Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Shirley Gale

What The Fuck Do You Want From Me?

Recommended Posts

Caution: This contains strong language.

 

What The Fuck Do You Want From Me?

 

“Son,” she said, “got to do yo’ work.”

I ain’t got to do nothin’

Yeah, I’m angry—so what? What the fuck do you want from me?

So now it’s all my fault. 

She can’t read or write eitha. Don’t want me around.

He can’t read or write eitha. Neva wanted me from the beginning.

Naw, I can’t read and write and fuck math and science--can’t do that neitha.

 

“Son,” she said, “keep your head up and listen.”

“Fuck you, leave me alone.

I don’t know this stuff—hardly seen any of it befo'.

School ain’t my answa—no real support there.

They say, too old, foundation crumbling--my existence cracked and weak.

Fourth grade come and gone, test scores way low.

Can’t recall or retrieve it, too late for me—brain cells said so.

What the fuck do you want from me?

 

“Son,” she said, “open your book and read along.”

I can’t read this shit. Don’t you think I would if I could? I tried. You know I tried.

She persists—always persisting, even encouraging. Better than the one who gave me life.

Fake the shit, read somehow. Omit some words, stumble on more, makeup others--satisfy her, make her proud.

They laugh at me exposing my weakness and shame. I silence them with my stare.

I told you I can’t read this. Leave me alone—Bitch get away from me.

 

Son,” she said, “you’ve got to do this.”

Didn’t have no books—she didn’t buy any—no magical blue train engine with his friends, no

thousand acre forest with a whimsical bear named Winnie the Pooh and his slow friend—the clever, gray ass—

nothing like that in my formative years.

 

“Son,” she said, “don’t you want to go to high school?”

Stupid questions coming at me from everywhere—all the time—from all of them.

I dream of high school—even college—want to find me a good job.

I see myself standing in front of the class reading my report written last night,

seeing her face delight in my scholar.

But that’s not me—can’t be me.

I can’t read so I can’t write. I can’t write so I can’t read. Why am I here?

Vicious circles all around me—lying to me, always lying.

What the fuck do you want from me?

 

“Son,” she said, “you’ve got to try.”

I’m here for you, right here, right now.

I’m a big ass teen, big as any man; she said I’m on a third grade level.

Don’t you think I know it? I know it all too well.

Fuck you, fuck her, fuck him, and fuck all of this reading and writing.

Papers with hurried marks ripped and tossed, my pencil splintered in yellow wooden pieces on the floor.

What the fuck do you want from me?

 

My aim was straight—my target in range. His image mirrored mine.

The bullet hit him square in his back. Blood flowed like red and black ink onto the ground.

He could read and write, “literate,” she said.

They spun me around, punching and kicking—them at me, me at them.

Metal bracelets clench my wrists. Oh fuck!

I can’t read, I can’t write, I don’t exist.

What the fuck did you expect from me?

 

“Life!” he said. Life with no chance of patrol—I’m sixteen years old.

What the fuck do you want from me? What the fuck did I expect from you?

 

Shirley G. Perry-Church, 12-4-2015

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Shirley Gale, I'm sharing the backstory to the poem below.  I think it will help readers appreciate it.

My first student, Earl Joseph, III, approximately two years ago, shot a man in the back after stealing cars. Earl was only 15 years old. When he was my student, he presented himself as this beautiful young man who possessed a gentle kindness and a smile that could light up the night's sky. I would have never dreamed in a million years that he would have shot someone. Now here is the kicker, Earl was reading on a 3rd to 5th grade level. He hardly ever came to school and when he did, the last thing on his mind was reading, writing, and listening to anything that any of his teachers, of course except me, had to say. Honestly, I am fortunate enough to understand this population of kids as my brothers and I were them. Anyway, I was not aware of Earl's activities until it was too late and my poor baby was locked up in adult population where he was of course raped and tormented by guys much older.  Please know that I am in no way excusing his actions. He was wrong--deadly wrong! But he had been wronged as well. He was wronged from birth by all of us--his negligent parents, Louisiana's piss poor educational system, his poor excuse for a community, and our out-of-sight, out-of-mind society at large.  Earl took the life of someone's husband, father, brother, etc. But, the fact remains that I am devastated to know that this child, will be locked up for the rest of his natural life with absolutely no chance of patrol. Rehabilitation you say. Please don't mention that non-existent word to me.  Louisiana ain't no joke, but their version of rehabilitation certainly is!!!!

Long story short, as I always do when I am in despair, I wrote poetic verse to these events. I would very much like to share what I have written. However, I have some very strong words which could be viewed as offensive for this particular platform. Troy, I would like for you to preview first and advise. This piece has graphic content, but  it is oh, so powerful. I would love to hear what CDBurns thinks about this particular free verse. I greatly respect his knowledge in this area.—Shirley G. Perry-Church

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Troy. Here are a few corrections. Like I've  said before, I need an editor with me 24/7. Site should be sight and wrong words should read strong words. Sorry everyone. This really drives me a little nuts when I do this.  :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shirley I OFTEN have to edit something I'd previously posted.  Sometimes I reread something I wrote and wonder what in the world possessed me to hit the enter key.  It is not like I did not check what I wrote, it is just that my mistakes are invisible to me right after write something.  A day later they are as plain as day.

