Black students, White schools

 

Black Students, White Schools

 

Over the weekend, I stumbled across a story in The New York TimesAdmitted, but Left Out” about Black students who attend or did attend elite, mostly white private schools in New York City. Unsurprisingly, the article took on a familiar refrain, documenting the awkwardness and difficulty that students of color can encounter when they don’t match up neatly with the dominant race, and often the culture and class level, of their peers.

It’s a downside of private education that I’ve often heard discussed and worried over, mostly by Black parents who want the best education — often perceived not to be a public one or in a predominately Black environment — for their kids. Even when the kids hail from Black families that are staunchly middle-class or even affluent, those parents still wonder specifically how their Black kid will manage, it being a given that they won’t quite fit.

It’s a worthy concern, as demonstrated by the Times article. A lot of kids face adversity and culture shock that thus far there hasn’t been a way conceived to fully prepare them for. It’s important to acknowledge their stories and work on ways to help the schools and students adapt better to diversity. But there’s another side to the story too, a much less dramatic or controversial one, which is why I’m assuming it’s not so often told.

I’m one of those Black kids who went to what some might consider an elite prep school. It wasn’t in New York, but Maryland, and as far as the elite ranking of prep schools goes, mine probably fell midway on the list. My parents were lured to send me there by its proximity to our house and the promise of its 100 percent graduation and college attendance rate.

We had a campus, not a building, but no one was delivered to it via helicopter, or to my knowledge, a personal driver, which can be a non-eyebrow raising occurrence at the most elite schools. Most of my classmates didn’t have nationally notable surnames like say a few students at our rival school Sidwell Friends where Chelsea Clinton earned her diploma and the Obama girls are currently educated. My schoolmates did include the offspring of a high–ranking government officials and notable local businessmen, but mostly it was the spawn of two-parent households where both degreed parents worked hard, got paid well, and sacrificed a bit to shell out around $17k (adjusted for inflation) a year for their kid, often more than one, to attend.

I showed up at my school in 1991 as a 12-year-old eighth grader. Until then, I’d attended mostly Black private schools. I lived in a Black neighborhood, went to a Black church. At my new school, my class — around 30 kids and at the time, the largest in school history — was the first with a significantly “of color” population, about one-third of the class, the same as the students mentioned in the Times story. Both the senior and junior class that year had one Black student each. I don’t recall any other “of color” students among them to add to the diversity.

At the new school, it wasn’t so much the white that was the issue, it was the freedom. There was no asking to go to the bathroom, just get up and go. There were breaks and free periods where students could just roam anywhere we wanted to on campus and as long as we weren’t destructive, no teachers bothered us. It sounds like a free-for-all — and it seemed like one initially coming from a place where students were treated more like inmates — but it was just differently structured, not poorly structured. And I came to prefer it for the obvious reason that I liked the freedom.

In the classroom, I was encouraged to explore and express, create and challenge and critique constructively as opposed to the way of my previous schools, being told what to think and how to think it and when to regurgitate. That created a bit of a cultural clash between my parents and I. At school I was expected to question and argue. At home, my Mississippi-bred daddy didn’t appreciate the “back talk”, but eventually learned to alternately live with it or turn me over to my mother to manage. (The other big conflict was the affection I picked up for alt-rock like Jewel, Alanis Morisette, Oasis and Green Day, all of which sounded like white noise to my bred-on-Motown parents. At least hip-hop had a distinguishable beat. My father nearly stroked out when I put a poster of white boys on my wall. My mother wanted to torch my Jewel CD, which I played every morning and as loud as possible.)

Antagonizing experiences with my white classmates don’t really stand out so much. Admittedly, that could be my memory’s sentimental way of reflecting on my formative years. But even after a few days of mental probing (and a long talk with my best friend who attended middle and high school with me) we can only recall a few moments from those 5 years that were unduly troubling beyond normal teenage stuff.

