Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My Baby Ain't Yo Nigga

I got this email response from my son's teacher when requesting that he give him some tutoring for Algebra (he's in the 5th grade).


Hello Ms. Johnson,

Thank you for the e-mail. First I would like to say what a joy D**** is to have as a student. He is very articulate, enthusiastic, and a class leader. He is constantly challenging me to challenge him. It makes my job exciting and fun!

I want to explain about the tutoring. I will be happy to help him out with his algebra, when I am not helping other students. We are currently learning how to multiply by 2 and 3 digit numbers. This is very challenging to many students. Currently I am working with 7 students who are having a difficult time picking up the concepts as well as learning their time tables. I promised D***** I would help him once I am through working with these very needy students. I am hoping to make some time for him on Friday. D***** has currently earned an A+ with 106% in math.

Lastly I need to tell you of an incident which happened today. From what I am able to understand. Today at lunch recess D***** had a basketball and another student came to take it away. There was a struggle and D***** got mad and hit the other student. At this time the student called D***** the n word. D***** told me what had happened when I picked them up from lunch. I took both boys aside and lectured the student about the ugliness and horrible meaning associated to that word. I also let D***** know that it is not OK to use violence when he is angry. I asked the boys what they wanted to happen, and told them I recommended that they both loose recess for the next day, and write papers about what they had done and why it is wrong. D***** let me know about what your feelings are when this kind of stupidity surfaces, and as I thought about it I decided to let our assistant principal, Ms. J***** know about the incident, and get her opinion (she's African American). She decided to talk to both boys, which will happen tomorrow. D***** did come to me and said he forgave the student, and they seemed to be on friendly terms. Please let me know your opinion and any thoughts or suggestions on how you would like me to handle this if it ever happens again.

Thank you,

Mr. P

My Response

Mr. P:

I'm satisfied with what you're doing so far. What concerns me most is that every year D***** has to deal head on with a race related issue. Nay sayers try to disqualify these such events , I'm sure because they're in denial. But Mr. P, it's still very real and relevant, even in liberal California. Racial slurs are not only ugly, they're dangerous because they chip away at our children's self esteem. Based on our direct, recent, personal experiences I think that discussions need to be held with students to inform them that this type of ugliness will not be tolerated. Let them know BEFORE it occurs.

Much of racism starts in the home and much of it can be ended there. Even D***** on occasion may try to make a joke about a particular race. At these times, I consistently remind him that he does not have the right to past judgment on any race. However, if a kid's parents don't feel that way what once was a little joke, turns into a hurtful habit. And this is just the mild side of racism. I'm sure I didn't need to explain this to you, but it's a struggle keeping D***** from being converted into a bully. He feels frustrated when he has to pay consequences for what he thinks is verifiable self defense. He's learning quite early that this is being Black in America. Succeeding greatly through the injustices. I thought he would be in college or something when he first picked that up. But hey, one of the reasons I moved from the Bay Area is so that he could get a better education. I guess this meant in all things.

This is the first time anyone has EVER asked me if I think the issue has been handled properly. Thank you. I know you didn't have to.

What I Really Wanted to Say:

Every year my child has to deal with this bull@#$%! Let somebody call my baby a nigga one mo gin and I'm comin' up there to act ka-razy! I'm finna show ya'll what a nigga is.

I know we can't be the only ones in northern CA dealing with this. I haven't knit any this week.

3 comments:

urbanknitrix said...

I know thats right!!! I would be right up there with you!! Horrible.

Knitaholictoo said...

I shuttered as I read this! I dread what my little boys will have to suffer (we live upstate NY). I'm trying to delay it by homeschooling but I'm bound to face it eventually. You showed amazing restraint! I probably would have went off and played into their hands. Phew, I'm hot thinking about it!

HobbyZu said...

It's insecurity in themselves that makes people do ignorance like that. With us being in Scotland, we deal with prejudice often. My kids, cousins and I got called the 'n' word the other day. It was this dopey little boy hiding behind a car. My cousin who was visiting from Bermuda, had a chat with him about how wrong it was etc. We ended up laughing and just feeling sorry for him afterwards. The simple child was Indian and darker than a few of us!