I made the corrections, you requested, above.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tend to think writing using vernacular is always a great way to enter into a narrative poem. This feels like the truth to me and it is a very sad thing to read. There is nothing embellished here. It is simple, straight to the point pain. It's a dark Ehtridge Knight styled poem that gets to the core of what drives men to act and react. In all honesty  as far as the shape of the poem/style of the poem it doesn't matter. This could have been written in short story style and it would be just as powerful. Seeing it lined up in stanzaic form makes the lines more powerful though. It's an unfortunate topic, but well presented.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shirley, did you mean "parole" instead of "patrol"  in the next to the last line of your poem?

Troy, how carefully did you proof read your last post?  It might help if you type slower and not skim when you re-read something.

Chris, did you mean Ethridge or does Mr. Knight spell his name the way you wrote it? 

LOL. Couldn't resist.  I, myself, always make good use of the Edit feature on this site. Often when I post something with a long text, it's almost like a draft and a revised, edited, and corrected copy replaces the original one which is why folks might benefit from re-reading what I post over a period of a week.

Now, I will gracefully(?) exit from this thread because poetry is not my forte. I do, however, have a great deal of admiration for spoken word poems recited in a rapid cadence.  And for some reason, I like  Rapper couplets.  They are often very clever, and I love it when they use 2 words to rhyme with one. :blink: 

OK. I'm done.  Carry on.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cynique, generally I'm rushing when I post here.  The last post, with those egregious typos, which I obviously missed yesterday, jumped off the screen at me, as I'm sure they did to anyone else reading them. I might have a mental deficiency--I have to work really hard to edit my own material immediately after writing it.  I re-read that last post (at least I thought I did)

Shirley, that poem does a good job of presenting a young man, like Earl's,  thoughts.  The generational frustration, the embarrassment, etc.  What made this young man so angry?  What did he expect?

This makes me think about my mother's generation; most of her peers did not finish primary school.  Her own father never learned to read or write, but he owned a farm.  It does not seems like it is illiteracy alone that is the problem for boys like Earl.

I have also taught a class full of troubled youth and the best readers were the biggest pains in the butt.  What made it so frustrating was the those students were wasting my time and their own--but something was clearly bothering them, or they would have had their high school diploma and been doing the things that other smart people do.  

So being a good reader, or even very smart, is not sufficient to get kids out of the trouble and avoid the anger Earl experienced. Of course my stories are all anecdotal, viewed from my own lense, so may not have anything to do with the broader picture. 

But still, the frustration at one's inability to read on grade level to shooting another person in the back does not seem like a logical or even reasonable progression.  What do you think?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks all of you for responding to this. First to Cynique, I absolutely meant parole. Once I typed patrol, I could not see it. I had my son stand over me and read silently while I read aloud and he did not catch it. I had my hubby to read it also and he did not catch it. This is crazy. Troy, please fix this for me or tell me how without me having to re-do posting. For my part, I really want our platform to be "tight" as they say. I am going to try to slow down a little more so that I can be a bit more careful in my typing and proofreading. But meanwhile, Cynique, please stay on us.

CDBurns, thanks so much for your thoughts on this. It is painful and truthful. I had a beautiful young lady come up to me one day crying. I wanted her to join our Beautiful Young Lady (BYL) Mentoring Club. Her sister had already joined and was proudly wearing her t-shirt. This 15 year old told me that she could not read--really could not read--I'm talking first grade level kind of reading. She displayed deficiencies in all five areas of reading starting with Phonemic Awareness. This girl had no real conceptualization of Phonics, Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, and Fluency. I found this to be outrageous. How did this child get this far without a conceptual understanding of phonics? Of course, she was put in Special Education where her IEP should have taken care of this situation. IEPs, what a joke they are when they are not properly written for the child and implemented to serve. I cried with her because there are so many "throw-away" older children out there that it is almost impossible for any teacher to do one-to-one instructions with them. Earl is the tip of the iceberg and something must be done to teach our children how to read, write, and think. I see this as a major contributor to their inappropriate behaviors and their life choices.

Additionally, I asked for critiques on this piece because I have plans for it. I see that education reform passed that finally gets rid of NCLB. How ironic. I know that hundreds, maybe thousands of over aged, challenged, youths were not only left behind, but they were literally forgotten. Now, when I taught reading to my kids with special needs, my babies outperformed the regular education students on their state tests. Also, I had one young man to skip a grade when he entered high school. I say this because illiteracy is not a disease. Poverty is not a disease either. They both are rampant for sure, but there is a cure. Both can be eradicated over time.

I know that the system promotes poverty and illiteracy and capitalizes on it. Poor school administrators, and non performing teachers, who could care less, are paid to service this population of youths and they are not getting the job done. Of course, we all know that the prison system is a huge money maker.  The problem is this: there are too many in the black community that tends to embrace this madness via blind ignorance--I have seen it. It is our responsibility to initiate change for ourselves, our children and their proper education, and our communities.

