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Sunday, August 20, 2017

170 years of equity and jusitce delayed in our public schools is White Supremacy

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Ask any White Supremacist if Black, Brown, Jewish, and Immigrant children deserve equity and justice in our public schools?

They will answer: NO!
Ask America if Black, Brown, and immigrant children deserve equity and justice in our public schools?
America will say yes, BUT!
America's Policy Makers and Elected Leaders answer. We are working on it, someday. Lately it is until then let the schools that educate Black, Brown, Immigrant, and Poor Children compete against each other for limited resources. That Someday tune, began in the the first days of public education in America. Over 170 years of inequality and injustice, and counting.


Somewhere along the way someday became the rallying cry of standardization. We are working on it. Someday, until then we will use test scores and rigorous standards. America started its love affair with standardization and testing in the Nineteenth Century. Since 2000, education reform policies have added make poor schools compete against each other for limited resources. Test scores and educational standards without equity has been the norm since the National Education Association's Committee of Ten recommended the standardization of  high school curriculum, (1892).
I would argue for the past 125 standardization has provided cover for an America that refuses to do the right time for all for Black, Brown, and Immigrant children?  If it provides cover for not doing the right thing for Black, Brown, and Immigrant children? Then it is racist, and more aligned with White Supremacy than any American educator wants to admit. 


Coretta Scott King said: “I must remind you that starving a child is violence. Suppressing a culture is violence. Neglecting school children is violence. Punishing a mother and her family is violence. Discrimination against a working man is violence. Ghetto housing is violence. Ignoring medical need is violence. Contempt for poverty is violence.”


In Coretta's words above we find this line " Neglecting school children is violence". When we accept equity and justice someday. We are accepting violence against school children today. When I read "Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness", I recognized a School to Prison Pipeline rooted in Jim Crow. 
I would argue, our public-school system is committing acts of violence against Black, Brown, and Immigrant children. We can add acts of violence against poor children and special education children as well, for they too have been waiting for equity and justice. 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his 1963 letter from a Birmingham Jail "Justice too long delayed is justice denied" Ascribing it to a "distinguished jurist of yesterday". Let me say this publicly, and make it as clear as I am able. When equity and justice is delayed for over 170 years in our public schools? Then, that system is more aligned with the violent acts of White Supremacy than anyone wants to admit.

Equity tomorrow is justice delayed, and justice delayed is INJUSTICE,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner 

If you like to listen the song that inspire my morning walk this morning...it is Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAGkuPaatdc







Thursday, August 17, 2017

The liberation begins somehwere between page 1 and the soul


My vacation in the Mountains is coming to an end this weekend. I have fished a little, walked and prayed in the Lord's Cathedral Forest, seen some local theater, walked the streets of small town USA,  wrote a little, and reflected deeply while reading Ta-Nahisi Coates "Between "The World and Me" again. A person who wishes to know themselves must read because, books are our mirrors.

Louise Rosenblatt's Seminole Work "Literature as Exploration" freed the reader from the text: She took us outside the cover of the text: “The reader brings to the work personality traits, memories of past events, present needs and preoccupations, a particular mood of the moment and a particular physical condition."
She views the possibility of reading as a transactional experience offering the reader the opportunity to walk in another person's shoes. That walk becomes a transformation experience that binds the reader to the world, the author, the text, and is unique and different for every reader. It changes us. She opens the door to multiple perspectives, and frees readers from the slavery of those literacy critics exposing their responses’ rule. Those critics who in many many ways are the protector of a Cannon Literature more rooted in White Supremacy than anyone dare admit.

As I read Ta-Nehisi Coates, I know I can't be Black, can't cast off my privilege, but I can walk a little in his shoes. In reading his words: “Then the mother of the murdered boy rose, turned to you, and said, “You exist. You matter. You have value. You have every right to wear your hoodie, to play your music as loud as you want. You have every right to be you. And no one should deter you from being you. You have to be you. And you can never be afraid to be you.” I can begin to understand just a milometer of what it means to be Black in America. I cannot change being White. However I can begin to fathom the evil of an injustice that Black Americans live with from birth to the grave. I can't change the world, but I can change me.

I have marched with my Black Lives Matters brothers and sisters, but my role is not to speak, not to push to the front, but to listen, learn, and support the moral quest for racial justice in America. I cannot be Black, but I can stand with my Black brothers and sisters who have never known justice in America. I can do this, because of the books I have read.


But, books alone are not enough. I was blessed to be the last White Boy in my neighborhood, and instead of feeling isolated, afraid, and alone. I was made welcomed, loved, and embraced by every shade of Black and Brown there is. I was immersed in a world of color and languages that still feed my soul today. God blessed me with the most beautiful extended family any one could ever have. Somehow that experience makes the reading of Ta-Nehisi Coates a perfect bridge to understanding that Black Lives Matter.

Rudine Sims Bishop said “Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of a larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books.”  So, I am stepping through sliding glass doors, when I read" Ta-Nehisi words:
“The pursuit of knowing was freedom to me, the right to declare your own curiosities and follow them through all manner of books. I was made for the library, not the classroom. The classroom was a jail of other people’s interests. The library was open, unending, free. Slowly, I was discovering myself.”

I am discovering this baggage of White Privilege I carry, and the hint of a possibility of becoming something greater.  The library is my personal key to unlocking that White Supremacist jail that has for far too long held White America back from living those words in our nation's pledge " One Nation Under God, with Liberty and Justice for All."

I am a better man, because Ta-Nehisi Coates opened his Black soul to all who dare to walk a mile in his shoes. I am 4 days from returning to the struggle for justice for all. I plan to hit the ground running on day five,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you like to listen to the tune that inspire my walk this morning in these woods this morning...it's Play For Change cover of "A Change is Gonna Come" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zDeBIA-vQ8

What does Evil in America Sound like

What does evil in America sound like? The link below is to an interview with the KKK leaders members of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, based in Pelham, N.C. They openly state they are glad that Heather Hayer dies, and people were injured. They applaud the actions of young man who killed young Heater Hayer. It ends with one of them purposely twisting the last words of Jesus Christ just before he died from “Forgive them for they know not what they are doing” to Forgive them for they know what They’re doing”. This interviewed may be too graphic for some, but it is the picture of hatred in America. http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article167303682.html 
I met Elsie Wiesel once in Bayonne New Jersey nearly 40 years ago. We had taken a group of adolescents to hear him speak in a small library. It was a intimate event, a chance to get close to him. There were less than 25 of us there. It was a perfect moment, and a perfect place to learn from one of the world’s greatest humanitarians. After he was done speaking and reflecting on “Night,” one of our young men said that can never happen in America. He said no one could have ever imagine that happening in Germany either before Hitler. He told us Germany was the intellectual capital of the world. It was the hub of philosophy, and it’s universities were temples of tolerance. If I leave you here with one message today, let it be that this could happen anywhere. Be diligent young man, and never be silent in the face of hatred. Hatred is on the march in America, and it offers no apologies for it ugly actions. White Supremacists are celebrating the murder of our daughters and sons. 

As a father, I can think of no greater evil than these people who dream of a race war.
As an American, I can think of no greater threat to freedom and justice White Supremacy.
As a man of faith, I am lost in their lack of remorse, their lack of humanity, and their endless hatred of humanity.
Americans, must fight evil,
Americans, must stand against evil,
Americans, must not be silent,
Justice is under attack in America, and they have taken to killing our daughters,
Americans must reject their hate,
If we shall over come, we cannot stand silent in the face of evil,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1osKWCDXl40 Link to Pete Seeger “We Shall Over Come