There was the Middle Eastern girl who only dated Black guys, affected a stereotypically Black accent and dropped “N-bombs” freely, but honest to Hova she really didn’t mean any harm by it, and immediately stopped when she was called out. There was the time when a kid a grade below me showed up to school — we didn’t have uniforms — wearing his father’s KKK belt buckle and explained, “I don’t have a problem with Black people, only with n***ers.” Either the headmaster or Dean of Students promptly asked him to remove it.

There were many awkward conversations — as reflected in the larger world. Like the time the LAPD cops that beat the crap out of Rodney King were acquitted and some of my non-Black classmates didn’t understand why the Black kids were so upset. A history teacher gathered the entire class together for a teachable moment, which somehow descended into an argument over which was worse: the Holocaust or slavery? When the O.J. Simpson verdict came, a bunch of students were gathered around the TV. The reactions — either “WTF?” or “Hallelujah!” — were divided by race. I don’t recall any teacher — they were all white — broaching that one. Racial profiling of Black men especially was as big a subject then as it is now, and my poli-sci teacher attempted to justify it by explaining something like, “If you worked at 7-11 and if every time someone with a green hair, purple gloves and yellow pants came in, they robbed the store, isn’t it justifiable to profile people with green hair, purple gloves and yellow pants as potential criminals?” He completely missed the idea that you skin color isn’t a removable accessory. Oh, and there was the female teacher who stumbled into a bunch of Black girls playing double-dutch during our free period and remarked fondly at our “natural rhythm.” She was corrected that it was cultural, not genetic.

Most of the other stuff was harmless, like the time a bunch of us, of all colors, were sitting around talking about everything and nothing and a male classmate became shocked — shocked! — to discover that Black people don’t wash their hair daily. He wanted to know why not and I explained. Since he felt comfortable enough to pry, I asked him, “What’s up with white people and washcloths? Why just the soap, dude?” He assured me that they used them. I remember difficult conversations (read: heated arguments) about the choice of music for the school dances with the Black kids demanding more hip-hop and R&B. (And yes, we got our way.) That’s about as salacious as I can recall.

My experience wasn’t perfect. And I’m sure if you started asking around to other students who attended my school, you might find unfortunate tales of woe similar to those often told about Black kids being educated in white environments. Perspectives do matter. And from mine, being Black at a predominately white school wasn’t so bad.

Well the writer has her take. Hmmm. What’s your perspective?  I’m certainly not a big fan of  sending our children to predominantly white schools. Public or private.  In general I’m not pleased with what I see in those circles.  Homeschooling or independent Afrikan-centred schools will continue to get my vote, my time, my energy. What about you?  Consider this: As black students move into private schools at greater rates, a number of questions are raised. To what extent and under what conditions is a private school education better than a public school education for black students? What are the social and educational benefits and costs of being educated in a largely white environment? And what will be the benefits and costs as private schools themselves become increasingly black? Are the economic sacrifices made by black families to send their children to private school worth it to the individual child—to the black community?

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Marijuana: So you’re ready to stop smoking?

Trying to quit smoking? Wonderful!!!  The first step is to detox. Naturally that is. This is KEY!  Fresh juices, lots of water and herbs will help you.  Lots of rest can aid the process. Yoga, tai chi, qigong, meditation are awesome aids too.  Contact a local herbalist and/or naturopathic doctor.  Reach out to Queen Afua, Djehuty Ma’at-Ra and Dr.Llaila Afrika if you feel to.

yoga meditation

yogiman

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_SFxOVnCCc  How to quit smoking

http://www.dhealthstore.com/substance-abuse-cleanse.html  A substance abuse cleanse

http://www.nativeremedies.com/articles/home-remedies-detox-marijuana.html  Marijuana detox tips

http://drugdetoxhub.com/2012/08/15/how-to-naturally-detox-your-body-from-marijuana/  ” ” ”

www.naturaldrugdetoxbook.com  Drug detox tips

www.detoxalcoholdrug.org   ” ” ”

Real talk!!!

juice

The down side of smoking marijuana

From a Naturopathic Doctor… 

Marijuana: Healing Herb Or Harmful Weed?

