Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Two Races Two Cities

In America there are only two colors, black and white.  There are no rainbows or people of "other" colors, other sexualities and other religions.  We are apparently either Christian or not.  Just not Christian.  We have no ethnic distinctions, no cultural components, no other languages no other issues  of import than the relationship, or lack thereof, between Black and White citizens of America.  Oh yes citizens as there are no immigrants, no forced labor agreements, no other situations and circumstances in America that define history other than Slavery. No other discrimination, oppression, hate, or any other pain other than the pain of the Black Citizen at the hands of the White Citizen.  We have no other history, no other narrative, no other perspective in which to gain insight that we may have many many other problems that our largely white patriarchy of history, all wrapped up in a document called the Constitution.  A document that despite the first proclamation about being free and the whole separation of Church and State, it really was  secretly the Bible, just without fun stories to lend the reasoning behind the laws and beliefs stated in said document.

In Seattle and in Nashville, two cities of which I am more than familiar it took me awhile to realize how racist and oppressive the two cities are, just one wraps itself with a blue ribbon the other red, but both share a common passive aggressive nature that dominates the landscape and the dialogue of its residents.

Seattle people shut you down when you don't preach the speech, Nashville preaches the speech and then shut you down regardless.  They don't have time for that dissension or disagreement and while Seattle pretends to they don't either it just takes more ad hominem attacks and rebukes with a better vocabulary to get there.  Nashvillians just go, "I have never heard that before" and that ends that.


Right now we are on a race to the finish line and that is the irony, the line is never crossed. We just reach it but then the white line is never ever crossed as the white power that holds it in place just move it ever so slightly to make it impossible to ever determine a winner and we can't have any one winner as then what? All the other racers might have a shot? Fuck that.

I read these two articles and the first article is from the Business Journal, the woman interviewed perhaps says the most salient issues regarding how Black Lives should matter.  Many of  her ideas and thoughts are not new but the points are right on the money. Oh yes we will come back to that one.  And sadly I have heard  many of them before with another ## movement, MeToo. Irony that it was a Black woman who came up with that moniker and it was culturally appropriated and led to the movement that was to stop Sexual Harassment and abuse in the workplace.  How is that working out? I am a little distracted now by new demands that are well the same as the other ones.   Remember the histrionics about the children in cages?  What about that?  Oh wait DACA was resolved by the Supreme Court for now?  How about Women's Movement and Gun Violence? What happened there? I bet those kids from Stoneyman Douglas miss school now?  Just not the gun and the Cop running in the opposite direction when the shooting began.  Oh wait that is why we wanted Police and guns in school until we didn't.

Sunday marked the end of Pride and how did that work out? Well the Supreme Court upheld the law regarding discrimination by applying it to those whose sexuality is an issue when it comes to firing or not hiring those who may fall under the ever increasing moniker LGBQTI.  Seriously how many letters does it take to say "I am not a heterosexual" Oh wait it takes fourteen other pronouns or words to simply say that phrase.  Okay then, cis gendered binary capital Q. What.the.fuck.ever.

Let's talk about Judaism, Islam and that whole thing. Remember that one that gave us immense laws to observe, stalk, prey and know all about those people from the far away lands that destroyed America on 9/11. Did we win that war?  Is that war still going on? How did that work out? How is that Middle East Peace thing going? Oh wait Kushner is on Covid now or is he?  Is Covid still a thing?

Guess what America we are the shiny key nation. I used to say that in Nashville as I never saw or heard anything like the endless bragging, boasting and idiocy that I did there. I never met anyone who seemed to have focus or the ability to follow through, maintain consistency or have any long range plans, methods in which to attain said goals or well have sense, yes sense of any kind. I took it at first due to the lack of education and the focus on the Bible but they couldn't even follow through with the Bible shit, they barely stayed at one Church long enough to remember the Pastor's name let alone their fellow congregants.  So I realized that once I left that it was everywhere.  Watching a new version of Occupy Wall Street only now at the Mayor's residence here in New York made me laugh, yep, its Occupy in duplicate. The endless daily marches that happen are not as covered in the news unless someone loses an eye and that is because violence here is on the rise thanks to the whole Cops are bad shit so let's stab, shoot and harm as many as possible and settle those scores.  As the summer is barely underway, we have a holiday this week with endless problems from fireworks to budget issues, and now thanks again to the South and West, my former two homes, Covid is back (it never left) but they prove once again you just can't have anything nice, and the white Daddies are taking away our privileges.

