case, the beauty queen is rewarded with cars and endorsements which entices most people to jump on its bandwagon to earn its coveted prizes and status. In the other case, the intelligent student is rewarded with paltry sums of money and other items that are simply too embarrassing to mention which obviously do not entice other students to queue up in the library to gain knowledge and become smarter.

Image from the web 

Why can’t the societal leaders see that this wide margin in the compensation of these 2 categories, beauty and brain continues hurting our youths and our economy?

Ben Carson (Retired American Neurosurgeon and Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital | Candidate for the 2016 Republican nomination) said it best while speaking at the National Breakfast in 2013. Please, find a part of his speech transcription below (Yes. It is quite long but it will be well worth your time). Or watch the Youtube video here.


“But – what will maintain our position in the world; the ability to shoot a 25 foot jump shot or the ability to solve a quadratic equation?” said Ben Carson. (Or wearing the sexiest bathing suits and evening gowns while parading on stage for an audience)

Ben Carson. Image from Wikipedia

“We try to put the students on a pedestal as impressive as we do the All-State athletes”, Carson says about the Carson College fund. 

“What we need to start thinking about is, “how do we solve problems?”
Now, before I get shot, let me finish. I don’t like to bring up problems without coming up with solutions. My wife and I started the Carson Scholars Fund 16 years ago after we heard about an international survey looking at the ability of eight graders in 22 countries to solve math and science problems, and we came out No. 21 out of 22. We only barely beat out Number 22 – very concerning.
We we’d into schools and we’d see all these trophies: State Basketball, State Wrestling, this, that and the other. The Quarterback was the Big Man on Campus. What about the intellectual Superstar? What did they get? A National Honor Society pin? A pat on the head,

“There, there little Nerd?” Nobody cared about them. And is it any wonder that sometimes the smart kids try to hide? They don’t want anybody to know they are smart? This is not helping us or our Nation, so we started giving out scholarships from all backgrounds for superior academic performance and demonstration of humanitarian qualities. Unless you cared about other people, it didn’t matter how smart you were. We’ve got plenty of people like that. We don’t need smart people who don’t care about other people.

“……….for everyone helped….one more tax paying productive member of the society who may invent a new energy source or come up with a cure for cancer…….” Ben Carson

Image from the web

[Benjamin Carson] Source: LYBIO.net
We would give them money. The money would go into a Trust. They would get interest on it. When they would go to college they would get the money, but also the school gets a trophy, every bit as impressive as a sports trophy – right out there with the others. They get a medal. They get to go to a banquet. We try to put them on a pedestal as impressive as we do the All-State athletes. I have nothing against athletics or entertainment. I’m from Baltimore. The Ravens won. This is great – okay. But, but – what will maintain our position in the world? The ability to shoot a 25 foot jump shot or the ability to solve a quadratic equation? We need to put the things into proper perspective.

Many teachers have told us that when we put a Carson Scholar in their classroom, the GPA of the whole classroom goes up over the next year. It’s been very gratifying. We started 16 years ago with 25 scholarships in Maryland, now we’ve given out more than 5,000 and we are in all 50 states, but we’ve also put in Reading Rooms. These are fascinating places that no little kid could possibly pass up. And uh, they get points for the amount of time they spend reading, and the number of books they read. They can trade the points for prizes. In the beginning they do it for the prizes, but it doesn’t take long before their academic performance begins to improve.”

My appreciation goes to LYBIO.net for the full speech transcript. Thank you.

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