So which is Marijuana, healing herb or harmful weed? We know what the pot smoker advocates have to say and we know what the conventional medical community has to say on the subject. But what about the naturopathic community? Here is what the well known and well respected author of the book, “Healthy Healing,” and N.D., and PhD, Doctor Linda Rector Page has written on the subject. “We should be clear about what Marijuana is and what it isn’t. Marijuana is no longer the mildly euphoric 3 or 4 hour high of the 60’s and 70’s.” Many claim that Marijuana is not addictive. However Doctor Linda Page says, “It IS addictive.” And as for the effects of smoking Marijuana she says, ” Both mental and physical health are clearly affected, especially in the terms of blood sugar balance, muscle coordination, reaction time and emotional deteration. Work suffer from lack of ambition and direction, family life and relationships suffer because of apathy and non-communication.”

Doctor Page also points out that a vast majority of Marijuana users who have been smoking weed since the 60’s and 70’s and more often than not completely unaware that since the Marijuana of today is so many more times stronger than that which most smoked some 20-years ago or more, new more exaggerated bad side effects have been discovered and reported by many users. These new stronger bad side effects include reports of, “acute anxiety attacks (see Hippie Planet online to read verified accounts of this), paranoia, incoherent speech, extreme disorientation and hallucinations lasting up to 12 hours. Marijuana also impairs the reproductive system, specially in terms of reduced male sperm count, and both long and short term memory, and depressed immune system, by as much as 40%.

Does Marijuana Have Less Health Damaging Effects Than Smoking Tobacco?

“Marijuana smoke today contains the same health damaging carcinogens as tobacco, only now in much higher concentrations. Because Marijuana smoke is inhaled more deeply and held in the lungs longer than tobacco, it leads to servere lung damage. All the attendant diseases of nicotine smoke are now besetting Marijuana smokers- especially chronic bronchitis, emphysema and lung cancer as characterized by anxiety, sleeplessness, tumors and chills.”

What About Marijuana As Medicine?

In considering possible medical uses of Marijuana, it is important to distinguish between the whole Marijuana and pure THC or other specific chemicals derived from cannabis. Whole Marijuana contains hundreds of chemicals, some of which are clearly harmful to health. TCH, manufactured into a pill that is taken by mouth, can be used for treating the nausea and vomiting that goes along with certain cancer treatments and is available by prescription. Another chemical related to THC (nabilone) has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating cancer patients who suffer nausea. The oral THC is also used to help AIDS patients eat more to keep up their weight. Scientists are studying whether THC and other related chemicals in Marijuana (called cannabinoids) may have other medical uses. But again, this also differs from merely recreational Marijuana smoking.

Dr.Page’s Guild To Repairing The Damage Done By Marijuana Smoking…

The following information can be found on page 338 in Dr.Page’s book, “Healthy Healing.”

1. Take a protein drink every morning.

2. Because Marijuana leaches B vitamins….Dr.Page recommends following the diet outline for HYPOGLYCEMIA and to also control sugar cravings.

Natural & Healthy Alternative To Marijuana For Calming Nerves:

Natural food storss and even many regular grocery stores carry herbal teas that relax the nerves. You can also try aromatheraphy with such soothing scents as rosemary.

What are some of the immediate effects of smoking marijuana?

Some immediate physical effects of marijuana include a faster heartbeat and pulse rate, bloodshot eyes, and a dry mouth and throat. No scientific evidence indicates that marijuana improves hearing, eyesight, and skin sensitivity. Studies of marijuana’s mental effects show that the drug can impair or reduce short-term memory, alter sense of time, and reduce ability to do things which require concentration, swift reactions, and coordination, such as driving a car or operating machinery.

