In Graff essay, “Hidden Intellectualism”, Graff compares street smarts to book smarts. Graff debates the common belief that having book smarts gives one an intellectual advantage over other forms of intellectualism. Gerald Graff supports this belief by telling a personal story, explaining where the education systems fails, and stating that people stereotype intellect With book smarts.
Gerald Graff starts his essay, “Hidden Intellectualism,” with a short story about is childhood explaining that sometimes street smarts are more important than book smarts. In this short story Graff states, “It was necessary to maintain the boundary between “clean-cut” boys like me and working. Class ‘hoods,” as we called them, which meant that it was good to be openly smart in a bookish sort of war (Graff 382). Garage’s statement shows that people associate book smarts with intellectualism more than they do with street smarts, The “hoods” were viewed as less in intelligent because they did not succeed in school as often.
In part of his story Graff shares, “The hood would turn on you if they sensed you were on airs over them” (Graff 382). This shows that it would be better to have street smarts in certain situations rather than book smarts. Gerald Graff debates that schools and colleges aren’t teaching students in the correct way. Graff explains this view by stating, “Schools and colleges might be at fault for missing the opportunity to tap into such street smarts and channel them into good academic work” (Graff 380), In this quote Graff is pointing out how colleges do not use street smarts to their advantage.
Graff uses sports as an example. Students find sports much more enjoyable and would pay better attention if school had more of the same qualities that sports do. Graff states, “Sports are more compelling than school, not less. Sports after all are full of challenging arguments, debates, problems for analysis, and intricate statistics that you could care about, as school conspicuously is not” (Graff 384). In this statement Graff gives many reasons why sports smarts are equal to book smarts. People stereotype street smarts as being anti-intellectual.
Graff explains how he feels y stating. ‘M/e associate these street smarts with anti-intellectual concerns. We associate the educated life, the life of the mind, to narrowly with subjects” (Graff 380). Graff is pointing out how people limit student’s intellectualism with certain subjects instead of subjects that the students are interested in. Graff also supports this point by stating, ” They (students) would be more prone to take on intellectual identities if we encourage them to do so at first on subjects that interest them rather than ones that interest us’ (Graff 381).
This statement purports his belief that schools do not pertain to the students interest but to their own. Intellectualism does not only pertain to what students learn in school, Intellectualism can be found in any subject as long as one’s mind is challenged. Street smarts help individuals solve problems every day, Street smarts are equally as important as book smarts. In certain situations street smarts are more useful than book smarts; schools do not give students the opportunity to show their intellect in enough subjects, and too often people stereotype intellect with book smarts.