Last, but not least, Troy, thanks so much. I did want to get on you about the typos, but I did not know how. It is hard to point a finger when the thumb points right back at the pointer. Anyway, we can always see mistakes made by others better than we can see our own. Hey, I like this. But I always get the message from your comments, suggestions, etc. I reiterate, we certainly need Cynique's eagle eyes on us.

In response to you, I want so much to spread the word about these kids and what is happening to them. Even with education reform, you best believe there will be very little implemented by the states for our over-aged, challenged youths. Sure, vocational skills will be taught, but I want our kids to learn how to think critically, to have reason in their thoughts, to be prepared for careers over just jobs. When they read, I want them to conceptualize via visualization and other deep thought processing techniques. I watched my students light up every single day that I walked into my classroom because they knew that I was going to require them them think--to reach deep into the hidden compartments of their brains. I watched many lights brighten, but I also had a few, like Earl's, to go dim. I live in the real world; I know that we can't save them all. However, it is our responsibility and duty to save as many as we can before the prison system is over run with our beautiful black babies. Know that I am speaking of the boys and girls. Girls being incarcerated are on the rise for much of the same reasons that boys are. Now that's another story for another day.

Troy, we are all aware that the initiation of innate or learned responses, or lack thereof, for children, starts at home. It is at birth that language acquisition (innate) which is imperative for reading (learned response) begins in the home with the parent(s). As a baby, if all you heard were my four letter word along with other non-motherly remarks toward and around you, your brain would acclimate so much differently than one who receives warm nurturing with great books (read to on a regular basis) in a home that advocates educational excellence. I say to you that it all starts with the proper acquisition of the English language, which we, for the most part have not fully conquered (slavery, a major contributor). I still struggle with the proper use of language--syntax, semantics that include, mechanics, grammar, structure, etc. Believe me, this impacts reading and writing tremendously!!!! Remember, this is an innate skill that the brain is prepared to accommodate, literally at birth. For real, If we don't use it, we lose it.

No, I certainly agree that it is not just deficits in reading and writing that drives inappropriate decision-making for these youths. It is everything done to them not to promote their intellectual genius that starts at home and causes them to enter the educational system unprepared. It is indeed a generational deficit in the brain's capacity and capabilities that for the most part are proliferating. Despite the views of some researchers, the brain is dynamic, learning can take place for anyone, at any time, and anywhere.

Well, I could go on about this for hours. However, I will end by saying thanks to you all for receiving my words. I hope there are no typos or grammatical errors :)

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am also a great promoter of reading being fundamental.  Some educators have theorized that readers are born, not made and certain children, if not taught how to read by a teacher, would eventually teach themselves how to read.  Then, of course, there is the hurdle of comprehending what you read. Knowing how to understand what you're reading is your window to the world, and good readers are usually good writers. 

One thing I've noticed on FaceBook is how the average black person does not have a very good command of standard English and grammar, not to mention the proper use of homonyms, routinely using "to" when it should be "too", "there" when it should be "their", "affect" when it should be "effect", "past" when it should be "passed", "your" when it should be "you're", etc.  They write the way they speak, their nouns not agreeing with their verbs, and the verb they have a very special kinship with is "be". They be messin with that word when it comes to expressing themselves.  I've often wondered if this dates back to slavery when our dehumanized ancestors felt empowered by a word that reassured them that they were, indeed, a being who did exist!  Nevertheless, black folks are very creative and clever when it comes to the slang words and phrases that they coin, many of these being adopted by white people, and some even absorbed into the idiom of the dominate culture. Most educated blacks are bilingual, fluent in Ebonics but able to speak the king's English when the occasion calls for it. Bottom line, using improper grammar does not reflect on a person's intelligence but it is a tool that aids in maneuvering through the greater society. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Cynique, it is so nice to have these intellectual exchanges beyond the confines of my home. I look forward to many more. I know that I can learn so much from you. Are you on Linkedin, if so I would love to connect with you on that platform as well.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cynique it is Etheridge, lol. I don't often go back and edit on any social media site. I actually barely edit myself on my own blog. I look at it as informal writing and treat it as such. I will say this in regard to grammar... I still think grammar should be taught by linguistics majors instead of English majors. Interpretation and analysis should be the realm of English majors. This isn't on topic, but I've been missing lately and not doing my equal amount of time here and on social. I The holidays are always like that. All I'm doing on social is sharing different stuff so I'm not interacting there either. Move forward everyone!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shirley you may edit the poem by clicking the "edit" link directly underneath it. 

I also teach a GED class I often have students who "graduated" from high school with an IEP, which apparently is worthless.  They are all very disappointed in that they did not understand that they effectively did not get a high school diploma.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for responding. I need to know how to edit my posts. I often go back to read my submissions a few hours later only to find some sort of error.  I have a fond relationship with edit buttons.

