Category Archives: Civil Rights

The Edupurist Podcast

The “Edupurists” Podcast.

 (Click this link for the new podcast) 

The Edupurist Podcast focuses on education in its purest form, the truth. The Edupurist podcast will shed light on the many issues that affect Black/Brown families. Each episode will focus on changing the narrative by using education as a catalyst for change. The goal is to shed light and love while being super critical of a system that not necessarily designed to uplift Black/Brown students.

8 Black hands Conglomerate.

So, many of you have heard the crew and me on the 8 Black Hands Podcast. The 8 Black hands podcast is when we come together to form Black Voltron in the podcast space. However, currently, we are all in the development stages for our podcast efforts. We will continue to record our 8 Black Hands podcast, but to give you more content, we decided to host individual podcasts under the 8 Black Hands umbrella. So, look out for six other hands and their podcasts coming real soon.

Episode 1- When the See Us.

A lot has been made about the new Netflix series When They See Us. Ava DuVernay did a fantastic job of bringing this to life. The way that she was able to bring truth power speaks volume about her talent. DuVernay is a national treasure, and we should celebrate her as such.

Guest(s).

In this episode, we have two guests. Mr. Terrell Dozier, Dean of Students and Families at the Riverhead Charter School. We also have Mr. Khari Shabazz, a Principal in the Success Academy Network. I was honored to be able to “chop” it up with these fellas regarding pertinent issues that benefit Black/Brown families.

Cinematic Importance.

These performances were as real as it gets. It doesn’t or probably will never bring justice to this situation, but there was power in these portrayals. When thinking about these performances, one person comes to mind; Korey Wise. The actor that played Korey Wise deserves all of the accolades that come with this type of production. He did a fantastic job, P-E-R-I-O-D-T.

Oprah Interview.

Oprah recently had the cast members of “When they see Us” and the Central Park Five. As well she had the victims of the injustice. This interview was powerful and deserved a listen. Below is a clip from the conversation. Kudos to Oprah for bringing much-needed attention to this injustice.

Open Letter to Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig

Why the School Choice Hate?

Dear Dr. Vasquez Heilig, I hope this open letter finds you at your best. I thought about the many different ways to convey this message, and I finally settled on writing you an open letter. I know you’re busy these days, eradicating the privatization of public education, as well as keeping the pressure on charter schools.  Please don’t let me get in the way of your outstanding work, but I do want to understand more about your malcontent for school choice.

Moreover, I have been following your work as the California NAACP chair. Your ideas about school choice have been the catalyst for some strict legislation coming out of California.

All of this legislation seems to be anti-charter and dare I say, Anti-Black people.

I say Anti-Black folks because for years we’ve sat and watched a public school system not built for us continue to trap us (us meaning Black parents). People that have faced historical disenfranchisement should have a choice as to where they send their kids to school. To say anything besides that is admitting that you don’t have your fingers on the pulse when it comes to what is best for our students.

Three Local Branches Disavow.

Recently, three branches of the local NAACP in California have expressed their desire to contest your stance outwardly. Do you think this is a coincidence? Were these branches brought of by privatizers? I’m asking all of the questions that will be asked by a pro-traditional public school conspiracy theorists.

To be clear, I have no beef with people that choose to send their kids to traditional public schools, magnet schools, religious schools, private schools, etc. I believe that it is ultimately the choice of the parents to decide where their child attends school. No one else can make that choice for parents.

I don’t want to judge your stance without 100% understanding why you’ve taken such a position. Is there research beyond your thoughts on private money in charter schools? I want to make sure that I’m not missing anything. I’m coming from a peaceful place in my open letter. Generally, I want to understand how anyone could think that taking choice away from parents could be a win for parents.

Opinions are My Own.

Finally, I’m not a paid blogger. All of my thinking is original thoughts. I think it’s essential to be transparent when you seek understanding from someone. No one is trying to change your mind about charter schools. Your beliefs are your own. I want clarity on why you think your opinion on what’s best for Black folks is the only way.  I’m sure if we talk we’ll be able to find some common ground.

Maybe you’ve run schools. If so, I’d love to visit those schools and learn about best practices that work for Black and Latinx students.

I’m hoping that there is more to you than just theory. I’m looking for the substance. I know it exists, and even if I have to search hard to find it, I’m willing to do so.

Let’s Chop it Up.

