The Educational Problem With the Kente Cloth Performance.

As a former principal, I fully appreciate the power of positive symbols. And so, I am not questioning the sincerity (hearts) of our Kente adorned politicians, or even their right to wear the attire of any one of the many American beautiful collage of cultural attires, some representing groups who are daily disrespected and denigrated by the present occupant of 1600 Black Lives Matter Way. My concern with the recent ‘Kente wearing performance’ is that it is tragically symptomatic of what always happens in public education, where rhetoric, form, and appearances are offered to the Black community, in place of real educational learning quality substance and authentic change for the children of that community.

Recently in NYC a great deal of ‘storm and drama’ was created by the introduction of that politically hot trigger word, ‘integration’. And unfortunately, NYC’s Asian students (and their communities) were unfairly maligned and castigated for doing nothing wrong except following the rules and conditions that were established in the past and were actually created to help white students and not Asian students gain access to the then 3 academic specialized high schools!

I along with several others informed whoever would listen that in reality, the NYCDOE had complete (total) control over the admissions policies of the majority of ‘specialized high schools’ in the city, as well as the many specialized high school programs (inside of schools), and those high schools with a special admissions process. The NYCDOE could have enacted major, sweeping, dramatic and profound access changes (for Black and Latino children) at 10X the population of the three specialized high schools that formed the center of the integration controversy; and this could have been done without seeking the permission of any state or local legislature (or emotionally beating up on Asian students).
And further, the NYCDOE has the authority to redesign a present high school or design a brand new school that could then essentially become: a Brooklyn Technical High School #2, Bronx Science H.S. #2 or Stuyvesant High School #2; and no legislative body can stop the NYCDOE from doing this.

The best-ignored solution, of course, is to ‘integrate’ great school leaders, quality instructional practices, adequate materials, supplies and equipment, and high expectations and efficacy into any school a Black or Latino child attended; thus properly preparing them for the SHSAT or any standardized exam they will face in life.

In terms of that important ‘Integration’ ‘pipe-line’ to gain access to a high performing high school, also known as K-8 gifted and talented programs. We proved in (2000-2003) Community School District 29 Queens (CSD29Q); that there is no legal or regulatory ‘cap’ on the number of gifted and talented programs that can exist in a local school district (e.g. NYCDOE). In CSD29Q we placed (without consulting the central board) additional G&T programs in a geographical and performance cross-section of schools in the district, thus giving more students who were on and above academic grade and performance levels the ability to receive the rigorous and challenging academic work that met their needs. It is my hope, that out of a very tragic situation for the Floyd family, a legacy of a national and local political action hunger will grow for the realization of serious and not superficial change.

I think the common cry theme we are hearing from all over this nation and the world; is that people want real change, not symbolic gestures. It’s been a ‘nice ride’ for a Democratic Party whose, let’s just be honest, total credibility and legitimacy with Black people is wholly dependent on the Republican Party performing (‘acting the fool’) in the role of first-class bigots and racist; but, that’s not a sound long-term organizing and mobilizing strategy.

Further, the “just vote your troubles away” Black leaders have taken some serious (but not fatal) hits as of late. For example: Black New Yorkers overwhelmingly voted in a ‘northern liberal’ city, for an alleged ‘progressive’ mayor; and yet clearly the NYC police department is not properly operating under civilian control and seems to be immune (inoculated by the various police unions), from adopting any of the modern enlightened and effective policing methods. We only need to look at the Philippines to see what results from a para-military police force not being under civilian and judicial control.

I suspect that the Republican’s racist and bigotry posture won’t change even if Trump is removed. Full disclosure: I’m voting not so much for Biden, but to remove a serious existential threat to the well-being and safety of many citizens in this nation and the world. But I am only one vote, and if I were the Democratic National Committee (DNC) I would be careful and concerned for that day when the Republican bigotry ‘pass’ alone won’t grant the DNC access to the ‘collective black cookout’.

The DNC better start thinking about some real and substantial change actions (not Republican lite projects) quickly. Don’t just show-up but show-out with some meaningful generational improvement economic and educational* change initiatives. And importantly, don’t keep believing that you can also just show-up, year-after-year thinking you’ll get into the collective black cookout by simply wearing Ghanaian, Kenyan, Nigerian, Senegalese, Egyptian, etc. outerwear. I think Black people are beginning to say: “Come real or don’t come at all!”

*would require that the DNC end their unquestioning and unprincipled alliance with teacher’s unions!

The Ahmaud Arbery story: I am so tired of American racism hiding behind Donald Trump.

I am so tired of Donald Trump being portrayed as an aberration, a ‘deviation from the norm’, not-Republican, not-a-true-conservative, not-Mitch McConnell, not Susan Collins (aka “adults in the room”). That he is not the pre-trump era: attempts to dismantle and limit the expansion of healthcare to the poor, of blocking Obama judges, GOP “southern strategy”, Black voter suppression, convincing and manipulating poor/working-class whites to act in their racially-bigoted and not best economic interest, GOP gerrymandering to politically disenfranchise Black citizens; that he is not what America is truly about. His “style” is a little different, but he is in essence every bit of the above pre-trump GOP behaviors and he is very much American…

I am so tired of the news media, professional political thinkers and the cable news ‘talkers’ not recognizing that even a 40+% (plus those large numbers who for a lot of reasons won’t publicly declare) endorsement, support, encouragement, ‘likability’ rating, for someone like a Trump signals a defeat for what people pretend America stands for. Accounting for a 1% standard racist-nutcase cohort in any society; his favorability count is 39% too many people for a nation that wraps itself in the “Liberty And Justice For All” slogan…

