• Danny Lemieux

    Helen?

  • suek

    Absent.

  • dianemadeline

    Robin of Berkeley’s post was interestingly timed for me because my staff recently had its first session of staff development based on Courageous Conversations about Race. It is one arrow in the quiver of my school district’s arsenal to address eliminating the achievement gap that exists between white and minority students. I wonder if it would have been an effective program for those teachers and students when Robin was a student in the Bronx.

    What I really wonder is if it is going to have an impact on my staff and how we teach. The program itself makes no bones about race being the predictor of student success/failure. Though people want to include socio-economic status, ESL, and other factors as reasons for the achievement gap, those are smoke screens that prevent us from addressing the real issue, which is race.

    We teachers will do a lot of personal reflection and sharing to illuminate all the ways we make assumptions (discriminate?) due to race. We will be uncomfortable as a result of these conversations, and eventually enlightened.

    I wish we were talking about our students’ home cultures instead of my past experiences. Knowing the behaviours I should expect from a student who recently arrived from a war torn African village would be quite beneficial.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    I would like to protect those, who by no fault of their own can’t protect themselves. And I believe there is no religious or philosophical rule that prevents me from doing so. Even if the costs are high.

    WHen I said the Left is a domestic insurgency here in America, much like the IRA or the insurgents blowing up markets and schools in Iraq, I wasn’t exaggerating. WHy would I. The truth is horrible enough as it is. What parts we know of, at least.

    I can very well understand the fear such felt. But I don’t feel that fear anymore. For one thing, more than half my fear when growing up was a fear of myself, not a fear of bullies. It was the fear of what the teacher would say. It was a fear that I would be perceived as violent, bad, or in need of ‘help’ because I was uncontrolled, like a beast of nature.

    And I even knew I was a peculiarity back then. For example, I was pretty sure most people weren’t afraid of themselves more than they were afraid of bullies. And I have plenty of evidence, now that is, to attest to this fact because many people fought back. They could not tolerate it anymore. But while for them, this was good therapy and it solved some of their problems, their fear alleviated. While my fear did not alleviate, not because people would pick on me more, but because I started seeing myself as the predator. That’s not particularly social in the 90s school environment where aggression and violence was treated as taboo.

    My school experience was not particularly violent. It wasn’t full of thugs or what not. People weren’t mean for the sake of meanness. They weren’t particularly dysfunctional or angry. Most of the tension I felt was internal, not external. Some external happenings occurred, of course, because I was physically weaker and non-athletic, but I had always had a pain threshold far surpassing my peers. Ordinary pain does little to traumatize me or modify my behavior. It is the mental, the social, portion of things.

    I am sure I would have been intimidated by black girls wielding knives or some such back when I was young. I would have been uncertain, scared, felt alone and bereft of hope or aid. But so what. That’s what happens to everyone that hasn’t been given the tools for self-sufficiency and independence through strength. An organism that can’t fight will be prey to those that can. I learned that lesson very early, I assure you. There is no rule of law. There is no justice except what you can bring about with your own two hands.

    In the end, I wasn’t sure I could turn my violent impulses off if I allowed them to change my behavior. Now I am sure. Which means I have no social restrictions or even reasons to limit myself now, except for tactical and legal issues. No longer do I have to worry about what I will become, if I react a certain way to aggressive people. Now I can give full reign to my very violent impulses, which I had as early as 10 years old, because I am certain in my ability to control my output. I feel no fear, because a fear of being hurt was the least of my worries. Now it isn’t a worry at all. Now all I can get is, at most, adrenaline and those fear hormones, which are still very important. As for mental fear, that went out the window.