Are there any other adverse reactions to marijuana?

A common bad reaction to marijuana is the “acute panic anxiety reaction.” People describe this reaction as an extreme fear of “losing control,” which causes panic. The symptoms usually disappear in a few hours.

What about psychological dependence on marijuana?

Long-term regular users of marijuana may become psychologically dependent. They may have a hard time limiting their use, they may need more of the drug to get the same effect, and they may develop problems with their jobs and personal relationships. The drug can become the most important aspect of their lives.

How does marijuana affect driving ability?

Driving experiments show that marijuana affects a wide range of skills needed for safe driving — thinking and reflexes are slowed, making it hard for drivers to respond to sudden, unexpected events. Also, a driver’s ability to “track” (stay in lane) through curves, to brake quickly, and to maintain speed and the proper distance between cars is affected. Research shows that these skills are impaired for at least 4-6 hours after smoking a single marijuana cigarette, long after the “high” is gone. If a person drinks alcohol, along with using marijuana, the risk of an accident greatly increases. Marijuana presents a definite danger on the road.

Does marijuana affect the human reproductive system?

Some research studies suggest that the use of marijuana during pregnancy may result in premature babies and in low birth weights. Studies of men and women may have a temporary loss of fertility. These findings suggest that marijuana may be especially harmful during adolescence, a period of rapid physical and sexual development.

How does marijuana affect the heart?

Marijuana use increases the heart rate as much as 50 percent, depending on the amount of THC. It can cause chest pain in people who have a poor blood supply to the heart – and it produces these effects more rapidly than tobacco smoke does.

How does marijuana affect the lungs?

Scientists believe that marijuana can be especially harmful to the lungs because users often inhale the unfiltered smoke deeply and hold it in their lungs as long as possible. Therefore, the smoke is in contact with lung tissues for long periods of time, which irritates the lungs and damages the way they work. Marijuana smoke contains some of the same ingredients in tobacco smoke that can cause emphysema and cancer. In addition, many marijuana users also smoke cigarettes; the combined effects of smoking these two substances creates an increased health risk.

Can marijuana cause cancer?

Marijuana smoke has been found to contain more cancer-causing agents than is found in tobacco smoke. Examination of human lung tissue that had been exposed to marijuana smoke over a long period of time in a laboratory showed cellular changes called metaplasia that are considered pre-cancerous. In laboratory test, the tars from marijuana smoke have produced tumors when applied to animal skin. These studies suggest that it is likely that marijuana may cause cancer if used for a number of years.

Our Sons: Manhood Rites

dadson

We all go through various rites in life.  There are some that we’re more prepared for than others. Boys-Men rites of passage programmes are key! You can find these programmes in your local community. Ask around. Check online. If you don’t find something suitable connect with a few other families you’re comfy with and create your own. There are lots of resources that can help you along the way. Here are a few great ones:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgHpt7ViIfc A father and son talk  about rites of passage and what it meant for their family.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LebMdxslZg   S.T.E.P.: Rites of Passage & Manhood Development

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJ_jF_Gv0Ks    Sunz of Sankofa  ” ”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cm5DO1u6M_c   The PLAN/Immanuel Praise Fellowship ROP Program

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1yohAR60jg    The B.R.I.C.K. Program

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keu0QzrO7ic    Mother to Son ROP ”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1lgMHnW8zs    Straight Street ROP ”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTeQYI-4aUQ   Omega CDC ROP ”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6wz5rm_i_g    ORIGIN ROP ”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnd9tii0cvk  Egbe Akokonrin ROP ”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqNL_4fioa0  Afrikan Village’s ROP ”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0K3NgjUyhk   H.Yuya Assaan-Anu’s take on rites of passage

http://www.peace-warriors.com  Mentoring/rites of passage prog.