I am so tired of a gutless and rudderless Democratic Party, who couldn’t find their way to becoming a ‘real’ opposition party if they were standing in the middle of it (and Yes we must ‘hold-our-collective-noses’ and vote for Joe Biden in the same way we try to save as many children as possible in public school systems that are designed and operating to destroy them; until we gather the collective courage and political will to make a real and meaningful change of those systems)…

I am so tired of talking and listening to white liberals/progressives/independents/conservative “never-trumpers”; who want to lay all of America’s ugly national commitment to the sins of bigotry and discrimination, on the shoulders of Donald Trump. Their political-operational slogan should be “Defeat all Versions of Trump and all American Expressions of Racism & Bigotry!”…

I am so tired of the unbelievable multiple ways (violence, poverty, housing, healthcare, public education, another young black person, law enforcement, ……..) that a young Black life and body can be destroyed alive or dead…

I am so tired of the pre-COVID-19, during Covid-19, (and most likely) post-COVID-19 horrible racial mistreatment of Black people in every area of the pandemic, from healthcare to the policing of the safe-distancing regulations…

I am so tired of professional educators (many who are black) pretending on both the social and news media platforms that this school-closure “distance-learning” thing is actually working well; when there are so many reports from all over the nation that a large number of all-ready underperforming students in the most educationally underserved (read: Black, Latino, poor white kids) zip codes are essentially and totally “missing in distance-learning action”…

I am so tired of professional educators (especially the phenotypically Black ones and the ethically/culturally identifiable Latino ones), who incredulously behave as if “back to normal” Public Education in any form, was in any way working effectively for the overwhelming majority of Black and Latino students…

I am so tired of people with good steady incomes, stock and investment options, nice places to live, plenty of good food to eat and first-rate health insurance, who then demand that Joe Biden basically becomes Bernie Sanders or that he pick a black vice-presidential running mate, or they will join the ‘never-Biden’ club. First, there is nothing Biden can be or do to make them happy; because (full-disclosure like me) 4 more years of Trump won’t hurt them personally; even as those additional 4 years will inflict a great deal of pain and suffering on people who don’t share their (our) privileged lifestyle of having a choice of living well and comfortable under Trump…

I am so tired that once again Black so-called Americans find themselves pleading for the fundamental right of not being killed by any random white citizen or law enforcement agent while: picnicking, walking, jogging, driving, standing, breathing…

I am so tired of fake-progressive white elected officials who automatically feel obligated to apologize to one group for inconveniencing their right to ignore the social-distancing statutes, while they ignore the pain of other groups who are violently over-policed for minor violations of those same safe-distancing violation…

I am so tired of the coward and cowered (with a few exceptions) black elected, religious, and civic leaders who allow the mistreatment and denial of Black people and Black business in the governmental response to this Covid-19 pandemic. Why won’t they do something beyond simply asking for “Black casualty reports”…

I am so tired of living 69 years of perpetual and unrelenting tiredness…

I finally found an analysis of the Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign I like…

And it could not come at a better time, as I watch the psychopathic narcissist in charge of the nation call on his MAGA-Militia to rebel, resist and disobey those Democratic (DNC) governors who are desperately trying to save their citizens during this terrible pandemic; these are indeed very dangerous and deadly times.

Once again I am reminded of why I so admire Noam Chomsky and his expansive use of history and linguistics to eloquently simplify the complex, while at the same time critiquing the intellectual laziness of those whose ideology is based in the practiced simplification of some very complex conditions. He makes a strong social-scientifically based case for voting for Joe Biden; and his reasons harbor no illusions about either Biden or the politically ineffective DNC.

I have always believed that you can’t seriously serve the people if you don’t seriously love the people; and love (including agape) is one of those things that should force you out of your comfort zone. And make no mistake about it, those on the left who believe that many of us are ‘bamboozled’ by the DNC, are themselves bamboozled by their reckless self-righteous belly gazing rhetoric. It’s never okay for the people we purport to serve to suffer and die, to make a political point or to send a message.
Chomsky makes it very clear that the (my words) feckless, incompetent and pathetic excuse for an “opposition party”, the Democrats, is in word and practice a weak champion for the desperately working and unemployed poor; and Black Americans don’t rank high in the category of their actual (not verbal) concerns.
The DNC operational standard is to simply appear sane, decent, not be aggressively racist and bigoted, as their ‘philosophical-working-ceiling’ is to limit the Republican’s ability to inflict severe damage on humanity and the planet. And if Biden and the DNC believe that large numbers of those voters (some who risk their lives in Wisconsin) went to the polls because they wanted to vote for him, and not against the total death and destruction of the nation and world, then Biden and the DNC are in for a very rude surprise in November.

But beyond the very sound and thoughtful commentary; another reason I like Chomsky’s deconstruction of the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign is that unlike so many other reflections, he affirms the intelligence, wisdom and political sophistication of Black voters. The popular news media and cable-tv talking-class view is to always default to a dismissal position of Black DNC primary voters (e.g. “they were fooled by the DNC establishment” or, “they know and like Joe”), reveals that there is a very deep viral strain of racism that is very much alive and is persistently plaguing our nation. This ‘racism of low expectations’ is alive, widespread and working in our public schools; but it also extends to the parents of those same school children. And unfortunately, these racial low expectations feelings crosses many different political ideologies (far left-liberal-moderate-conservative-far right); and dare I say, is even promoted (albeit often subtly) by some African-Americans themselves.

Finally, Dr. Chomsky also presents a dire picture of what it will look and feel like if we are subjected to what he calls the “malignancy” of Trump’s second term. Utilizing historical models, he points out how the ‘talking left but acting right’ crowd can dangerously incline toward a tendency to act in the role of being the progressive-purity police; he rightfully calls them out to at least be honest and openly say that they are for the reelection of Trump.

Here is the Noam Chomsky Interview:
https://www.facebook.com/theinterceptflm/videos/861606717583845/