Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What I've Learned: Lessons from a bigot

By. Jennifer Texada

Got into another heated debate with a single man that will remain nameless, about women and how he feels about us in general. His perspective goes something like this. “Every time something bad in my life has happened a woman has been in the room.” He went on to include gems like "Women never do anything for you, they are only out to use men."He ended that sentence with “except you” What a charmer.

I felt like for a moment I was talking to a bigot. If he had replaced “woman” with "the N word" in every sentence he would have sounded like a klan member. I have heard people of other races say to me…Blacks are this and blacks are that, but not you, you are different. This did not make me feel any better about the statements. I still take them to heart and an insult to my people, still feels like an insult to me. My race, my gender, my family, my hometown...

When I could not take it anymore, and went straight into defensive mode. I

  • pointed out the flaws in his reasoning
  • mentioned that I had men were not so flawless either, and
  • every time these “bad things” happened there were two people in the room, the evil bad woman and HIM!

In hind sight, I was wrong. I have seen the skinheads on Maury, and that approach never works!I should have just told him how sad I feel for him. That his way of life is only damaging him, and his potential for happiness. Those people who hurt him have won for as long as he allows this way of thinking hold him back. They have stolen his faith in half of mankind, and if they are all as bad as he says they are, the do not deserve that privilege.

Then I realized... is this what I sound like when I am mad at my ex? I have sat around with girlfriends and talked about how men stink, or why they do some of the awful things they do. I don’t really think that all men stink. Despite my negative experiences, I think that there are some wonderful men out there in the world. Ones that are responsible and smart and do an excellent job taking care of their families.

Thank you…you know who you are... for you bigoted opinion of an entire gender, and your willingness to share your venomous hatred with me. I have been self checked. I will from now on try my best not to participate in man bashing sessions. I see first hand the kind of damage this behavior can do in a life.

Monday, April 7, 2008

I think: No Passing the Buck

No Passing the Buck
By: Mia Black

As my husband and I rode in this morning, we listened to talk radio. This morning’s topic was, “Is the School System Failing Black Boys?” They were speaking of elementary age boys from about the second to the fourth grade. It went about 50/50. Those that supported the fact that it’s the school’s fault that the kids aren’t learning or reaching their full potential, and those that blamed the parents for allowing their kid to reach the third or fourth grade without saying anything. For me I blame both. But when I look at the school, I don’t blame the teachers, I blame the school board.

My daughter attends the Boston Public School System –ugh! It pains me to say that, but at the same time, I don’t worry that she is lacking because I do my job at home. I don’t have the money to send her to private school, but I do have the time to invest into my child by creating my own curriculum at home. I guide her and she lets me know when she is ready to move on to the next step. By the time she got to that school age, she was much more advanced than the other students, but I was able to convey to the teachers where she was at, give them a copy of her annual syllabus, and tell them how best my child learns.

But the reason I was able to convey my concerns to her teachers with such ease is because I did an intense search for her school. I had eleven to choose from and I narrowed my search down to four. I visited each school during their open houses and did a pop-up during the day at each. This school was a good fit all around. But I was amazed at some of the questions the parents would ask, “do you serve breakfast?”, “how late can I pick them up?”, “Is that the only playground you have?” And people somehow have the nerve to say it’s the school systems failing the kids?

I’m not by any means saying I am the only parent out here that is working with their kid at home, but when my kid is reading to her class and the class below her, I’m proud and concerned all at the same time. I’m working with a school board that does not believe in promoting a student based on their intelligence, only by their age. So even though her class is working on writing their basic letters and she’s practicing cursive, by the schools standards, she’s not old enough for that yet. Funny how they don’t understand that the “No Child Left Behind”, is a double edged sword.

That is why I don’t put the blame so much on the teacher as I do the school board and their policies. The school board is the one that decides on the curriculum, not the teacher. The school board decides that no matter how smart or advanced a child is, if they’re not the right age, they won’t advance. The school board decides the tardy policies. I had to put that last one in there because my husband’s client was sent home for being tardy. Absolutely absurd to me, but I’m not on the school board and his mother had no problem with it. She got to go to work early because he could watch his little brother.