I have lived up and down the West Coast, the South as in Tennessee and Texas and now here in the East Coast there are distinctly different attitudes when it comes to social mores. People are in your face here they just wear masks while doing so.  We are way more money oriented and that professional skill set may explain why we just jumped in without question in the beginning and then like everywhere else went off the deep end when the leash was released, we lost our collective minds, but we will be masked up and wearing space suits if it meant we would be safe from the killer Covid. For all our arrogance here we are oddly compliant.   Its the money and education thing that much I am sure.  Note that Seattle and San Francisco have massive homeless issues, largely young kids and legal pot that helps in their migrant crisis.  They just don't cage them - yet.


Nashville nonprofit leader: ‘I don’t feel welcome in my own city’
The Equity Alliance

Nashville, TN
By Marq Burnett – Reporter, Nashville Business Journal
Jun 11, 2020,

Charlane Oliver is the co-founder and co-executive director of The Equity Alliance, a Nashville nonprofit focused on civic engagement in communities of color.

As a part of our coverage of the civil unrest around the country following the killing of George Floyd, we've asked several business and community leaders for their thoughts on the role Nashville's business community should play in helping end systemic racism. Oliver's responses (edited for length and clarity) are below; more responses will be featured in the June 12 weekly edition of the Nashville Business Journal.

What would you like to see happen next in Nashville? What role do you think the local business community can play in helping end systemic racism? What are some actionable steps?

If we want to talk about real change and what the business community can do, we have to put our money where our mouth is. Sending out emails through your company’s email list is great, but it has to be more than just that. You have to show solidarity in your budget.

As a black community, we have been distressed economically. Structural racism lives in budgets and policies. When it comes to the business community, I would hope that every single business that is predominantly white-led, if you have a white CEO, that you are looking internally at your HR policies to see how you are showing up for black people in your workspace. Not just providing diversity, equity and inclusion training. But what does your board of shareholders look like? Do you have any black people on your board of shareholders? And do you have more than one, because we shall not be tokenized.

Secondly, what does your executive senior leadership look like? Do an analysis of that. Put us in positions of real power, and not just making us the diversity, equity and inclusion officer. We know about more than just race. We are qualified for positions. Set a standard to have a percentage of your hiring and your workforce be black people. Set a percentage of your sponsorship budget that you will donate to and sponsor events from black-led organizations.

For the larger Nashville community, Metro schools have about 84,000 students, and 70% are black students. Our schools are severely underfunded year after year. That’s racism. We are increasing police budgets every year, but we are not increasing education budgets. That is systemic racism that feeds the school-to-prison pipeline. So we need to take a hard look at what we are funding. …

We need to be paying our workers, our essential workers, because black folks are getting the coronavirus. Black people have been living in a pandemic called racism since 1619 when we came across the ocean. The other pandemic we’re in is disproportionately impacting black people in a way that is getting us sicker because of underlying health conditions. But we’re also getting sicker because we are the essential workforce, having to go and be your paid hourly workers. Are you paying a livable wage? Pay your workers a living wage. Give them stock options. Share the wealth. …

If you want to be totally honest, let’s take this phone call for example. Institutions consistently ask black people to take our humanity and our trauma and lay it out for people without compensation. Our intellectual capital deserves compensation.

How have I experienced racism? It’s one of the reasons I avoid downtown. Why? Because it is not welcoming. Downtown on Broadway and around Second Avenue is not a welcoming place. We call ourselves a welcoming city for immigrants and outsiders alike. We call ourselves the ‘It City.’ Public officials have changed and transformed downtown in such a way that it is only white. White establishments on Broadway. Tourism is only for white folks. That’s the message that you’re sending.