fatherson cornrows2

manhoodrites

Let’s embrace ’em: Atheists, agnostics, freethinkers

Most of us have a really hard time fully embracing people who are not spiritual or religious.  I used to struggle with it too.  Big time!! How did I get over it? Hmm. Years of internal work helped me identify where my issues were coming from. It was confrontation time.  Getting to know some beautiful people who are atheists/freethinkers helped too. Thanks to all of them for nudging me out of my comfort zone. Let’s all learn to show some love and compassion. We can agree to disagree at times. It’s all good provided we do so respectfully.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5iMmx-Ucrw  Black atheists answer a few questions

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rti_d5hzs24  Black atheists’ rondatable discussion

http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2013/10/black_atheists_advice_for_africanamerican_nonbelievers.html  Article entitled “Please Stop Assuming All Blacks are Christian” 

If you’re an athiest/freethinker who is looking for support don’t hesitate to reach out to:

http://www.blackatheistsofamerica.org/   Black Atheists of America

www.blacknonbelievers.wordpress.com   Black Non-Believers of Atlanta

www.blacknonbelieversofchicago.org      ” ” ” Chicago

www.aahumanism.net   African Americans for Humanism

www.foundationbeyondbelief.org   Foundation Beyond Belief: Humanity at Work

fam

Interesting Stuff: Agnostics, atheists, freethinkers

The Black Community Has Been Waiting Too Long For God’s Help by Darrell Dawsey                           February 24th, 2013