Again, I hope this open letter finds you at your best. I’m willing to fly to wherever you are to sit in a room so that we can learn from each other. I’m extending an open invitation for you to visit my charter school in NY the next time that you are here. I am requesting that you join an episode of our podcast the 8 Black hands. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get us to a point to where you can start advancing public educational opportunities for Black and Latinx students instead of playing “Thanos” in regards to school choice options for California parents. Whatever it takes!

Dear White People

Dear White People,

Sometimes I am compelled to reach out to the rational side of white people. In doing so, I am either fooled or pleasantly surprised. Hopefully, today ends up with me being surprised.  It is my hope that this creates healthy dialogue for change.  Change begins with you deleting the word Nigger and any derivative of the word from your vocabularies.

Background.

I went to school and played pee-wee football in a very diverse town, Covington, La. The city, like most towns in the South, is separated by train tracks. On one side of the tracks, you can see extreme poverty. While on the other side of the tracks, you can see an affluent, thriving, up and coming city. Some may argue that these types of barriers no longer exist in the town. For those that make that argument, I ask that you speak with the people on the poverty side before making any final decisions on your thoughts.

Late Night/Early Morning Trolling.

As I often do, given my busy days and sometimes restless nights, I found myself catching up on the lives of folks via their Facebook posts. Sometimes my inspiration comes from people from my hometown stepping up to the plate and accepting their responsibility as parents and citizens.

Currently, its college season, so all of the high school kids are disclosing where they will be attending school in the fall. For me, that’s an exciting time, I know its “Lame,” but it’s the little things.

To My Surprise.

I ran up on a post by someone I played pee-wee football with when we were younger. A cool white dude that can relate to the “struggle.” Meaning, he’s a very involved dad according to his pictures on facebook, and when we have politically inspired conversations, he’s usually the referee between the far left and the far right. I’d always admired him for that. So when I did my “Facebook friend purge” he remained as he’s never exhibited signs of being a racist person.

The Heartbreak.

 

Well, heartbreak might be an oversell, you get my point. It happened after seeing my friend repost a Meme, and it had the N-word in it. I was stuck for a good five to ten minutes. I couldn’t believe my former teammate would post something as racially insensitive as he did. Initially, I was pretty burned which is why I took to my blog. But, in doing so, I thought it best to use this instance as a teachable moment for other white people that insist on using the word “Nigger” casually like they have ownership over the word.

The Reality.

White people should never use the word Nigger, Nigga, Niggaz, or any derivative of the word. Black folks shouldn’t use the word either. You’ve heard the term of endearment argument. We have also listened to the Nigga/Nigger argument. Any case for the usage of the word is moot at this point. It’s a painful memory of what your ancestors did to ours. Not to mention, America is not morally sound or just for Black and Latinx folks at current. Racists systems and strategies still permeate our society.

Concluding thoughts.

While I don’t wish to isolate my former teammate for his actions, I do want to remind white people of how wrong and hurtful this word is to black folks. We continue to see tone-deaf behavior from kids wearing blackface and all sorts of things that are racist I ask that you have tough conversations with each other. This is where the change begins. I can write all day about how offensive it is for you to use the N-word, and mimic our culture with caricatures, etc., but at the end of the day, if you don’t see it as wrong, it becomes a perpetual cycle.

Assistant Principal Done Lost His Damn Mind!

Assistant Principal Done Lost His Damn Mind.

Okay, I’m speaking solely as a father here.  In a recent bout against Black popular culture, an Assistant Principal of a school in Texas decided the best way to approach a uniform violation was to use a permanent marker to color in a students hair.

That’s right, permanent marker.  This was an Assistant Principal’s solution to a student coming in with a design in his hair.

I couldn’t imagine my approach if my son came home with a permanent marker in his hair.  I honestly don’t know if I’d be more upset with my son than I would be with the Assistant Principal that done lost his damn mind.

I’d be upset with my son because he didn’t ask to call me directly so that I could give him perspective on the situation.  But honestly speaking, these are the unfortunate circumstances that black and Latinx students face daily.  We put our kids in schools with folks that are not culturally informed, and these folks continue to degradate our children.

The Assistant Principal Has Rights.

Some folks are going to come to the aid of this Assistant Principal.  They’ll say he was following policies and procedures.  If he were a revered AP in his district, he’d find a new job in no time.  That’s how the system works, recycling administrators.

