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Thursday, December 07, 2006

You're a RACIST!

The high school I work at is about 50-50 black and white, with a sprinkling of other races thrown in (yes, I do know enough math to know they can't be exactly 50-50 with more races added on top of that, I said "about"). As teachers, we are given classes on cultural sensitivity to the effect that we realize that certain behaviors coming from black kids are "cultural norms" and should not be perceived as inappropriate behavior (eg. shouting).
Fine. Whatever, once I get into my classroom I can set whatever expectations I feel are apporpriate and have my kids aspire towards them. I happen to believe that all kids can be capable of good behavior if they have the will and desire to do so and a teacher capable of guiding them towards it. What I can't stand is the learned helplessness these kids have developed because of continously sliding expectations. For God's sake, they only have to get a 2.75 or above to get on honor roll now!!! They have to get 46% or higher to pass the math portion of the graduation test!!! I'm pretty certain we'll soon give them passing grades simply for turning up to school and not killing anyone.
Anyway, back to the race issue. Today I was in a history class in which the students were given a list of events and they had to write them down in order and briefly describe the significance of each event. Everything was right there in the textbook. No real thought involved until you had to decide which month comes before which (THAT posed a huge problem. One student who does NOT have special needs asked me which came first, July or September). A student was merrily chatting away, as usual, and was talking about inappropriate things so the teacher directed him and his partner (yes, they need a helping hand putting things in order) to another part of the room.
"You're racist. That's racist." He retorted, and then started spouting off in an imitation of Jesse Jackson, only he was using big words he didn't know the meaning of in an attempt to be comical, I guess. He and his partner moved to their new seats while he continued to complain about the plight of The Black Man. He went on to argue that black men always had their luggage searched first in an airport (HAH) and so on. He continued to not do his work. I leaned over to him and told him to get back to his assignment, but he kept on complaining quietly and chatting about other non-school related things.
It makes me want to puke thinking about his ancestors who really did struggle to gain some semblence of respect from their white counterparts and fought for the rights that their now ungrateful, lazy descendants make a mockery of and abuse. Obviously, not all of my black students are like this one, but you can bet that the ones who do avoid doing their work play the race card every time to explain their failures.
Oh hell, I'll admit it. I love playing the race card. I went into my job interview and ranted about the oppression of Arab women, the indignities we have endured, the opportunities taken right from under our nose and given to our brothers because we don't pack a johnson away in our pants...
Oh no wait. I just showed them my sterling college documents/grades, Dean's List awards, letters of reccommendation, portfolio, and told them why I'd make a damn good teacher. Silly me.


Nadia H said...

I know this is a sensitive issue, but quite frankly I see Jewish people do the same thing. What, you dare criticize The Isreali bombing of Lebanon? You hate jews. There's just no possible other explanation, even if you sit on the fence on the whole Isreal/Palestine issue.

And y'know what? I knew NOTHING about it, until I moved here. My parents never taught me to hate. I have plenty of Jewish friends, including one who was actually a soldier in the Isreali army, and he started a Dialogue group, where we could sit and talk aobut Isreali/Jewish/Arab relations .

Just today,CNN's Wolf Blitzer was interviewing someone, whose name I've forgotton, and he asked him point blank, "Do you hate Jews?"..I think the guy had a very strong opinion about Jewish extremism, and he was discussing exactly what I'm filling your blog up with: the right to criticize without being called anti-semitic (Arabs are SEMITIC TOO FOR CHRIST'S SAKE).

Especially if your opinions are educated, and well thought out. Random drunk ramblings are another matter.

My soldier-friend said there's a whole organization dedicated to watching out for anti-antisemitism in the media..I find that scary.

Feel free to listen to Avenue Q's "Everyone's a little bit Racist Sometime". They talk about how one should have a sense of humour and not take everything personally especially racist jokes!).

Anyway, I wrote this rather quickly, so I don't know if I sound like a nut case. I'm just angry at how they try to scare people into keeping their mouth's shut. You'd see it more if you were in Montreal.

Hope you and your family are doing well!

TeacherLady said...

Absolutely. Any of that: "It's because I'm _______, isn't it?" is shameful when unfounded.
I think some people do make the confusion between Israeli government and all Jews and an ideological attack on the former doesn't mean an intrinsic hatred of the other, necessarily.
All too often I see irresponsible behavior being defended under racial terms and it leads to the creation of a very dangerous mentality of entitlement and the harm of others.

Thank you very much for your comment! Great to hear what you've learned since we last met!