Last Saturday night I had the pleasure of meeting Max Reddick of the blog Soulbrother v2 here in Memphis. Over a plate of good food and spiritual libation we had a rather healthy discussion. He being an educator at the college level the one thing that sticks out for all intents and purposes of this post was the state of education and Black youth. If you haven’t visited this blog before now I urge you to do so, and do so daily; if you don’t add it to your blogroll you’re missing out on some good reading.
I also had the opportunity to meet his teenage son who was fresh off of attending an academic summer program at Vanderbilt University. I gotta tell y’all: it was refreshing to speak to a Black man and his son who both put a premium on education in light of the negative things you hear about absentee fathers and delinquent kids. It just goes to show that there are some of us out here who are doing the damn thing but are never heralded. I was amazed to know that of the 900 or so kids that attended there were probably 20 Black kids in attendance; umm, we gotta do something about that parents.
Speaking of education…
Recently I read a story over at the blog Righteous Minds – another blog you should read daily – where in the state of Louisiana legislation was being considered to lower the education standards in an attempt to do something about the dropout rate. They’ve proposed “career diplomas” as an alternative to standardized testing. I don’t know what’s going on down in Louisiana, but their public school system is ranked damn near or at the very bottom of public school rankings in this country. According to a report, out of the 1,263 public schools in the state, only 301 of them scored at the basic level or above in 2008 [Click to read the PDF].
Can any of you tell me why this is so?
Could this be indicative of the problem in Louisiana?
[Insert blank f*ckin stare]
Now I know you guys know all about Hurricane Katrina and the effect it had on the gulf coast. You guys also know about the fallout in the aftermath that was Katrina and the state of Louisiana vs. the Federal Gov’t. I’m sure you all know all of this by now, but you probably haven’t heard of Hurricane Chris. I refuse to call him that name. Instead, when I look at him or hear his annoying music I say to myself, “there goes that damn mosquito again.” No joke, not only does he looks like one but his music is as annoying as a mosquito buzz in my ear. Seriously, I know there’s alotta swampland down in Louisiana, but do all these rap artists from that state have to actually look like insects? Think Lil Wayne, but I digress.
I looked at that video of him being honored in his state senate as the ultimate co-sign to the dumbing down of America. Obviously Louisiana isn’t or hasn’t been made dumb enough so they, or should I say his silly God-mother committed this horrible crime against humanity. When your state’s public schools rank as low as they do in the country the last thing you want to show the world as a glimmer of hope in the form of Hurricane Chris a mosquito who has managed to have a small command of the English language enough so to put out a rap record denigrating women. Hell, the record company had to change the title of the song after being threatened by some expensive lawyers retained by Halle Berry herself. I’m not mad at her; I wouldn’t want my name attatched to such f*ckery either.
I can’t help but to think that those White folks in that building – you know the White state legislators who were in attendance? – on that day all had a sigh of relief that their kids would never turn out like this fine young man. Sure their kids will never have a rap record ranked number five on the charts. But I damn sure know that their Godmothers would never embarrass them by referring to men as mens like this woman did. I’m also pretty sure that they as parents would never have to worry about getting their kids into academic summer programs either as do “regular” parents.
It’s sad enough that the state has a serious problem with education and poverty, but if Hurricane Chris is the best you have to offer and honor, then I think they’re in trouble. Instead of worrying about hurricanes and levees being fixed, I think parents should flee the state for their children’s sake. Either that or hold their elected officials accountable. Because from what I hear, they did pass that Bill to lower the bar as far as standardized testing. Just great; now we’ll have more kids graduating from high school with diplomas where they too can specialize in horrible music.