Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I Analyze Where I Rest My Eye's.

TwitThis



Toni Morrison told me whenever I write,
think of my audience.

Well she ain't never said it to me directly. But she said it.

I thought of these words when I read Bill Maxwell's account of teaching at Stillman college, an HBCU. My muse, texas truth, sent this article to me.

And I have felt a few ways about it. You know. A Black teacher talking about
Black students, is bound to trigger some emotions. Smell me?

I think of this when I read John McWorter and friends.
More about John later.

I present to you The Good, The Bad and The Scandless.

The Good
He believes in HBCU's.
He found the tenacity of the students inspiring.

The Bad
Some of the students look kinda trill.

I became apprehensive when I noticed about a dozen male students wearing baggy pants, oversized white T-shirts, expensive sneakers and assorted bling standing around shooting the breeze. At least two had "jailhouse tats" on their arms, crude tattoos suggesting that these young men had spent time behind bars. They carried no books or anything else to indicate they were on a college campus.

Before the 1964 Civil Rights Act, these schools were the ticket to the good life for blacks. But integration gradually siphoned off many of their best kids, and HBCUs now enroll just 12 percent of all black college students.

Students REFUSED to buy the books.
Unlike the majority of my students at Stillman, though, I was an avid reader. Even at age 13, I knew that I wanted be a writer. I was determined to learn my first day at Wiley, which I attended from 1963 to 1965
The Scandless.
The room was noisy, and two who had been in front of King Hall were horsing around. I put my books on the table and raised an arm for silence. When only a few students paid attention I raised my arm again, and this time I yelled.

"All right, knock it off! Take your seats and be quiet!"

I could not believe that I had to yell for college students to behave in a classroom. This is not going to be a good experience, I thought, unfolding the roster and preparing to call the roll. When I could not pronounce the second name on the list, I knew for sure I was in big trouble. As I fumbled with the strange combinations of alphabets and apostrophes, the class roared.

Cats got jealous of his cake.

By the beginning of my second year, I would find myself alienated from most of the senior administrators and most of the longtime staff members who were responsible for the day-to-day operations of the institution.

My alienation, a colleague told me, was the result of a disease found at most HBCUs: professional jealousy. The college president hired me as the "scholar in residence" on a 10-month contract for a modest salary. Some professors resented the arrangement because they had been there for several years and were earning the same or less.

The Disheartening
At 20 minutes past the hour, a white colleague peeked in and saw me in the otherwise empty room.

"You must've had a serious assignment due?" he said.

We had a big laugh. But it was a painful laugh.

"It's the Stillman way, " he said. "A lot of these kids won't attend class, and, when they do, they walk in late. They're on CPT (Colored People's Time)."

Although I laughed with my colleague, I was ashamed that a white person so easily joked about CPT.

"They don't have intellectual curiosity, " I said. "We weren't like that at Wiley or Bethune-Cookman."

Intellectual curiosity is cultivated from ages 0 months to 5 years.

By the time you get to the kids at 17,18, 19 years old, they are who they are by then.

========
========

It is one thing to be pretty. Its whole nother thang to catch a jawn cuz he think you smart. It is ONE OF THE most affirming feelings ever.

=======
=======

10 comments:

neo said...

I've attended a 'former' HBCU and currently attending another and I can wholeheartedly agree with this statement.

It's bewildering to say the least. I guess it's the diff in cultures. 'Cos where I'm from education is our ONLY way out of poverty..at least that's what we're told right from the day we can utter any vowel..

texas truth said...

Ralph talks to me the same way. I just gotta listen better.

Brandon said...

Yo its so sad how true these observations are. Its like, "what do we need to do to uplift us?"

i have so many observations...first hand observations from bein the student causing the disruptions (sorry, but who doesn't like bein a showoff sometime...) and from the nerd carrying the books tryin to be a positive influence to my black brothers and sisters. Its so sad that HBCUs have a hood mentality (or maybe a rockstar mentality now that the shop boyz are hot)

if you don't try some level of adjustment to the culture that you're around then you're considered an outcast and who wants to be an outcast their freshman year?...

M.Dot. said...

'Cos where I'm from education is our ONLY way out of poverty..at least that's what we're told right from the day we can utter any vowel..
========
The dope thing about being an American born black boy is that you you are taught that rappin/ballin' is the way out the hood.

NICE!

M.Dot. said...

Ralph talks to me the same way. I just gotta listen better.
===========

Ralph.

UnnnnnnnnnnHunh.


Heavy @ss hints. You know Imma littlebitty something.

M.Dot. said...

if you don't try some level of adjustment to the culture that you're around then you're considered an outcast and who wants to be an outcast their freshman year?..
========
THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO HEAR MORE ABOUT.

THE PEOPLE WHO ARE INBETWEEN WHO ARE TRYING TO DO IT.

NOT THE OUTSIDERS HATIN'.
NOT THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE MADE IT.
BUT THE JAWNS IN THE F*CKING TRENCHES.

WANNA DO A GUEST BLOG POST ON THE TOPIC?

Brandon said...

Yo that's nothin to me since I've been in that position. But I'd be more than honored to...just let of know...

neo said...

The need for balance.

Can't stress that enough. I find myself even as an African trying to reach out to my bredren over here with the message of education and opportunities that are available within the system that one can eventually through dedication, hard work and focus can beat the system...

Sure you may not get all the jewels and the chicks in the video but you can feed your fam, you can get a house, you can get a car or cars..the basics of the "American Dream" is reachable.

It's an uphill battle 'cos you're dealing with mindsets, and attitudes, conditioning left over from slavery..and current conditions.

jpollard said...

Sad article...I can relate to the part about the faculty being rude.

M.Dot. said...

Jase Bear.

Post a Comment

eXTReMe Tracker