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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Cycle of suffering

I'm eternally grateful for the twist of fate and the wisdom of my mother for the fact that I was raised in a safe, loving environment. I don't think I can even begin to understand the hellholes some of my students come from. I don't understand their enjoyment in dog fights where the losing dog is either gutted by its opponent or shot by its owner, I don't understand their infatuation with Scarface's lifestyle, I don't understand the pleasure they gain from the fights they witness or participate in, or the glee in which they revel in stories of the latest shooting in the neighborhood which they then pin to their sleeves literally with t-shirts depicting the deceased whom some of them barely knew, but want to absorb some of the coolness associated with knowing someone who had been shot to death. We've often struggled in our attempts to teach these kids that fighting is not the way to resolve a conflict, but how can you contest with "my momma told me: don't take no crap from no-one, you got to fight and get your respect"? Who are they most likely going to side with? Their mother or some middle-class woman who has no inkling of what they go through each day, trying to save face and their lives.
This isn't a "culture", it's a blight. I'm not being culturally insensitive to say this is wrong and children shouldn't live this way because their parents insist on perpetuating the limitations they place upon themselves which they then go and blame the government for. This cycle of failure and violence is perpetuated in various races/religions and in various ways, but this particular video depicts an African American instance of passing on the concepts of violence, racism, and poor expectations of each other. What will it take to break this cycle? What's my answer to this generational concern?
Boarding school. I'd rather spend my tax dollars on prevention than on incarceration.

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