If you could only see...

how black people are doomed... I feel like such a pessimist, psuedo Uncle Tom when I say it, but I look in my classroom everyday and I see no hope. I ask someone to read 3 paragraphs.. it doesnt happen...because that is TOO MUCH!! "I do read... on the video games they have words.. and you have to read that.. and that counts!"

"This book doesnt have pictures?"
"Is heaven a state?"

According to my 12 year olds..

Heaven is a state.
The national anthem is Amazing Grace.
There are 52 states in the US.
There are 20 stripes on the flag, and they stand for the continents.
Africa is a continent.
Most of the people in the United States are black.
Jesus Christ is the holy book of Islam.
Quran is the leader of Christianity.
Ethiopia sounds like an amusement park.

I had two boys get taken away in handcuffs today and searched at the front door of the school because they decided to fight. One called the other a bitch and from there it was on.

Their classmates say, "I ain't scared to go to jail. It aint nothing. I'ma fight anybody. I dont matter if I gotta go to jail, but I aint no punk."
It was one of the saddest moments I've had in a while seeing these two little boys, both 12 years old, taken away to jail. Getting searched by a police officer, with metal handcuffs tightened around their wrists. From student to criminal in 10 mins. This is the new right of passage for our young men. Getting locked up. Both of them stood there, with no tears in their eyes, following the same path that so much of their family has in the past. This is not an unfortunate circumstance or an anomoly, for them... this is life. These young boys are started on a path that will continue to explain that absence of black fathers from parent teacher conference night and the fact that only one line on any contact form is filled out. These men are absent because there is no one to teach them what to do when they show up.

Who are the men who will step up and take the charge of fathering these black children so that the successful men they see aren't just images on BET?

They build jail cells based on 3rd grade test scores. I'm sure some of my students have had them reserved since then. I talk to them, try to get them to understand that education is all you have, but pride is more important. Reputation is all that they have.. and in black schools having the reputation of being an excellent student has no value.

Write a sentence. Read a book. Learn something.. That's all I want from my students. Learn something besides song lyrics and how to crank that Soulja Boy, Spongebob, Lion King.

If you have a sibling, cousin, nephew, niece, this Christmas buy them a book and read it with them.