I am a former Special Education Teacher for children who were categorized under Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), what used to be Mental Retardation (MR), now Intellectual Disabilities, and Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD). When I wrote an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for a particular student, I made certain to do all the background work on that student from their home life to all of their academic achievements and deficits. I did this in order to write an educational plan to service the "whole" child. I could blow a Present Level of Academic Performance (PLOP) out of the water because of my due diligence in getting to know the child and his or her parents. Now here lies the kicker: After doing all of this work, as a teacher, oftentimes I was not able to implement the plan because of an overcrowded classroom, budget cuts, and the overwhelming volume of work that was required from me. If I didn't work at home and stay late after school hours, my IEPs would have been, for the most part, worthless documents.

As far as their graduation options, I always explained to students and their parents that there were 3 options following their primary and secondary education. I had to place my students on one of these 3 tracks. I made certain that the parents and the students were well aware of their graduation destinations. Often, because of their state test scores, it was usually the vocational track with the GED. Some did graduate with a standard diploma where they could attend a community college. However, only a few went on to high school with a diploma that allowed them to attend a 4-year college or university. They simply weren't academically prepared to compete.

Special Education was never intended to be a permanent placement for children. Administrators and teachers were supposed to deliver instructions that resulted in positive educational progression for these children--a progression that was intended to get them into a regular classroom setting. But the teachers and parents benefited from having these children remain under this umbrella. My kids called their benefit checks "crazy checks." They had better act "crazy" in the classroom so that their parent(s) could continue to reap their meager monthly checks from the state. Learning cannot take place in the presence of distractions and disruptions. 

I leave you with this. Far too many of our black male children are labeled under SLD and placed in SPED because of their history of inappropriate/disruptive behaviors. This is wrong on so many levels. So many of our children are misdiagnosed and over-categorized for Specific Learning Disabilities--especially in reading and math. Again, I can hardly wait to see what the states do with their implementation of the new Education Reform Bill. Many substandard schools are, for the most part, right back in the segregated conditions of the South.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shirley the information about schools really needs to be much more widely known. The the old days Ebony may have done an expose on these issues.  

I'm aware of far too many kids who are put in "special ed" because of a teacher's poor classroom management skills.  As you said this is essentially a permanent placement, which impacts the students life options in the long run.

When I was in grade school the students were grouped by ability, tracked.  From grade 1 through 8, I was in class the with the same students.  I was always tracked in the top class. The top class always got the best teachers.  Once you were in the top class you generally stayed in it.  Those in the bottom, usually stayed in the bottom. The boys (it was always boys), who misbehaved were put in a class in the basement separate from the other students until the aged out, dropped out, or imprisoned.

The students in the top class were allowed to take the test for the specialized high schools.  These were the schools which prepared you for college.  At the time there were also vocational high schools which prepared you for pretty much any vocational career you could imagine.  Today those vocational schools are gone, and all schools are supposed to prepare students for college.  This change has been a colossal failure for students...

I think part of the anger students feel is they see no options for themselves, no realistic way out.  The deck is stacked against them, and they understand this, but feel powerless to do anything about it.

They should be angry, but like the rabid racist, and Trump supporters, their anger is misdirected.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess after being involved in education in three distinctly different places, my opinions are skewed. I've worked in the toughest schools in San Diego, Memphis and Mississippi. When I say toughest I mean the poorest schools in the "worst" neighborhoods in 3 completely different places. I don't think any of these can be compared to NYC or Chicago or Louisiana since every place has its own challenges. My experience however is that the schools do the best that they can and if the students are willing to learn they will learn. Even if the parents are willing to support them, the students will learn if they want too. I've seen kids with nothing, with crappy parents overcome living in the poorest district in the state of Mississippi and I don't care where any of us are, if you can overcome poverty in Mississippi you can do it anywhere in my opinion. In regard to San Diego the school that I was at was also located in the poorest area in the city (outside of San Ysidro which was right next to Tijuana and had the language barrier to deal with among other issues) and the kids in those schools performed. 

I guess where I'm going with this is there is a lot of blame laid on programs being cut, and kids being funneled, but in my opinion if kids want out of the funnel they simply have to listen to the teachers. Granted some kids have home lives so bad that they can't overcome that, but on the whole in my opinion if they want to be greater than their circumstance there are teachers always willing to go way beyond the call of duty to help.  

The bottom line is there is a means for the kids who want the options. If we want to get to the core of every issue in the schools we don't need to look anywhere except the home. The systemic issues in the home, that affect the home is where every issue lies. A student can be taught with one book in one classroom and still be an incredible student who has the ability to analyze and problem solve.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CDBurns, please know that this isn't about me per se, I am using myself as an example. This is by far by not an attack on teachers-- at least not good teachers. I agree with you that youths, at some point, must take responsibility for their actions and educational choices. Thank God, as one of these students, I made it too. But, let me tell you, I don't know how. When my 16 year old brother did unspeakable things to me as a 7 year old child, I don't know how I went to school and listened to a teacher. When my own daddy tried to make me his woman at age 15, I don't know how I went to school to listen to anything or anyone with that sort of garbage on my mind. When our mother walked through the neighborhood with not one black eye, but both, I don't know how I resisted the temptation to kick the person's behind that teased me. My brothers could not resist fighting and were often kicked out of school as a result of their inappropriate behavior. But through God's grace and a system that promoted Black children upward because they'd aged out, I did make it.

