Georgia Teacher Suspended After Pupils Don Klan Robes

Georgia Teacher Suspended After Pupils Don Klan Robes
BBC, May 25, 2010

A teacher in Georgia has been suspended after allowing students to dress in mock Ku Klux Klan robes for a project.

The teacher had asked four students, none of whom were black, to re-enact scenes from history for a class film.

Officials said the teacher had used poor judgement. Georgia has a history of violent racial tension and students and parents were upset by the incident.

The teacher, who is white, acknowledged it was a mistake to allow the students to film the scene at school.

“It was poor judgement on my part,” Catherine Ariemma told the Associated Press news agency.

The class at Lumpkin County High School near Atlanta included no black children, and the school system is roughly 90% white. (Read the full article)

La Huelga, The Strike: Month-long Struggle in Puerto Rica

Eleven out of eleven campuses of University of Puerto Rico (UPR) are closed. The strike began on UPR’s Rio Piedras campus and has now spread to all the others. Students are in the fifth week of their strike in resistance of the budget cuts and reduction and elimination of financial aid in the UPR system. Students will not accept cut backs in tuition waivers as the only way to account for the $100 million dollar budget gap. They have pointed out tens of millions of dollars set aside for non-academic dinner parties, galas and other events that are very foreign to the working class majority that currently benefit from varying types and levels of financial aid. Administrators are certainly wrong to take from scholarship money. This should be the last place to cut back from.

It's Getting Hot In Here….So Wear A Bulletproof Vest?

“The roof, the roof is on fire we don’t need no water let that muthafucka burn, burn, burn mutha burn”.  Although this quippy party catch phrase is a bit antiquated, I believe it still carries relevance today, specifically in Chicago. For a city that has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of the Great Chicago fire of 1871, it seems that an arsonist has poured kerosene on Lakeshore Drive and is attempting to raze the land of Dusable. Let me just cut to the chase and skip all the Chicago historical allusions, people “act a fool” when the weather warms up. Clearly, my assertion is a truism. Nevertheless, I believe this widely accepted fact needs further interrogation. In light of the upcoming season where the sun finally decides to make a full commitment to being present instead of cutting and running like a father derelict in his duties, I thought it was more than appropriate to at least shed light (no pun intended) on the correlation between warm weather and crime in Chicago.

5 Myths About College Admissions

5 Myths About College Admissions
Richard D. Kahlenberg, Washington Post, May 23, 2010

This spring, more than 3 million students will graduate from America’s high schools, and more than 2 million of them will head off to college in the fall. At the top colleges, competition has been increasingly fierce, leaving many high school seniors licking their wounds and wondering what they did “wrong.” But do selective colleges and universities do a good job of identifying the best and brightest? And is the concern about who gets into the best colleges justified?

1. Admissions officers have figured out how to reward merit above wealth and connections.

A 2004 Century Foundation study found that at the most selective universities and colleges, 74 percent of students come from the richest quarter of the population, while just 3 percent come from the bottom quarter. Rich kids can’t possibly be 25 times as likely to be smart as poor kids, so wealth and connections must still matter. (Read the full article)

May 17, 2010 – May 23, 2010

Diversity is more than race
Casey Peeks, LA Youth, May 23, 2010

How Equal Was This Separate School?
Neil Genzlinger, New York Times, May 23, 2010

Communists demand jobs for young people
Khethiwe Chelemu, Times Live, May 23, 2010

Which students suffer most from teacher layoffs? Anyone surprised it’s poor, minority students?
Maureen Downey, Atlanta journal Constitution, May 21, 2010

The Crisis of the Educated and Conscious Black Student
Lucette Jefferson, Black Voices, May 21, 2010

Prevent Bullying in Schools
Staff Writer, All Voices Local News, May 21, 2010

Chattanooga Youth March to End Violence
Reneé LaSalle, CBS News, May 21, 2010

Performer making a difference for at-risk youth
José Villa, Senior Editor, Hawaii Hispanic News, May 21, 2010

Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Charles W. Cherry II, The Crime Report, May 21, 2010

The right direction for action on youth crime and violence
Gazette Staff Writer, Maryland Gazzette, May 20, 2010

D.C. Students Connect with South Africa
Joseph Young, The Washington Informer, May 20, 2010

Black students excel beyond expectations
Bill Maxwell, Standard-Times, May 20, 2010

Obama Parrots Bill Cosby and Visits Detroit Schools to Encourage Mentoring
John Byk, Detroit Examiner, May 20, 2010

Empowering Youth One ‘Step’ At a Time
Bessie A. Winn-Afeku, Huffington Post, May 19, 2010

YMCA Black Achievers encourage students to succeed in and out of the classroom
Rebecca Clark, North Carolina Star, May 19, 2010

Youth group finds a site
John Brasier, The Hartwell Sun, May 19, 2010

Reaching out to kids at risk, one by one
Royson James, Toronto Star, May 19, 2010

White Families Now $95K Richer Than African-American Families On Average, According To New Study
Ryan McCarthy, Huffington Post, May 18, 2010