Even as Black History month prepares to close out its final week, this Sunday marks the emergence of a nascent movement that promises a radical new direction for many in African-American communities. As it has for the past couple of years now, the fourth Sunday of February has been designated the Day of Solidarity for Black Non-believers, a call for unity among the relatively small but fast-growing ranks of African-American atheists, agnostics and freethinkers. All around the country, local and national organizations of black atheists are holding small meet-ups, huge conferences and intense symposia in an effort both to support each other and to draw attention to the increasing numbers of blacks who are rejecting gods and churches in favor of reason and a deep skepticism toward the religious idealism that has been a traditional hallmark of black communities nationwide. The Day of Solidarity has another aim as well — to confront head-on what many black non-believers see as a refusal by some whites in the secular community to acknowledge and embrace ethnic and racial diversity. According to the Free Thought Blogs: Black Skeptics: Based on their disinterest in any recruiting efforts, the leadership of the secular community is apparently very proud of the fact that they, on the other hand, have few people of African descent in leadership positions as well as very few members. While there is no genuine intent or concerted plan to change this situation, many attempt to explain this phenomena by claiming that black folk are just too addicted to religion; otherwise, those of us who aren’t addicted to religion are either nominal or closet atheists, and therefore, need not be taken seriously. During the past 25 years, I belonged to many secular organizations; it was indeed a challenge to remain in them. When African American atheists attempt to expand their visibility and participation in the secular community by organizing with other nonbelievers—especially those who have been historically ignored by the leadership of the secular community—to publicly celebrate their freedom from religious dogma; when we ask everyone in the secular community to celebrate along with us, and we set aside one day out of the entire year to do so, there’s a problem! Last year, some very intelligent and insightful atheists declared efforts to organize a Day of Solidarity for Black Non-believers as segregation! Those same people are otherwise dead silent about the segregation, hostility, and alienation directed towards black atheists within the secular community year-round. Indeed, skepticism hasn’t erased racism. For all of their willingness to reject religious dogma and convention, far too many white atheists still haven’t figured out how to reject the insidious racist thinking that compels too many of them to either overlook people of color or fall for the same hoary stereotypes about blacks and others that poison the minds of the theists they are so quick to deride. As a result, atheist communities often seem as closed to African-Americans as some communities of believers — sometimes even more so. Meanwhile, even as the media opens itself up to more discussion about “the new atheism,” much of it tends to focus on white freethinkers such as Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and PZ Myers. Too often lost in the mix are brilliant black skeptics such as Sikivu Hutchinson, Norm Allen, Ayanna Watson, Jamila Bey and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Not only does this skewed coverage present a false picture of homogeneity among atheists, it also reinforces the myth that all black folks are Bible- (or Quran-) thumping zealots who passively accept whatever religious ideology has been passed on to them by pop culture and previous generations. Truth is, there are millions of blacks who no longer (or never did) embrace the religion of our forebears. There are also burgeoning organizations, such as the Black Atheists of America, that are dedicated not just to exploding religious mythology but to making a substantive difference in the lives of other black people through science, reason and humanist compassion. They know that, for all of black folks’ slavish devotion to theism, black churches and mosques have proven utterly incapable of transforming the material conditions of most of our people (with the preachers who get paid off these hustles being the notable exceptions). In Detroit, for instance, churches and mega churches abound in almost every part of town, white elephants towering smugly above dilapidated houses, burnt-out storefronts and vacant lots. Look out on the major thoroughfares that cut through the most depressed black communities and you’ll find churches on top of, next door to and up the street from still other churches. And yet our communities are as burdened with violence, poverty, despair and dysfunction as they have ever been. We spend hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of dollars every week on love offerings and tithes and church “building fund” contributions and pay-ins to pastoral anniversaries. And what do we have to show for it? Sure, there may be a few church-run shelters or food programs here and there, a few mediocre charter schools and “alternative” education centers. But given all that blacks invest in religion week in, week out, is this really the best we can do? Is this all we really have to show for centuries of serving as the nation’s “spiritual compass” in many ways? Meanwhile, Christian preachers continue to make up the bulk of so-called “leadership” in our communities, at the helm of our civil-rights groups, our social organizations and our business confederations. We put them in charge of our schools and vote them onto our city councils. We depend on them to speak for us not just on “spiritual matters,” but also the pressing issues of the day in the physical world. Even as other communities send economists and lawyers and analysts to the table to address matters of public policy or criminal justice, we’re still relying on Pastor So-and-So to articulate our most complex and serious ideas and interests. While I don’t deny that the black church has indeed played a key role in blacks’ traditional fight for freedom — mostly because the church historically has been the one place blacks could gather without inviting racist hostility — I don’t believe that it does black communities any good to continue to hold on to Dark Ages religion as the panacea for our modern-day problems. We need a greater emphasis on reason, on science, on free thought. We need to quit “waiting on Jesus” and quit depending on “god’s messengers” to shape our politics, fight our battles and lead our collective struggles. We need to consider that maybe, just maybe, our pre-occupation with the supernatural hasn’t done a damn thing to change the natural conditions that delimit, and often destroy, so many of our lives. We have spent the better part of our history on American shores looking to heaven for help. It’s time to avert our gaze and begin looking to ourselves.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/16/atheists-churches-nonbelievers-find-a-sunday-morning-connection_n_3096949.html  Sunday morning gatherings for agnostics, athiests, humanists, freethinkers. Good to know!

4/20

Today is a special one for some folks. Let me just say that I don’t think smoking is healthy. Period.  In the case of marijuana I can accept that some people may benefit from smoking it.  Even with that many users don’t know what they’re getting. That’s problematic to me. Much of the ganja on the market these days has who-knows-what in it. That’s SERIOUS.

 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twpz5g3PWxk  Dr. Umar Johnson speaks
about marijuana

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIkwi8ampsk  Dr. Sebi speaks on the subject
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xkh5HgKEzXI  Effects of smoking and/or
eating cannabis
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vk5BRV-3cww  Health benefits of marijuana
 
So do I feel that marijuana should be legalized? Absolutely.  Now I’m not prepared to get into my reasons here. Suffice it to say that cannabis is a powerful plant. In a good way I might add (if it’s organic that is). It is an herb. It’s a vegetable. Everyone should have access to it.  
 
P.S.- Your best bet is to grow your own.
 
A plant growing at a cannabis farm