Every time I watch Waiting for Superman, I cry.
I’ve seen in a dozen times, but still,
every time, its gets to me.
Thats because I know things haven’t changed.
I know that our schools, communities and policies continue to fail our children. They continue to place preference on adults, money and maintaining the status quo. But you know what, the status quo is fucked. When 37% of high school students drop out of your community (Oakland), there is something deeply disturbing about the status quo. Let me just forwarn that I have no grand solution (check back after grad school) , only observations and really small, trivial actions that we can do to make a difference .
I also am trying to be more like Jesus, so I’m going to tell you it to you in a parable.
A working class black family lives 5 deep in a two bedroom apartment. Mom and dad both work two jobs and are high school drop outs. Overworked and underpaid, stressed about rent and getting food on the table, their girl’s education seeps out the window like the smoke from their cigarrettes, careless and quick. Neighbors over hear frequent yelling, loud music and the TV constantly humming in the background.
The girls often go running and get homework help from a neighbor. One day the neighbor takes the girls with her to run some errands, but observing the childrens behavior in the stores, she is aggravated and frustrated with their poor manners. Touching and leaning on everything, playing tag, talking very loud and ignoring multiple warnings from their chaperone, the neighbor is done with them. On the ride home, the little one is kicking her sisters seat, climbing over it and hitting her. The neighbor pulls the car over and speaks harshly to the girl telling her to act properly, she fails, so neighbor takes the girl home. But on her way out of the car, she slams the door. Opens it, then slams it again.
The neighbor is furious. She cant understand why the little girl thinks its okay to act this way. thankfully, these are not her children and is able to take them home and go on with her day, bratty child free. The neighbor holds onto this poor perception of the family and despises their poor ability to raise children with respect for others. She stops taking them on trips, running, and tutoring the girls.
They go to a typical Oakland public school, the ones that fail to meet state criteria and pass students along without holding them accountable for learning standards. Because their teachers are also underpaid and overworked. Seeing as though that neighbor was the only one teaching them the importance of exercise and education, the girls miss out on these crucial developments. They fall in their parents footsteps. Eating cheap processed food, smoking, cursing, fighting, addicted to alcohol and reality tv shows, and not taking care of their bodies. They might go on to work retail or in a restaurant. And they might go on to raise their kids the same way they were raised.
So everyone just kind of gives up in the end. thats my parable.
it means that our schools, parents and communities are careless and irresponsible. because thats how I’m feeling today.