RE: Position Paper
TO: Dr. James I. Cash, I. M. Terrell, 1965
FROM: Eddie Griffin, I. M. Terrell, 1964
Thursday, August 09, 2007
For one-out-of-every-three black male children, there is a straight line from birth to death, from public school to prison. It is a straight line to hell, from not being understood, not being respected, low expectation, snares and trips into drug and alcohol addiction, failed parental relationship, unemployed and unemployable, cast-outs and outcasts and outlaws and gangsters, to be somebody… to be something in life, other than what people expect him to be. Nobody expects a black boy in America to succeed.
First, there is the great fear of black boys and black men.
They clutched their purse when you walk by, said Dr. James I. Cash, the Fort Worth native and TCU African-American TCU basketball star who went on to become one of the founding fathers of IT (Information Technology). Dr. Cash recalled this experience in Boston during the time he was serving as director of Harvard School of Business.
The lesson: You are still a Negro. You are still suspicious-looking in the eyes of some. They distrust your integrity. They secretly fear you, because you are big, burly, and black. They give you no respect and esteem, not even if you are a black doctor and father of Information Technology.
This little known great black man serves as an example of white stigmatization. It happened to Dr. Cash, and it is still happening today in our schools.
To paraphrase the late Ann Richards: “They can’t help it. They were born with a silver bullet in their brains.” Yep, about as clean a brainwashing as a child can get. They grow up with a Disney World mentality, with stigmas and stereotypes embedded in their subliminal. [Gee Whiz! I didn’t know that.]
The first thing that comes crashing down in the world of a black boy is Disney World. Duh! In its place, they create Cartoon World.
In a parallel universe, there is Teacher’s World. Somewhere is a gap in the Theory of Learning. Different students in Cartoon World have different learning styles. In a hierarchical society, it’s all about getting over, getting to the top. [Can’t get there with Mrs. Teacher.]
Teacher’s World rationalizes its existence by thinking, “The world needs me, more than I need the world. Mine is willful service for the common good of our society. [It’s the parents’ fault that 50% black male children drop out of school. It’s a lack of good parenting that causes them to act disruptively].”
Fire ‘em all, I say
Let the real teachers come forward and teach. We are impatient with failure. And, the statistical records of the public education exude failure. There must be accountability, across the board, in publicly funded schools across the United States.
What type of teachers do we need?
Instead of having police officers roaming the hallway, looking for and expecting trouble, why not have the same officer teaching a class in Civics, so that children might understand civil behavior, responsibilities, and social and legal expectations and consequences?
To know the rule is a prerequisite to obeying rule. But nobody is willing to teach law and the consequences of disorder. Nobody cares to establish the bounds. All Teacher World wants is rules and regulations backed by law enforcement. All Teacher World wants is peace and social control in order to make a salary. But nobody wants to teach Law & Order, Etiquettes & Ethics, as we black children learned under the old segregated school system.
This is why we want our children back, especially if they are a disciplinary problem in our public school system. We have a right to ask for them back if the school system does not offer them a viable future. The buck stops here, because here opens the door to the criminal justice system and the prison-industrial complex.
Case in Point: Prison Industry
A small Texas prison town becomes the center of a world-wide scandal when an investigation revealed that prison officials were sexually abusing children in the custody of their care. The corruption and abuse of powers and sexual enslavement was so widespread Governor Rick Perry had to literally Fire Everybody, from the top of the Texas Youth Commission’s board of directors, executive officers, and much of the rank and file, down the line.
The Legislators also mandate the release of 473 youthful inmates who had been held beyond their punishment sentence- some as sex slaves for a warden and his deputy.
When the Texas Legislature passed the TYC reform package, it called for mass releases from incarceration and closing down some of the juvenile facilities.
The small Texas prison town cried to their legislators about the number of jobs that would be lost. Local merchants would lose the inflow of commercial traffic from urban visitors. The local economy would lose its pro rata share of tax dollars based on population census. Plain and simply, the local citizens in the small prison town needed the prison in order for it to survive. But in order to keep the prison, they need “offenders” to populate them. [Some parts of rural Texas need prisoners like plantations need slaves.]
Architects, engineers, and constructors who design and build prisons oppose any leniency for juvenile offenders. Their desire seems to be in keeping the prison population growing, and to keep building more lucrative prisons.
The district attorneys and their association even challenged some of the 473 inmates to be released. And, some tries to create mass hysteria by prophecying an increase in crime. At issue is Self-Justification.
The case of ShaQuanda Cotton, a 14-year old freshman, shoves a teacher’s aide while trying to get inside the school building to the nurse’s office “before time”. [No child should be denied immediate access to medical attention.]
This child is charged by the District Attorney with “assault upon a public servant”. She was sentence to an indefinite term, up to her 21st birthday. This is a typical sentence in the State of Texas for black juvenile offenders, while some sentences are commuted to their 18th birthday. This is why there are a disproportionate number of black juveniles inside the Texas prison system.
The DA made a conscientious choice to bring about the charge of “assault”. The court accepted the charge, prima facie. [A rational judge would have looked at juvenile behavior and reasoned that this was a child, who thought as a child and understood as a child- he would have adjudicated it as “childish”.]
Here is the use of a scatter gun to kill a gnat. The Appeals Court upheld the conviction of ShaQuanda Cotton for “assault”. [This legitimizes injustice by discretion of the court.]
If the ShaQuanda Cotton case had occurred under the ole segregated system, childish behavior was dealt with, corporally. And, then the teacher’s aide would have been admonished not to deny a child access to medical care, under any circumstances.
We Want Our Children Back- The Consequence for Non-Compliance
We have made our proposition clear. The first time a child is expelled from class, sent to the principal’s office, and not allowed back in class, we want that student back.
If the principal attempts to override our demand, we will hold him or her for any subsequent disciplinary reports against that child. And, it the pattern continues, we will hold the superintendent responsible.
Every case denied is a case more to the composition of a class, and another case for the Civil Rights Division of the Education Department to consider.