I work at a maximum security prison where the majority of the inmates are black. In 2005 over half of our new arrivals had no GED or highschool diplomas. They came in looking hardcore and fresh out of a gangsta rap video. My husband was working at the prison with me at the time as a GED teacher and some of the inmates at the time were his old classmates from his highschool. My husband's old highschool was in the inner city. They had a daycare at the school, and when I look through his old year book all I saw was RIP or Jail written over their pictures. When they saw him walk in with his suit and tie they started talking about the past and what they should have done to make their life different. Don't get me wrong, my husband was as bad as they come, but his mom and dad stayed in his booty all day long. They never moved out, they still live there today. So I guess it's not where you live it's how you were raised and how much your providers were involved with your life. However there is no way in Hades would I raise my kids in that area. I rarely let them spend the night.
Also my husband went to a HBCU and I went to a mostly white college (me being the reason it wasn't all white). For some reason he thinks I can't do well around black people because I went to a predominantly white school....lol. Is my hair any less curly because I didn't go to a HBCU.?
Today a teacher took some sixth graders on a field trip to a college to display their science work. Other young people from outside of Detroit were there. Some of the girls were upset when they returned to the school because they felt that while they were trying to be polite the white students they encountered were being rude. I'm still a little unclear about what happened but it appears that our students complimented some white students on their work but those same students were criticising our students work.. I didn't see any of the projects so I can't judge either way but I know that my students weren't happy when they came back and said they never want to go again. I'm sure that we will be able to bring their confidence levels back. But this is what segregation does. It makes us ultra sensitive ready to over react and take things personal. An encounter with one group of white people becomes a representation of all. the only real solution is more cross cultural exposure not less. We can't just stick to our own "hoods" and never grow nor should we be judgemental to those who have the courage to pursue their dreams!.
Co leader of no topic off limits and African American men and women
Thanks to both of you for guiding young minds! I am health care professional and I have no alliance, obligation or desire to do badly...in the name of giving back. I think when we know better we do better! I think it is our responsibility to heal and help each other not just as an ethnicity but as a demonstration of humanity, kindness and a sense of spirituality...because it's the right thing to do. When we lead by example...we pay it forward. It's so simple...EACH ONE TEACH ONE and each day make it a goal to do a RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS...that could range from a friendly "Hello" or perhaps opening a door. Why is it that we feel the need to justify moving forward? I agree with you, MISSDAISY2U, at the end of the day it is according to how one is reared. I feel absolutely no obligation to hide the fact that my parents taught me well and I had the best of what they could afford to give me. Education, etiquette and humility were mainstays in our home...anything less was not only unacceptable, it was NEVER negotiated! When I married, it was to a wonderful gentleman of similar rearing. I certainly won't apologize for being reared well, marrying well, being well educated nor living well. I would think that it would be nothing short of Utopia if "we" would just understand that not having in not an excuse for not wanting or working to get it and then enjoying, freely, what we have. I find it sad and sometimes shocking, the things we overlook in the name of "giving back." On some level we must not play the race card and play the RIGHT card. Decency and accountability has no race, gender or socioeconomic circumstances. I find it nothing short of disturbing when "we" are amazed that we are going to college, or speaking properly or not living in dire circumstances and want to improve and do well...none of this should be the exception...it should be the rule!
I have been in this situation in a way and it just boiled down to what was in the best interest of my child. When I put him in private school even though I am a public school teacher, the frowns came en masse. I saw it as an investment. I paid in x amount of dollars for so many years and the scholarships he received to go to college made my bill almost 0. He attended an affluent private school and it made the difference in his educational opportunities. The argument can be made that people who have worked hard are being ostracized for achieving. I have given back for 20 years by always teaching in schools in low socioeconomic areas and motivating my students to achieve so they can lift themselves and their families up. People will probably base their decisions on this topic according to the way they grew up and their current lifestyle today.
Can anyone relate to Jalen Rose? Jalen Rose said that as a youth he viewed the blacks at Duke as "uncle Toms" or sell outs for playing at Duke. Remember Duke had always been the darling program while schools like UNLV and later Michigan's Fab 5 were labeled as undisciplined or ghetto. I am from Detroit and I can remember as a youth resenting black people who moved out of the city into the suburbs. I felt that they were abandoning their community. I basically blamed them for the lack of middle class values present in the inner city community. As i matured I began to realize that it's OK to want nice things for one's self. I also can understand why a family would want to raise their children in a "safer" environment far away from urban crime and black on black violence.
As an inner-city school teacher it is easy for me to say I have already given back to my community. I currently still reside in the city but I was kind of wondering if any of you have any thought on the subject of wanting the best for yourself even if it means moving away from your old neighborhood? What do you do to continue to help those whom you may have left behind? Is it your responsibility as a black person to care? As I study history more, I was surprised to find out that many of our heroes actually graduated from Harvard! or Howard for that matter. The bottom line is how does race personal growth conflict?
Co leader of no topic off limits and African American men and women
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