"I HATE AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH!" K-Shawn yells. She got that sneer on her face she always wears when something is gettin' on her nerve. "I'm tired of MLK! I never want to hear about Rosa Parks again!"
I protest as best I can, but the chorus of boos continues.
"Oh, and that Malcolm X--ugh."
"Sojourner Truth can bite it!"
"And that muthafucka with the gotdamn peanuts 'n shit! George Washington Whatever? No fucking way!"
Ok, so it's regrettable that my students have learned their history and heritage in ways which make them cringe when you bring it up. But their reaction was also quite instructive, and amusing too.
"Ok, I get the point," I finally said. "But we can learn about some other cats you maybe ain't heard of."
"Anyone know John Brown?" (NO) "How about Nat Turner?" (NO) "Stokely Carmichael?" (NO) "Ok, I got some ideas for an African American History month project--but we'll research some folks you likely ain't learnt afore. Guys who kilt people and chopped off heads."
We'll see if they like the more violently inclined abolitionists and civil rights agitators.
Two new students started this week. One, in my homeroom, has yet to show up. His mom came in, however. He got put out his other school for an attempted stabbing. Great. Mom seems nice, though. She's a big Biggie fan and admired my poster. The other is in my 3rd period class. Couldn't get him to say a thing for two days, but then today he started whispering answers to my questions. He's sitting right in front of me, whispering the correct answer to every question. Finally I said "Hey WW2, why you so quiet? I hear you!" and he vigorously shook his head as if to say "I didn't say nothing!" Smart kid, apparently. I did some research and found out he just transferred in from Baltimore County schools. No wonder he's shy and withdrawn. Hell, he's scared shitless I bet! He'll be all right. Some of the tough girls already think he's cute.