When I was in college when I moved here, downtown was the happening place. There was no Gulch. Second Avenue had all the clubs and bars. It was a place I wanted to go to. We hung out there a lot. Every weekend, we went to Second Avenue. But now, I can’t tell you the last time I walked up and down Second Avenue and felt like it was my city. It’s a totally different feel and vibe to go down there now. That was done deliberately. …

But I would say that the way I feel racism is that I don’t feel welcome in my own city. I don’t. The other thing is, we have closed gathering spaces for black folks in town. Why does South Nashville have a Plaza Mariachi, but North Nashville doesn’t have anything? We don’t have a place to gather and celebrate our culture. We’ve been asking for something like that for years. North Nashville doesn’t have commercial establishments to enjoy. We have to go across town to Green Hills or Opry Mills to go shopping, or to get something other than fast food. That’s racism. The gentrification is racism. The way they’ve thrown up these tall and skinnies. There are many ways that Nashville is showing itself to be racist. Have we ever had a black mayor? We have to look at things through a racial equity lens in this city, and we do not do that well. When we talk about putting people on boards and appointing people to committees, you have to do that through a racial-equity lens. The people who are most directly impacted should be leading the charge. But we always see the same faces.

What concerns you about Nashville’s ability to confront these issues? What makes you hopeful?

What concerns me about Nashville being able to confront these issues is that the same people we are asking to change the system are the same people who created it. That’s what concerns me. They’re not willing to give up power. We’re fighting the same issues of the 60s and 70s. Nashville is more segregated in our schools than ever before. We’ve been begging, pleading to fund public schools. But where’s the political will? …

What makes me hopeful? The uprising that I’m seeing across this world of people that are standing up for black lives. That makes me so proud to be a black person. I’m wearing a shirt today that says, "America will never be great until black people are free." Until we recognize our freedom, the prosperity of this city and of this nation runs through the city that built it, which is black people, we can never live up to our wildest dreams. Until we do the work of recognizing and apologizing for racism, institutionalized oppression and slavery, we can never find a pathway forward.

All black people want is to be equal. Black people just want to be treated like everyone else in this country. Stop putting roadblocks in our way. Stop creating policies that kill us and oppress us. Let black people lead for once. But what gives me hope is more people are recognizing the role they may have played in being complicit in upholding a system of white supremacy. I am hopeful that we can now make some changes. This feels different. This uprising feels much different than two years ago or three years ago, or even eight years ago, when Trayvon Martin was killed. More people are paying attention. People are fed up –– not just black people –– with a system that continually rewards the haves, and punishes the have nots. Amazon made billions of dollars during a pandemic while people are being laid off. That doesn't resonate well with people who want to feed their families and who want financial independence. They cannot get ahead, save for retirement, put their kids through college, they can't do the normal things that are a part of the American Dream. We are robbing millions of people of the American Dream in this country, and they are fed up. I’m glad about it. It’s time to root out the people who have been upholding the system.

____


Now on this essay,  I have tried to reach out to the author, but with no response.  I asked her this question:  If black students cannot learn from white educators then should be have color based education and in turn all white people go through bias training and in turn all curriculum taught, discipline established that explains all the ways a person can be different in behavior regardless of color when their extrinsic circumstances are either vastly different or equally the same.  And to say that a student of color cannot learn from a Teacher of another color then how is that teaching tolerance, acceptance for either?  


What this woman neglects to mention is that in order to actually test this theory we would have to establish a lab testing scenario.  So we establish a classroom with two students and we factor in with the assumptions that a white 8 year old boy and a black 8 year old boy come from similar homes environments, two parents earning a living wage, have siblings, have decent home in a descent neighborhood with little crime, parks etc, have access to healthy food and established meal schedules, sleep regularly, have health care and of course child care available after school In addition  have excellent after school activities that encourage play, cooperation, learning and whatever other type of study - secular or non - that the family engages in. Then using that parameter, that all things are equal, observe the Teacher in his/her engagement, assessment and of course instruction to the same two boys and prove she/he is a racist or not.  Yes?  No? What is it?  Then all children regardless of color must have at least two, three or no Teachers of their color or not their color and share their language, their religion, their background, their history and of course know all the narratives of the many children they teach every year and this is consistently the same every year, correct? And this is how they will learn, a panoply of Educators speaking multiple languages, have multi cultural backgrounds, have varying sexualities, faiths, and be diverse in every sense of the word. They will never go hungry, go without, have enough money, never have struggles, have pain, have a life that will affect them and everyone will just get along.  Where the fuck is this place?