Ohio putting too many kids behind bars
Tracey Read, The News Herald, May 18, 2010

A look through the archives at Northwestern’s road to diversity
Kaitlyn Jahelka, North by Northwesten, May 18, 2010

Commencement Season: Summer M.'s Graduation Address

Good morning, and congratulations to the class of 2010.  I know you’re wondering what inspiring words of wisdom I might impart on to a new generation of graduates.  Well, frankly, I have none, which is probably why my commencement address is coming to you via this blog and not as you sporadically doze your way through your younger brother’s graduation.  It’s true.  I offer you no pithy quotations to upload to your Tumblr account, no nuggets of sagacious wisdom crafted by some young, anonymous speech writer who not long ago sat where you were, unsure of his employment possibilities until his girlfriend’s father hooked him up with this gig before he applies to law school.  There is nothing Twitter worthy here.  Still, narcissism compels me to keep typing.

Montgomery schools track graduates' rate of college degrees

Montgomery schools track graduates’ rate of college degrees
Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post, May 18, 2010

Montgomery public schools, one of the few systems in the country that tracks its students all the way through college graduation, released a report Monday that details how many of its students went on to receive bachelor’s degrees — and how they got there. According to school system data, students who passed advanced math courses in middle school and high school and took at least one Advanced Placement test were much more likely to graduate from college.

“If you have students who are taking algebra in the eighth grade,” said Montgomery schools spokesman Dana Tofig, “they’re getting college degrees.”

But troubling gaps remain. Slightly more than a quarter of Montgomery’s African American graduates and a fifth of Hispanic graduates received bachelor’s degrees, compared with 58 percent of white students and 55 percent of Asian American students. Even for students who passed Algebra I in eighth grade, 77 percent of white students received bachelor’s degrees compared with two-thirds of African American students and 58 percent of Hispanic students. (Read the full article)

Janelle Monae's "The ArchAndroid": A STAR IS BORN

Combining the fearlessly experimental, quirky soul disposition of Erykah Badu, the Afro-futurist bent of Parliament/Funkadelic and OutKast, along with a complete mastery of an indefinable, genre-jumping form of pop music (ala Prince, Michael Jackson), Janelle Monae’s The ArchAndroid will at the very least impress the hell out of you.

Clocking it at about 70 minutes, and pulling from practically every and any genre you can imagine, what is initially stunning about Monae is how capably she bends and contorts her voice and persona into such varied musical settings, and yet crafts an album that is cohesive and meticulously organized. The ArchAndroid is a sprawling, jaw-droppingly fresh and relevant debut album from a young artist possessed with an intense reverence for her pop and soul forbearers, as well as the kind of raw talent, charisma and ambition that may see her reach those same heights one day.

It’s hard to call something an instant classic when it’s only been out for a week. But fuck it, I’m calling it now: Janelle Monae’s The ArchAndroid is an instant classic, and I am almost sure that it will be massively influential on the future of popular music.

From Arizona to South Africa: Is there Hope in the World?


Revolution begins with the self, in the self.
Toni Cade Bambara

Given the last six months world events—massive earthquake in Haiti, flooding in Nashville, killings in Palestine and Thailand, corrective rapes of lesbians in South Africa, Arizona legalized racial profiling law, oil spill that will forever effect the Gulf Coast, the lies about governmental accountability from Toyota to the Banking system, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan Tea Party embodied in Rand Paul—one wonders is there hope in the world. Is there ever a time when justice, fairness, and love reigns supreme?

I ask this because right now I feel overwhelmed by all the injustices in the world. My heart weeps. I desperately need to know that change can happen. Not the type of change that jingles in your pocket or the type of change President Obama promised, but I am talking about the type of change that Gandhi and other spiritual leaders speak of . . . a world of peace . . . a world of hope . . . a world that cherish differences . . . a world that does not colonize and enslave with market ideas . . . a world free of oppression. I like trees who need soil to grow need to know that the world can change and that there is hope . . . hope in this godforsaken world of ours.

Dear Uncle Thomas,

Despite Harriet Beecher Stowe’s best intentions, her character Uncle Tom has become a pejorative term aimed at black American’s accused of selling out to white folks. In the novel, he was supposed to be a good man, a Christian man, but it was Christianity that led him to, even under questionable conditions (say slavery), continue to believe in the white man. I can kinda get with what Harriet was aiming for and would even argue that Uncle Tom’s consistency made him admirable even if his belief in the white man didn’t. You Clarence Thomas are the true Uncle Tom, a shifty Negro, a turncoat.

For all your racialized experiences, that is, things that happen to you because you are black, you continue to argue against wearing your color lenses. You are, in a sense, legally color-blind. You dissent like someone suffering from a rare case of Monochromacy, forget saturated colors like blue and green, you can’t even see black and white. No to affirmative action, yet you somehow got into Yale after going to Holy Cross. No to segregation. No to black women, yet we all know Anita Hill was telling the truth. You are a freak. You married that white woman to prove you are a noble man, despite your tendencies towards