Please know that when I got to high school, I wasn't nearly equipped to compete with those students whose lives weren't mind. I struggled every single day! I cannot begin to tell you how frustrated I was. My Caucasian teachers, along with some of the Black ones, allowed me to keep my head down and sleep because they did not know what to say or do with me. They probably wanted me to disappear. I had no interaction with most of the smarter students simply because I was ashamed to speak up for fear of uttering an incorrect response. I stayed in school because everybody in my entire family said that I would not and also because I wanted to prove that I was not my momma. They knew the odds were heavily stacked against me. Had I gotten pregnant like I tried to do, I too would have dropped out and became a statistic. As you see, I had no real guidance at home. However, I did have three great teachers that had a lasting impact on me when I was in Jr. High School. But, please know that I did not live with these teachers.  I did have to go back to my insane home environment after school each day and that is where all the good stuff in school was torn apart. It takes a very strong person to continually flip that switch from home to school, school to home. You see as great as my teachers were, even they did not stop me from trying to find love in all the wrong places. I attribute this saving of my soul to the grace of God the Father. Many of our babies don't even know God. Momma is too drunk or drugged to get up from her Saturday night activities to attend a church. Oh, believe me, it takes a strong young person to overcome all of this, Thank God, some of them do. I wish I could clone them. That's why it is so important that teachers give all that they can when the children are in their care. This is the armor that these children need to shield their hearts and minds when they are at home--enduring pure hell. We need more mentors who are in it to win it. We need more advocates for these challenged youths. We need an understanding of the reality they are going through. We need to teach them how to clear the destructive garbage from their minds when they are in the classroom. There is no room to put in knowledge if one's head is overflowing with trash. Indeed, this is a tall task for all the stakeholders.

My brothers--all 8 of them went through the exact same thing and they all dropped out of school, mostly because their heads and hearts were filled with trash--trash that they could not empty on a daily basis so that they could participate in school. They lacked the mental stamina to endure. Yes, some children do overcome--but far too many others do not, otherwise the deplorable state of education for these children would not be where it is today. Home conditions, socio-economic conditions, poverty, society at large, and yes, to some extent the children themselves, bear responsibility.

Lastly, I respect that you worked in some of the roughest/toughest schools in the country. I get it.  However, please know this, whether she resides in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, NY, wherever, a drunken, whoring, mother is universal in my opinion. An absent or unknown father is universal in my opinion. It takes a unique and strong mind to overcome these negative influences. It takes wonderfully understanding, learned, teachers to have empathy for these children. It takes administrators who are willing to come up with a budget that accommodates the educational and social needs of these children, it takes awareness of the causes of this mess. With this being said, it takes a lot for me to blame a child when there are so many other responsible factors involves in the mental destruction of these children.  Sorry, blaming the child is just too easy an out for me. Blaming the home solely simply isn't enough.

Troy, thanks for responding. I am angry with what is happening to our challenged youths. In 2016, I am going to do all that I can to spread the word about this unnecessary  mental destruction of our babies!!!!! I know that they all cannot be saved. Unfortunately, some may not be worthy of saving because they simply do not get it. But there are many good kids out there who can and want to be saved--they just don't know it. Thanks for having this platform where I can voice what is on my heart, soul, and mind. I cannot look at a troubled child who looks like me, my same skin color, my same used to be personality and desperation, and just look in the other direction.

Even at the legal age of 21, the brain is still stupid and immature. It still makes mistakes that the 35 year old brain looks back on and laughs--asking "what the hell was I thinking?"

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not in any way knocking the difficult life experiences of students. I'm just saying that we spend a lot of timing analyzing the system as opposed to looking at what we can control and that is ourselves. I'm not naive to the life that students lead. I had to move two of my students in with me because they were homeless when I taught in San Diego. I won't get into the reasons they were homeless, but they both ended up graduating and that's because they had the desire to be better their circumstances. I can tell you multiple horror stories similar to your family situation and I can also show you countless kids who wanted to do something who succeeded. I find it is better to talk about those students just as much as we talk about the ones who fail.

Your story is basically what I'm saying is the problem with the educational system. It's not books or schools or teachers... it's the family and the home. It doesn't matter what the situation is if the family is jacked up, the kids will follow suit. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the great exchange on this subject matter. Sometimes, I can be overly passionate about this subject. You opened your heart and it certainly made a difference for those kids. Had you not been there for them, who knows?  I just want more doors to open in terms of quality reading materials with diverse subject matter, dedicated teachers who really care, and competitive schools for all children. This is a must for our children who need help to get through the opened doors. Again, thanks for the healthy discussion. I love this stuff :) !!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gee, Shirley, instead of writing poems, you should write an autobiography. 

My take on the public educational system is that a class room is teacher-oriented, and discipline earns high marks. A good student is perceived as one who is not disruptive and who does his lessons which consist of regurgitating what the teacher has taught and at the end of the grading period,  report cards are issued wherein a single letter is used to define a student. This is not necessarily bad but, unfortunately, all children are not responsive to regimentation and often the brightest ones are the most difficult because they are bored by the structured routine that makes things easier for the teacher.