I see, to understand Black people and Black Culture I have to be black.  Good to know. So teaching students I must share at least 90%, 100%, 50% of their culture in order to be effective at my job?  To understand a child's propensity for storytelling versus disruption must mean I have the ability to know my students, understand their personalities and their problems and their history and clearly it seems to assume from your essay I don't, so that must mean I am stupid. How am I a Teacher then? Oh wait I see your funding comes from the Great White Daddy, Bill Gates and his Bride, two people who have never taught in Public Schools, Bill who never went to one, let alone finish College, and don't send their children to public schools.  I see how they know what to do and how to do it.  Remember the Common Core? Is that still a thing? That was supposed to take the bait out of the race and make it common.  Worked out didn't it?

Some issues you are right on the money and that is the real problem - money or the lack thereof.  If you really want to address these problems let's look at funding and how to finance the programs we need to make these changes and in turn pay Educators a living wage commensurate with the demands you are asking an in turn pay for the training and time required to do such. And instead of bitching have your friend Bill write a big check to fund public education entirely allow Teachers, Families and Administrators work together across the board to fix their community school, and let that be the massive experiment to see if that works.  Not.going.to.happen.

And we are at the gate, the gun fires and we're off.  Or we are not as the race was called due to weather and its a storm brewing.

To understand structural racism, look to our schools
June 28, 2020
By Hannah Furfaro
Seattle Times staff reporter

Education Lab is a Seattle Times project that spotlights promising approaches to persistent challenges in public education. It is produced in partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network and is funded by a grant from the Bill &; Melinda Gates Foundation, Amazon and City University of Seattle.

It’s always time to talk about racial inequity in education.

But the police killing of George Floyd, and coronavirus school closures that may deepen vast opportunity gaps between Black and white students, are driving new conversations about how schools should confront structural racism.

Racial inequity is baked into the nation’s education system in ways big and small. Black children face the most extreme hurdles to academic success.

Within individual classrooms, teachers may mistake a Black preschooler’s chattiness for hyperactivity or bad behavior, instead of recognizing the child’s skillful storytelling abilities. Within public school districts, recruitment and hiring practices tend to leave out Black educators or pay them less than their peers. Higher education has a long history of excluding Black people entirely. Racism and hate crimes persist on many college campuses.

These inequities compound over the years when Black children and adults are in school. Some are insidious, such as false but pervasive cultural messaging that Black students are less capable learners than their peers. Others are overt: K-12 school policies allow students to be arrested on their campuses, and Black students face this fate far more often than others.

Education Lab, a project of The Seattle Times, was founded to examine how such problems are reinforced and to report evidence-based solutions that could help undo them. Here are some of the systemic ways public education creates barriers to learning for Black students.
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Academics

The idea that success comes primarily from hard work minimizes systemic problems many Black children face.

Discrimination and racial bias against Black students begins as early as preschool. Several studies bear this out, including one from last year, in which researchers reported that teachers asked to rate students’ academic abilities scored Black children far below white peers with identical scores. Such implicit bias can have serious negative consequences: Teachers tasked with recommending students for gifted and talented programs, for example, might overlook Black students who would excel. In Seattle, the Black-white divide in such programs is among the nation’s largest.

Black students tend to receive lower scores on standardized math and English tests than most other groups and are underrepresented in advanced courses.

