Sunday, October 22, 2006

Failing Our Children: Get Off Your A## and Stop Being Lazy

I was at parent-teacher night at my daughter's middle school last week, and for the most part, the ignorance was kept at a minimum. However, as I was waiting to speak with my daughter's math teacher, I overheard the conversation he was having with the parents of one of her classmates. Apparently, the boy has an F in math, and had an F in the first reporting period also. I couldn't hear exactly what the mother was saying, but I could tell she was getting indignant with the teacher, and I could tell he was extremely frustrated; while the father sat there quietly, looking disinterested. I felt like smacking the "ish" out of both of them for being so damn ignorant.

Before questions about whether the white teacher was being fair to the black child arise, let me say that this teacher provides the parents with every opportunity to stay informed about their child's progress. Progress reports are sent home weekly; homework assignments are emailed to parents daily (or, if email is not an option, parents can call into the Homework Hotline to get homework assignments); and the teacher is readily available to provide extra one-on-one help to students before and after school.

Why is it that black folks think its okay to just send their kids to school, and do nothing to ensure that their children are performing at their best level? Teachers are there to provide our children with the information they need to be successful. Parents are there to act as advocates for our children to ensure their success. If we don't advocate for our kids, no one else will. We have to ensure that our kids are not only doing their homework, but doing it correctly. That means we have to take the time to check their homework. On any given weeknight, I spend at least 2 hours checking and helping my daughter with her homework.

I understand the difficulty associated with doing this in the many single-parent households in our community, being one of those single parents myself; however, we set our kids up for failure when we don't take an interest in how they are performing at school. This is where the importance of family, or some other support system comes into play. When I was having to work or go to school at night, I was fortunate to have family and friends who helped raise my child, including helping her with her homework.

It was just plain ignorant for that woman to be giving the math teacher a hard time for her son's failing grades. It was even more ignorant for the boy's father to be sittin' there looking like he couldn't care less how his child was doing. Unfortunately for this child, neither one of his parents appears to be engaged in his success, relying solely upon teachers to educate their child. These types of reticent attitudes need to change in order for our kids to avail themselves of the many opportunities presented to them.

By the way, this poor child also has an F in his science class, which I overheard as I was waiting to speak with the science teacher. His parents ought to be ashamed of themselves.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Black Women/White Men

Let me start off by saying that I am sick of the hypocrisy that is exhibited by black men. I recently read an article by a black man in which he admonishes black women who refer to the increasing numbers of black women dating white men as "revolutionary." The article itself is not hypocritical because the writer is consistent -- admonishing both black men and black women who date white people, but it raises some issues that I have with the subject.

The hypocrisy surfaces when black men criticize black women for dating white men, when the black men have either dated white women before (or are married to them), or when they don't consistently offer that same criticism to their brothas who date/are married to white women. I have heard it from black men on a number of occasions, including from black men who are married to white women -- they don't like it when they see a sista with a white guy.

My first response to that is -- WHAT??? My second response is: if so many black men weren't married to/dating white women, maybe there would be more options for sistas to date black men. The writer of the referenced article claims that the numbers of black men married to/dating white women is relatively low (he clearly has never visited Indianapolis, where it appears to be an epidemic); however, even those low numbers have an effect on the ability of sistas to date/marry a black man.

Here are some staggering statistics: generally, there are about 8 black men for every 10 black women, largely due to high rates of infant mortality and homicides. However, when you factor in drug addiction, incarceration and unemployment, the number of eligible (marriageable) black men is reduced to about 5 men for every 10 black eligible women. Yes, 5 black men for every 10 black women!!!

So as my friend would say, MISS ME with your hypocritical attitudes. Although dating white men is not my thing, I don't knock sistas for choosing to date white men rather than sit around and wait for a black man to become eligible.