In my "brave new world" kindergarten would be restricted to learning social skills, then beginning with first grade each child would be encapsulated in his own little pod and paired with a computer that would, through voice instructions, enable a child to teach himself by the trial and error method, learning at his own pace, using the reward system as a motivation. High school would be a non computerized environment of acquiring knowledge, allowing a student to put to use the abilities acquired in grade school. 

Yes, I know this is pretty much the methodology of Montessori and home schooling.  But I think it would be a great innovation in public education because so many students are inhibited and insecure and how good or bad they perform in a classroom in front of their peers impacts on the self-esteem that propels or obstructs them through society at large. .  

Of course the argument could be made that this radicalization would eliminate the need for elementary school teachers. But it would also create jobs for education majors. 

Just some thoughts from a non-professional who has observed how compatible today's kids seem to be with computers. 

 

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Cynique 100%!!!!!! An autobiography is the way you should go. If it includes poetry that would be a good way to go as well. The idea of the Montessori is right on point as well. The teacher education plan is flawed anyway. You have 1000 teachers with Masters and PhDs who would teach at a high school in a minute who weren't trained or certificated and could bring a completely different style to the classroom, but because they are not certified teachers they can't teach high school. The criteria for who can run a classroom needs to change. There are guys I know that don't have degrees but can teach the hell out of someone looking to learn computer coding, but because they don't have a degree or certificate, they can't teach. The educational world screws itself with tons of antiquated policies.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CDBurns and Cynique, I am already there. My manuscripts are already in progress. Cracked Glass ... a semi-biography, is being queried to literary agents as we speak. I started research for it in the late 1980s when it was titled SHIRLEY GALE. 

Carlton Press, Inc. in 1991 described it as so: "SHIRLEY GALE (TWT) is a candid semi-biography based on a life of tragedy and suffering, including fascinating portraits of despicable individuals that were known by the narrator... Shirley Gale Perry's story is provocative and eloquent in its appraisal of the environment and people encountered, from the faithless husband, to living temporarily in a homeless shelter with her children. It is recommended for its realism and human drama."

Cracked Glass is an adaptation of SHIRLEY GALE. And, CDBurns, it does include my poem, Daddy's Little Girl.  I 'm taking the courses with Gotham Writers' Workshop to ensure that I am enhancing my craft a bit more. In 2016, I am going at authorship with everything in me!!!

Cracked Glass, Part One: The Whole Damned Family deals with familial dysfunction that speaks to mental and sexual abuse to includes rape and incest. It is tailored to the Young Adult (YA) audience because so many of our youths endure like dysfunctions that disrupt their lives in so many awful ways. Cracked Glass, Part Two: Broken, But Never Shattered deals with choices made in relationships, mental and physical abuse at the hands of one's spouse, homelessness, and finally, divorce. Yes, I was homeless with two children. I was even featured in the newspaper which drove my two children quite crazy at the time.  And, Cracked Glass, Part Three: Life is a Bitch, But You Don't Have To Die, deals with finally escaping insanity and making things right. This is where I was presented with "A Whole New World" after enduring so much hell in the first part of my life. It is for this reason that one should never give up. Anyway, I am working hard to find literary agent(s) to represent my work. They tell me that my work is very interesting and has merit, but the answer is still "No." But guess what, if I can't find one soon, I am going to publish all my books myself. They say "If there is a will, there is a way."

Now, Cynique, I love your ideas for educational reform. Montessori and Home Schooling have proven track records. However, what you propose is too much like right for those who constantly get it wrong.  In some countries, kindergarten children have structured play all day to develop their social skills. Play is a form of learning for the young ones because their brains are not ready for the regiment of structured classrooms. Little kids are not designed to sit still that long. :) If they had more play in the early years, perhaps there would be less ADHD in the middle school years. I am definitely an advocate for this type of early learning.  I wish policy makers would lend an ear to those of us who make sense on some of the issues that impact our children. 

Lastly, CDBurns, you hit that nail on the head. Teacher Certification papers does not make the teacher. I agree with you 100%!

Thanks both of you for such insightful exchanges.  This is how we learn and grow by listening and appreciating others for their knowledge, experiences, and expertise. :)

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

This poem is, sadly, an accurate representation of life within the inner-cities of America. There are so many black youth who are lost in an endless labyrinth with only a Minotaur as guidance. The parents are not around so these overage children are left to raise themselves. It is so easy to fall to the wayside if you do not know that there is a system in place working against you. In fact, just to compete, the black male must think 3 steps ahead of his peers from better backgrounds.

Two of my friends from high school come to mind as I read this. Although they did not go to the extremes of this poem, they still flew into a spider's web. At heart, both these individuals are good people. However, due to a few careless mistakes, they both wind up as guests in the hotel known as the prison industrial complex.

As long as we continue to wrap ourselves within the confines of our own selfishness, the cycle will repeat itself to extinction. Efforts must be made to educate young black minds, instead of feeding them to the Minotaur. 

Thank you for sharing this poem. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
“As long as we continue to wrap ourselves within the confines of our own selfishness, the cycle will repeat itself to extinction. Efforts must be made to educate young black minds, instead of feeding them to the Minotaur.”

