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Archive for April, 2011

As you guys float on into your personal, social, academic, and professional futures, please leave me with this gift.

I want to know what worked, what did not work, what was over-done, done just right, and under-cooked.

This helps us make this experience better and better, knowing that no two groups of students is ever the same.

Thank you for the honor of having worked with each of you.

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This is tough though tough.  If we actually achieve a post-racial world, what’ll we do with all those jokes about Asians, and Blacks, and poor Whites, and the physically and mentally handicapped, and gays, and…  I mean if we can’t caricature people what would Jeff Dunham do?  What would Tosh.O do? What would Martin Lawrence do?  Do you mean that I won’t think that Asians make the worst drivers anymore…and when I see a bad driver and he or she is Asian…then what?   So won’t I pull my purse anymore?  So what happens if I don’t pull my purse and some Black guy rips it off or jacks my car or something?  So I don’t think that every White man with a jacket and tie and a smile is a liar and is in it just for the money or prestige?

Because if you think of it, we need to retain difference.  I need to have a bigger house than you…and feel justified in my earning it.  I need to my kids to go to ballet and gymnastics.  I need to feel elevated and special, and if all of this separation goes away – then whom do I laugh at?  Whom do I look down on?  I need a BMW and a yacht and a big house and a cabin and a cool-ass sports car.  And if it is post-racial, then everybody has an equal chance to get that.  I don’t know if I want that.  Can we just talk about it a bit more while I hook-up my bank account on some poor folks’ backs?   Oh well!!!

Hey, here is a question for you:  I have a dog who is really really ill.  I lift her to take her downstairs ’cause I don’t want her to hurt herself.  But on the flat, I make sure she walks – that’s ’cause I don’t want to weaken her and make her muscles atrophy and her bones brittle. 

Yet, we have many well-meaning teachers, and socially active agencies that keep lifting my kids up.  They lift them up the stairs.  They lift them down the stairs.  They lift them on the flat.  They don’t give them any challenging work to do.  Or some of my Special Education teachers actually give my kids the answers.   Or some of my Regular education teachers just let them sit there or walk out of class. 

I’ll give you an example.  I have a school that keeps paying for one of my kid’s medicine – because they know he needs it and because they care.   They’ve been doing this since he was in third grade.  The medicine is expensive.  His mother does not have the money or the ability to find that kind of money.  The kid needs the medicine.  

I understand all of that.  I really do.  But tell me this: How come his mother (no dad) does not pay for a certain percentage – even $10:00?  I’ve seen this behavior a lot amongst well-meaning, caring people.  It’s like me lifting my dog up the stairs, down the stairs, and one the flat – – – and wondering why she keeps getting weaker and weaker! !

 So I asked a principal about this pattern I have noticed in really wonderfully, caring teachers and here is what she told me.  “They keep preparing my kids for jail…and they don’t even realize it.  Kids, regardless of life circumstance, must be held responsible for their learning…for their actions. ”  

 This giving and giving behavior, she says, is keeping both the kids and families in a weakened and submissive state.  This leads to an under-skilled, un-readied population. They keep preparing my kids for jail

For this final (maybe we’ll have another final one) – for this final blog, really dig into this for me.  Let’s get some thoughtful discussions going.

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We have spent almost three months examining how issues of race and diversity inform, consciously and unconsciously, and impact a wide range of human concerns:  from justice to education to health to democracy to  … the list has been long!

But – what about the folks who say we live in a post-racial society and race is only a consideration because it is brought up at all?  “Nobody gives a damn about race anymore! We don’t want to hear it!” …that it is even a red herring in many debates – that race, in and of itself, shouldn’t be a consideration?  …that point to the election of a Black president a clear demonstration of a post-racial society?   …that point to a Latino on their Board of Directors as demonstration of a post-racial society?  …that point to a Black Police Chief as evidence of a post-racial society?  …that point to a gay-Latina as Fire Chief as evidence of a post-racial society?

Or what about the other side of the discussion that says that those examples only serve to demonstrate that we are clearly not there yet.  The fact that in 2011 we have to search for one Black grain of rice or one Brown grain of rice, or the first woman, or to feel the need to boast that we’re the first to make our facilities all inclusive, simply strengthens the argument that we are not even close to being a post-racial society.    

To create a post-racial society do we simply start acting like we live in post-racial society?

Does concern for race distract us?  Are we too pc and all tied up in something that does not matter?

Discuss.

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