Jan 20, 2009

I Knew I Live To See It

At work today a small group of staff and students gathered together to watch President Obama take the oath of office. It was special. I feel like things have a chance of being better than alright. I was very excited and encouraged the students that were in our room to have a seat up front and watch history unfold.

Obama's speech was appropriate. I wasn't moved with emotion, instead I was left with the thought that he is a very capable man. The highlight was when Rev. Lowery delivered the benediction. This old solider for the righteous cause broke it down old school style. We applauded when he said:

"help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right."

We said Amen, each time the good Rev. called out for it.

The only damper on the afternoon was that in our classroom, as the adults and two Latino students watched the TV attentively, four African-American students engaged in idle chatter, at a table away from the television, while ignoring the telecast. In fact one of the advisors had to ask the group to keep it down, so that we could hear what was being said. Good people, there is a lot of work to still do!


bunnilove said...

Whenever I see folks talking over others, I think they are hating. But why? Let's not forget something, Obama is BIRACIAL, something that many are conveniently leaving out. Perhaps Obama lets out some of the steam of people of color using their race, religion, color, etc. as an excuse to not get ahead. Does this country have strong, fucked-up biases? Yes, yes, yes. Did Obama experience some of those biases? Most likely. Did I or most of my friends experience biases? Yes. Maybe some people are hating Obama for that very reason, maybe they're hating because some don't see him as Black enough. "Oh he got ahead because he's not too dark. Let's see if we can get a REAL Black man into office." I would not be surprised if some folks are thinking that, including your students. I was more emotional today than I thought I was going to be. I didn't think "finally a Black man in the office." I thought "finally, an intelligent man in the office.!"

Anonymous said...

I'm actually slightly pleased by some of the apathy among young people by Obama winning because it shows me that young people realize that the color of your skin is just a part of you and you don't have to like someone just because their skin matches yours.

Of course, I would have wanted them kids to STFU because I'm trying to listen but if they feel it's no big deal, it's OK as long as their doing it because they really don't care not because they don't know the history of color in the US.

If the latter is true, I'm sure we can hit 'em with some knowledge.

bunnilove said...

It's funny, I talked to a teacher today, and she basically said the same thing: that there were many students talking at the same time that the inauguration was going on, or better yet, asleep. I then talked to the assistant principal of the same school, and he lamented that many, many of the students were just not interested in ANYTHING. That information needs to be in short bite sized morsels for them to digest. This is a much bigger problem than simple hating. I decided to have a little fun with some students today, and asked them some history trivia questions that were age appropriate(high school), such as "what are the three branches of government, the president is head of which one of those branches," etc. About 98% of those students just DIDN'T KNOW!! I would ask them to guess the country of origin of the name of a New York borough, and they'd name me cities, continents, oceans(I'm not kidding), and they were serious. My heart broke...The apathy may not be from a realization that skin color is just a part of you, but perhaps because they just don't know what the hell is going on!! And sadly, many don't care.

Anonymous said...

bunnilove, now we've got a problem... Hopefully, Obama will get rid of all the standardized tests and bring actual education back in schools...

Wonder Man said...

I agree with you on Obama's speech. It was something to think about

bunnilove said...

Junior, it's a mess...schools are so proud to say that "85% of our students are on their way to college", great right? But what they don't say is that 70% drop out within the first year because they can't handle it. College is a money making enterprise, and black, brown, and poor children are being fed this junk. I am all for bringing back a vocational education, give young folks a real skill to make a real living. Obama talks about making sweeping changes, having the citizens of the U.S. repair our bridges and highways, that's awesome, but that's a SKILL, a skill that many young people will not know how to do or even learn to do because they're so busy off to college. If Obama does do something like that, the likes the U.S. have not seen since WW2, I would hate to see young people get left out of something so potentially wonderful.

Allan S. said...

Let's just say the state of education in many schools is in need of major repair. While I see many students doing the work and making strides, a majority are just staring at the ceiling.

I advocate for smaller classes, revamped curriculum that is geared toward students interests, and uses more technology.

Also, more parents need to be held accountable for their role in their child's education. I have made calls to parents to promote after-school tutoring and other services for their child, and the response I would get would often be "Well she does what she wants to." or "I'll tell him, but he don't listen to me." I would gagg when I heard this.

I'll unpack some more of my thoughts about this in a future post. Stay tuned!

And, thank you all for getting a conversation going.

bunnilove said...

You're welcome, Allan. No problem!