Absolutely!

But, even if the best minds know what to do; they are crippled by an inability to execute.  I had ideas on how I wanted my children to be raised, or even live my own life but then reality hit and I'm constantly improvising.

The American culture pretty much undermines anything good we want to do.  We know if is good to save money, but the culture is constantly screaming at you to consume.  We know which food are best, but junk food is pushed to our children nonstop.  Everybody knows smoking is lethal, but kids are the biggest Tobacco's biggest targets.  Guys know it is not good to try to have sex with every women you meet, but sex is everywhere...

What specifically can be done to educate young Black minds?  The burden can't be just families, because those benefits only accrue to those families who do the right thing.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes!!!! We are definitely feeding young minds to the Minotaur and yes, we preach to the choir. The quote is so profound. Thanks guest contributor.

Troy, I tried to connect with you on LinkedIn. For some reason I could not. I have posted a milder version of my poem onto that platform. I would so love for you to post what you have shared as a comment there. Please edit it for the quick typing. I know, I just want this comment, which is perfect, to be just that.

On another note, I just emailed a heartfelt letter to Rahm Emanuel, along with my poem. Chicago is in deep trouble and I felt a need to add my input.  I can hardly wait to hear a response from his camp. I really don't want to see him leave office. I want him to stay and fix the mess that has come to a head on his watch. I think he is the one to do it. We don't know what a new mayor might bring to office. Anyway...

Wow, I never expected this poem to generate this much discussion. This is totally wonderful. I love God :)!

Surprise. Surprise. By the way, the guest is my son, Tevin Lee Church. He is wise beyond his years. I had no idea he was posting this,

CDBurns, I wanted to get in on this too. For me, family has a broad, complex, and very diverse definition. Our World is one gigantic family. My feelings are this: In some way, we are all interconnected and therefore responsible for the actions of each other.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shirley I don't really use LinkedIn, if you sent me a request to connect it is buried under thousands of others.  I hope you do not take my failure to connect with you personally

linkedin.jpg.9f2e4d241b345c934a8390a3caf

Rahm Emanuel is part of the problem.  He will not fix the problem.  I think you are treating him as if he where like you or I, a caring human being.

Hi Tevin, thanks for contributing.  Create an account to that I don't have to approve your posts manually. 

Chris with that definition of "family" I completely agree with you.  The fact of the matter is that we are indeed all connected. Without even getting into all the metaphysical stuff, every person alive today has a common ancestor. We are all literally kin. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shirley, where do you live????   I live in a suburb of Chicago but the entire Chicagoland area is caught up in the city's upheaval revolving around the cover-ups in regard to police brutality and unjustified shootings of black males. Believe me, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not regarded as a misunderstood, sympathetic character in this drama; and with good reason.  His arrogance and heavy-handed style has alienated him from the black people who put him back in office. The calls for his resignation are the result of the corruption and cronyism that he has aided and abetted by catering to Chicago's rich, clout-heavy, special interest groups instead of the inner city and the ineffective policing of it, not to mention its under performing public schools.  Because of his bad judgement  Rahm ended up having to fire the high-salaried people whom he hired to run the Board of Education and Police Department. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has betrayed his black constituency on so many levels because his priorities were elsewhere.  

On the subject of the breakdown of the black family. a sista who is the co-host of a Chicago talk show, interviewed the mother of the 9-year old recently gunned down by gang members who had a beef against the child's absentee father. The mother had previously been dissed on social media because she bought a new car, and spent a week-end in Las Vegas with the money collected to help her out.  She also gave her son an elaborate funeral, complete with a shiny red casket. Sporting a long silky hair weave, false eyelashes, purple painted nails and multiple-piercings, this young woman was the epitome of ghetto fabulous. During the interview, she revealed that she was 15 when her son was born and that her grandmother was keeping him at the time of his death.  She had no visible means of support and claimed to be suffering from depression. She also mentioned that she was shocked to find out that the suspect in her son's execution was someone she had grown up with. This suspect, incidentally, was reputedly seeking revenge for the gang related murder of his brother and the wounding of his mother. It's hard not to be judgmental about these hapless people, but it's even harder to be optimistic that things will change in this culture of the black underclass.  What do black lives matter for??

   

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, I am just seeing your responses. I did not know that our discussion had gone on to another page.  :)  This is a goooooood thing.

Cynique, thanks so much for setting me straight on Rahm Emanuel. I am an outsider looking in and I don't know nearly as much about him as you do. I felt like because he is such a huge part of the problem, he most definitely should be the one to help fix it. If one makes a mess, he or she should be tasked to clean it up while suffering the consequences along the way. But you are absolutely right in wanting him gone. In a comparison, voters gave Bush a second term to clean up his mess, and of course, the Nation went from bad to worse under his Presidency. I guess I got caught up in the Mayor's tears. Believe me, the letter that I sent to him was not written as a vote of confidence. I slammed what I have seen of him. I am so sure that he, nor any members of his office, is going to respond kindly to what I had to say in my correspondence. We'll see.

