Chanman,To which I say, gladly. I grew up as a middle-class kid (Dad was a cop, Mom was a teacher) in a little mountain town in northern California in the 1980s. This town had not one black person living in it. In fact, there wasn't a black person around in any direction that I knew of for at least 70 to 100 miles. All I really knew about black people at that time, I probably gleaned from Eddie Murphy movies and the Cosby Show. The only ethnic group in my town were Indians; Karuk to be exact. The funny thing is that a disproportionate number of Karuk kids with whom I went to school, exhibited a lot of the same anti-intellectual, oppositional behavior that I see in so many black students I now teach. I think that might be where I gained such an interest in this phenomenon.
I am curious to know more about your upbringing and experience with the black community beyond your role as a teacher. Also, what is your economic background?
Keep lovin' on these kids. They need it just as much as any of us.
I had some exposure to blacks when I went to college, but they tended to be cocky football players and track sprinters who swaggered around wearing do-rags. It wasn't until I went in the Army that my eyes to the world were finally opened. During my 12 years in the Army, I met some of the finest people - of all colors - that you could ever think of meeting. Some of the toughest, most squared away, attention-to-detail soldiers I met in the Army were black soldiers; especially black NCOs (Sergeants). When I was stationed in Schweinfurt for a while, the guy I hung out with the most was black, and that's the funny thing - race was never a subject that we talked about. It wasn't even on our radar screen. We just talked about home, high school, life; we shot the breeze. Were all black soldiers that way? Of course not. Even in the Army, there was that militant, Whitey-is-the-devil contingent, just like there was also the white redneck, darkies-should-know-their-place contingent. Being stuck together in close quarters, we all figured out how to get along, no matter what we thought of each other.
It wasn't until I got into teaching that I saw some of the issues concerning black children on which I have expounded. Couple this with the fact that around the same time, I became a political junkie who devoured the readings of black conservative commentators such as Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Larry Elder, Ken Hamblin, John McWhorter, and Shelby Steele. These guys have been writing about these issues for years. When I read what they had to say, the things that I had seen all began to make sense.
So, Miroslav, I hope that answers your question. I welcome any comments, even from the anonymous person who questioned whether I would even welcome a black person into my home. I don't think I need to dignify that remark with any further response.
Good Day to You, Sir