How we got here:

Negative and racist societal messages about Black students’ academic abilities and strengths undercut their views of themselves and can hurt test performance
Educators may not recognize the strengths of Black children, such as strong oral storytelling skills, which standardized tests don’t measure
Gifted and talented programs disproportionately leave out Black students
Black students are more likely to attend schools with inexperienced or low-paid teachers

School climate is also important: Whether Black students feel safe and like they belong, or have adults they trust or who look like them at school, may affect how well they perform on assignments and standardized tests; they are more likely to enroll in honors classes, for instance, if those courses are taught by Black teachers. Seattle Public Schools has created a department devoted to the achievement of Black boys and teenagers, a population officials deem “furthest from educational justice.”

Black and Latino students are also far more likely to attend schools in low-income neighborhoods, which is tied closely to academic achievement, in part because of a lack of resources.

Black students are far less likely to have a teacher, counselor or principal who looks like them during the course of their education compared to white students.

How we got here:

Cyclical problem: Black students don’t see themselves represented at school and avoid the teaching profession
The costs of college can be prohibitive for aspiring Black teachers, keeping enrollment in teacher programs low
Teacher preparation program tests are expensive and may carry cultural biases

Discipline

Zero-tolerance discipline policies, like mandatory suspensions or expulsions for offenses that don’t include violence or drugs, fuel the school-to-prison pipeline. Such policies fall hardest on Black students: In the 2015-16 school year, for instance, Black students nationwide made up about 15 percent of public school students but 31 percent of those referred to police or arrested at school. In Seattle Public Schools last year, Black students made up half of police referrals, but only 14% of the district’s enrollment.

Black preschoolers are about 3.6 times more likely to receive at least one out-of-school suspension than white preschoolers.

How we got here:

Implicit bias among educators that assumes Black children are troublemakers
Adults view Black children as less innocent than white children
Zero-tolerance policies mandate punitive consequences for certain behavior, including minor infractions

Disproportionate rates and severity of discipline begin in preschool and extend over the years of Black children’s education. A few years ago, Education Lab took a close look at how such policies play out in schools across the Puget Sound region. The data was bleak. Discipline varies by district, but Black students were disciplined at disproportionately higher rates across the board.
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Black students are about 5 times more likely than white students to be detained in juvenile justice facilities and are disproportionately sent from juvenile to adult court.

How we got here:

Schools disproportionately suspend and expel Black students
Schools disproportionately refer Black students to the police
Negative relationship cycle between teachers and Black students may escalate to punishment
Zero-tolerance policies push students out of schools for days or weeks each year

The series also examined fixes, such as using in-school suspensions instead of sending children home for long periods, or keeping truant children out of court. King County court officers began using restorative justice instead of traditional prosecution with young people who commit felonies.

Higher Education

Black students face significant barriers that keep them from enrolling in college and ultimately earning a degree. It starts with their K-12 education: If schools fail to prepare them early on, they’re more likely to struggle to get in or possess study habits that allow them to persist and earn a degree. Students who go to school in low-income neighborhoods might not have the standardized test scores required for admission.

Black student enrollment in college is increasing in the U.S., but is still less common than among white students and many other racial and ethnic groups.

How we got here:

K-12 schools may not adequately prepare Black students for higher education
Policy making, such as banning affirmative action, hurts Black enrollment at four-year schools
Financial barriers, such as college application fees and testing fees, affect acceptance rates and ability to secure scholarships
Discriminatory laws and practices have excluded generations of Black students, making the “college tradition” less common among Black families

Black college students face hurdles once they enroll. Some highly selective schools use test scores for admission to certain majors, such as those in the STEM fields, which works to systemically keep out many Black students. Many predominantly white institutions also have a history and culture that makes Black students feel unwelcome.

For Black students who are accepted to college, it’s still a big challenge to complete a college degree.

How we got here:

Black students are more likely to enroll in developmental, or remedial courses, putting them behind their peers, because the K-12 education system failed to prepare them for college
Some campuses have a history or culture that may cause Black students to feel unwelcome
High costs may create extra financial burdens on Black students, who are more likely than white students to leave because of student loan debt

Black students might be excluded from study groups, have a greater chance of experiencing racism on campus or have trouble forging strong connections with faculty members, though some colleges in Washington are striving to make changes by creating programs such as the University of Washington’s Brotherhood Initiative.

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