Just read this little news story, where this middle school has "unofficially" banned a seven-year old girl from performing her poems in their district again. The poem she wrote and recited said (and this is a quote from the story):
"Black lands taken from your hands, by vampires with no remorse," the aspiring actress and poet wrote. "They took the gold, the wisdom and all the storytellers. They took the black women, with the black man weak. Made to watch as they changed the paradigm of our village.
"Yeah white nationalism is what put you in bondage. Pirates and vampires like Columbus, Morgan and Darwin."
I don't know, sounds to me like she's got a point, though she's blaming the wrong folks. It just astonished me that they couldn't take it. The music teacher that invited her said that he thought the poem was "too aggressive for what the middle-school kids are ready to handle."
Listen, a lot of these kids go home every night and play "Doom" or "Grand Theft Auto" and watch the TV shows and R-rated movies their parents watch. I think the kids are perfectly capable of dealing with a few comments about the black situation.
It's the parents that just don't get it. There's still plenty of racism today. Plenty of people looking to knock down other people for stupid reasons. This kid's talking about it, and they want her to shut up. They don't want dialogue. The school sent a recorded message to the homes of the students apologizing for the young poet's words. That's creepy.
The music teacher did say that some of the teachers want the girl to come back and talk about her poem with their students, which is cool. I hope she can do that.
It's amazing the power that words have over people. Those same parents that are freaking out about the poem probably don't freak out about TV or movies or violent video games. Yet poems make them cut and run.
I hope I made some sense today. I seem to have sinusitis again, or an ear infection. Whatever it is, my head's all full of cotton. I'll see the doc here in a couple hours, though, so that'll be nice.
Oh, the title to my post? That's the title of Julius Lester's book. He said he had to fight to keep Dial from changing the title. I really like him, he seems like a super guy and also he's a hell of a scholar.