Teach Dem Chirlin'

Five days a week I invest a lot of emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual energy into teaching in a Suspension Site. I'm on the front line witnessing the heartbreaking battle that today's poor, young black and Latino children face. It's not a pretty picture. I worry about the state of affairs for black folk in this country. Especially when so many of us are born to single mothers and being institutionalized and labeled as criminals from elementary school. 

I've had students tell me, "What's the point of trying when you know nobody wants you around. Not your mother, not your father, and definitely not the cops". Or "Yeah I take a gun to school because its not safe to walk through my block without one". Or "Smoking everyday gets me right to take on the day". My children (students) are depressed, spiritually barren, and carry to much of the world on their shoulders. People love to place blame . . . on society, parents, teachers, the list is extensive. Bottomline: Everyone must take responsibility for their actions!

Just because you were raised in the PJs doesn't mean you have to be a reflection of your community. Be the change you want to see in the world. 


My heart goes out to the McPhail family who lost their son to senseless violence. And to the family of Troy Davis, who last evening lost his life to lethal injection, I pray for your strength. In the words of one of my favorite bloggers, Field Negro, "What a country. Casey Anthony and OJ Simpson are alive, Charles Manson is alive, and Troy Davis is dead.  *shaking head*" It ain't right . . . it ain't right. Today in class I hope to have a conversation about the Troy Davis case with my kids. I want them to realize how dangerous it is being a young Black/Latino male living in the Hood. Scratch that living period. They are locking us up with a quickness. These kids have no fear. They don't seem to care that just by looking and dressing the way they do they "fit the description". 


When I thought I was having a boy, I began a journal I titled the "Lessons I will teach my Black son". Yeah it's that serious and ya'll know I'm extra!

My biggest fear in life is to have to raise a son. I didn't live through, slavery or Reconstruction or during Jim Crow but I am definitely going to raise them with some of the sentiments of those times. Many will disagree and say in the twenty-first century how could you think to raise a child to be this way. Listen, shit is real! If you don't have a healthy fear of the cops and the "justice" system and you feel that the system is in place for you, WRONG ANSWER. We don't have "the complexion for the protection" {Paul Mooney}. So back to my journal... I made a lot of notes and read a lot of books on the industralized prison system and the history of law inforcement in this country which lead me to make a list of the survival skills I want my children to live by. Check it out. Oh and if you are reading this please leave me some comments. Woudl love to here your thoughts on the manner.

Here were a few of the "lessons" I want my children to eternalize:

  1. If you are in your bed/home for the night and someone calls you to go out STAY your ass in the house and tell them you'll check them tomorrow. So many things happen to people that once said, "I wasn't even suppose to be here. I was doing something else."
  2. Choose your friends as if your life depended on it. Once people reveal their true essence to you believe it. As my mother always says, people reveal their true nature at the beginning of your relationship with them. Don't ignore red flags. "All youth must be wary of the company they keep. They should be taught that if something doesn't look or feel right, they should leave immediately." (Source)
  3. Being part of the "cool" crowd is over-rated. 
  4. Ignorance is real! Common sense ain't common! 
  5. Being a "snitch" can save a life. Never be afraid to tell when you know something is immoral, criminal, or unjust.
  6. If you hear loud voices or are in a situation where people begin to get loud, LEAVE! Why? Simple, first comes yelling, next comes violence. Don't get caught up in wanting to see a fight or what's going to "pop off" {my NYC lingo}.
  7. "Stay away from guns altogether. Don't own one, and don't hang out with anyone who does. Children have absolutely no reason to possess a gun. If, for some reason, you wind up with a gun in public, NEVER point it at a police officer." Source
  8. " If you're stopped or otherwise find yourself in the presence of an officer, obey every command. Don't talk trash. Don't show attitude. Don't make sudden motions. Never place your hands where they can't be seen. Never give a false name or any other false information. Memorize the officer's name and the vehicle number. Your ultimate goal is to get home alive so you can get a lawyer if you need one." Source
  9. "Never carry contraband of any kind on your person or in your vehicle".Source
  10. "Always carry proper ID on your person and proper documents in your vehicle". Source
  11. "Don't hang out where police regularly cruise. If you do, you're asking for trouble. Police cruise trouble spots".Source
  12. "Don't duck and hide when a police car appears".Source
  13. "If you're being arrested, don't resist and multiply your problems. You can't win by resisting".Source
  14.  "Put the names of your parents, an attorney, your principal, a teacher, a close friend, a role model, a mentor, a bail bondsman and others on speed dial in your cell phone".Source
  15. "Get to know at least one officer by name in the police department".Source
  16. "Stay away from peers who hate the police. These trash-talking friends are nothing but trouble waiting to happen". Source
  17. "Never forget your are a black person in America! Meaning don't wait for your "Nigger Wakeup Call" before you begin to remember how much of the word views you.

A lot of the problems young folks have is simply they are left unsupervised way too much. I used to complain about how overprotective Daddy and Mommy Haskett were, but now I thank them.