Also, about some of our people, words cannot begin to explain their actions. Again, I agree with you. It is said that if you make some poor people millionaires, they would be not be millionaires very long. These are not the exact words, but you know where I am going with this. Everyone wants their share of the American Dream--new homes, luxury vehicles, nails, hair, etc. When you've had nothing for your entire life, how can you know the true value of "something?"  Our ignorant population of poor people know very little about capital investments. Please know that I use ignorance to denote "lack of knowledge." They lack the critical thinking skills to even go in that direction. These people don't sit around to watch the market so that when they reap their lawsuit money, they might invest a portion of it for their futures. For the most part, poor people who are plagued by ignorance aren't even aware  of what is happening in their own communities, "So, what is City Planning, you ask?"  I am not at all surprised by a lack of optimism for change in these communities. I am very saddened by what I am seeing in our Black communities. I just want to speak on it so that I might be able to help in some small way. Everyday I wake up with a hole in my soul and pain in my heart for our people.

Cynique, I so appreciate your wisdom and intellect. It is truly an honor to share with you. I just wish more people who need to hear what we are saying, were here to receive it.

Troy, I have gone from 22 connects in a few weeks on LinkedIn to 150. It's great because I get to connect with like-minded folks--writers, authors, illustrators, teachers, entrepreneurs, etc. I am also on Twitter. I am a newborn to Twitter. I still don't totally get it. Although, I am resistant, I must get more involved on social media so that I can get my name and worth out there among the users. Troy, I appreciate you too much to take your actions personal. You are an upstanding individual whom I greatly respect.

Happy Holidays you two!

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think to "get" Twitter you have to be the type of person whose smartphone is always on their person--if not in their hand.  Every second of idle time, and even time when they should be focused on something more important, is consumed by scrolling through tweets.

I think it is a complete waste of our collective intellect, because it gives the user the false impression that they are being informed, are taking part in activism and engaging in a meaningful way with others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed Troy. Unfortunately we both know that without a Twitter you can lose those potential bursts of traffic so Twitter, like Facebook, is a necessary evil. Yesterday on Facebook I shared this because I didn't feel like writing about it, but I think I will do a press this right now: http://mashable.com/2015/12/15/mens-fashion-magazines-dying/#Ko6UJcTHdEq3

The article is about how men's fashion mags are dying. When you look at it in greater detail, it is really a discussion on how these big magazine companies used Facebook and Social to build their audiences. This quote speaks to the matter completely,  “The media landscape has shifted so much towards Instagram that you don’t necessary need words,” adds Schlossman. “No one wants to consume directly from a website anymore, which is a bummer.”

I'm pressing this right now with a short message.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Troy, I so agree with you about Twitter. It's just that people are constantly asking me if I am on Twitter, FB, Instagram, and LinkedIn. It really drives me crazy. I closed my FB account down, but I am going to re-establish it again so that I can communicate with my Beautiful Young Lady (BYL) Mentoring Club members in Lafayette. It was really a good way to stay in contact with them. Twitter does consume way too much of my time. But I am keeping it just so that it is out there. But thanks to you I don't feel so bad in my resentment for having it. I don't have any idea what Instagram is all about--I don't need to know right now. I just tell myself it is more for young folks and keep it moving.  I have too much on my social plate as it is. 

CDBurns, I agree that these platforms are definitely "necessary evils" in today's competitive, global marketplace!!! I am struggling to keep up with it all.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm out to demonstrate that the massive corporate social media sites are not a "necessary evil," just evil. 

Most days of the week I post information about a book on social media.  I post on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.  Facebook brings the most traffic of the three with Twitter a distant second and virtually nothing from Google.  

Twitter is really a mobile platform, Instagram is absolutely a mobile application which is why I don't use it at all (I removed all social media aps from my cell phone). Facebook is pushing everyone to mobile.  50% of my Facebook traffic comes from mobile devices (smart phones).  Google's problem is that no one really uses he platform...

Corporations are PUSHING everyone to mobile.  I'm even busting my butt to redesign the site to so that it is optimized for mobile, so that I'm not penalized by Google. Mobile aps provide an incredible about of information about our behavior, and this is extremely valuable to marketers.  

Mobile also means pictures and video with minimal, ideally no text.  You can not relate anything substantive this way, but this is the direction where are being directed.

One would think that laptop/desktop computers will become a thing of the past.  

Teachers better be prepared to teach calculus over a mobile device, with a video set to rap music.

Talk about getting way off topic :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My hubby said, "The best thoughts and discussions take you to places that you may not have imagined."  Hey Y'all, this is the type of discussion I love--a whole lot of sharing and learning.  Like CDBurns said, "It's all connected." I think I need to keep the poems going!!! ha ha ha. Seriously, thanks for all the valuable insights on social media. I certainly feel less stressed about it now. I wrote a piece pertaining to my book, The Hunt for the Magic Pearl, titled: Diversity is Not Racism, Parts One, Two, and Three. I might post it under literature. I have it posted on LinkedIn and Twitter. But, I don't think the White folks quite know how to take what I have to say. I am thinking about what type of impact it might have on this site. Y'all know me, I love to drum up a little controversy. Again, thanks for allowing my voice and participation.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoticons maximum are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×