When will this constant assault on black culture end?  Our kids deserve better than this.  These strict policies outlined by districts don’t create a safe learning environment.  It does, however, develop a life of servitude.  When you treat kids like they are in prison, they’ll become prisoners.  And I don’t know one parent that is willingly sending their kid to school to become a felon.  Yet by having these “whip cracking” reactions to these culturally unjust policies creates a school to prison pipeline.

Dialogue That Disrupts the Lack of Cultural Acuity.

The only real way to address these types of issues is to create dialogue.  It goes back to training educators on how to engage families.  It also calls for educators to respect other people’s children.  Whenever I engage in dialogue with my students, I always approach it thinking about how I would want an educator to engage with my children.  By incorporating this mindset, it helps me to make sound decisions.  In the rare occasions that I question my choices, I’ll call a colleague for advice.  Before I make any final decision, I’m calling that students parents.  Why?  Because as a parent I would expect a phone call from an educator making a decision about my child.

The adults in this instance dropped the ball.  Now it’s up to this family to help this child put this incident behind him.  It’ll be hard for Black and Brown parents to trust educators in this district.  If I were in this district as a parent, I would ask for a policy review.  As parents, we have to understand our rights.  This type of incident is exactly why I support a parent’s union.  The students should have a union as well.  If educators are offered protection to do hideously stupid things to our families, parents and students deserve equal protection to ensure they are afforded protection as well.

Black Lives Mean Nothing to Y’all

Black Lives Mean Nothing to Y’all.

Black Lives mean nothing to white people and I’m sick of it. A teenager in Broward County gets wrecked by police officers, all because he picked up a phone. Some will say it’s probably a back story on the situation, and we shouldn’t rush to judge.

We can sit up and make excuses for the why? At this point my feelings are, the “why” has been discussed ad nauseam.

How much more discussion needs to take place before we can readily admit that some police officers are ill-equipped to police Black and Latinx communities?

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Race as a Pretext.

It seems as if its a back story on every single issue that highlights race in the United States. The truth is Black lives have never mattered much in our country. As you walk yourselves through the progressive history of our country, minorities have always faced extermination in the sense that their lives haven’t mattered to white folks.

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Change.

Change starts with a conversation. But when communications are exhausted what’s the next step. If the next step is more conversations that’s fine, make sure you are having these conversations with your kids because these types of talks could be a matter of life and death.

 

Black Folks Y’all Are on Your Own!

Origination of Black Folks Y’all Are on Your Own!

I can’t take total credit for this. The title of this blog post was actually an underlying theme of the 8blackhands podcast. Dr. Cole, our esteemed “podmate” has been saying this for a while. It seems as though with everything that we discuss in education, Black Folks Y’all are on your own!

What this means is, people will do their damnedest to point out to you that a problem exists in education, but little to no effort will go into providing you with solutions on how to navigate through the nuances of the said problem.

The More Things Change.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. If I were to ask an old-timer, do you think that things have changed from the Civil Rights Movement? I guess that 8/10 would say yes.

The tenor in the country is lighter, there are fewer forms of public violence against minorities, but are we looking at things from the correct lens?

Let’s Analyze the picture to the left of the screen. I’d like to pay particular attention to the Black Incarceration data set. We all can concede that Black and Latinx folks are overly criminalized in American society.

There are at least two Democratic nominees for President that are vying for the presidency based on criminal justice reform. They identified the problem, “Black Incarceration,” and they created a platform to change it, “criminal justice reform.” It seems simple enough. But I definitely won’t hold my breath for the outcome.

When will Educating Black Kids Change?

Another problem that we have identified is Black and Latinx students are failing in K-12 education in the United States. It’s actually quite awful how much they have fallen behind their counterparts.

Meanwhile, racism and prejudice continue to permeate the discourse in determining why? In the NYC debate over how to better integrate its specialized high schools, Asian parents have established a campaign in which they are saying “Black and Latinx parents don’t care about their child’s education.” When asked to provide proof of such, and I was advised to go to any NYC library.

I was then told that in the library you’d find Asian kids studying, but you wouldn’t find black kids doing the same. Therefore it was equated that “Blacks and Latinx folks don’t care about their children’s education.

Navigating Through the Nuance.

We’ve established that Black Folks are on their own in K-12 education. Rather than walk you through the solutions of how to navigate through the nuance, I’ve decided to make this blog interactive.

If you have ideas as to how to solve the educational woes from Black and Brown folks, we want to hear your solutions. You can reach out to us @8Blackhands1 on twitter. Tonight’s episode, we will talk in debt with Dr. Cole about: Black Folks Y’all are on your own! So stay tuned.