Comments: Civil Rights Legacy

Bryan you make an excellent point on this. Please allow me to take it a step further. I've been a substitute teacher in a private school where "Academic Excellence" is the message, method and mission. But, many young black males (myself included) come from places where to be respected, you must be "hard" or "gangsta." I was fortunate because my parents saw the value of education. They made it unacceptable to be a bad student or even mediocre. That leads to my next point.

Many of the issues that plagued the black community in the 1980s and 1990s are bearing their fruit now in high school classrooms around the country. Gang Violence. Teen Pregnancy. Drug Use. The babies of those times are the high school students of today. The parents of these students are just now begining to claw their way out of the quagmire of poverty and cultural marginalization.

What's the fix? Start with parental involvement. Make the commitment to being a high school teacher and economically viable option. (Pay y'all what you're worth...and then some!) Finally, it comes down to money. We have to convince those with the cash to spend it on the future of this nation. Otherwise......

Posted by Jason Hall at October 24, 2003 01:31 PM

I hadn't made the generational connection between the 80's social struggles and this generation. Thanks.

Also, the common wisdom is it takes three generations for families to pull themselves out of cycles of violence and poverty. Maybe it's just a matter of time and we just need to keep pluggin' along.

Here's to hoping so.

Posted by Bryan at October 24, 2003 03:26 PM

It has been 9 years since I first started teaching and a good deal of my shinny idealism has worn down but I still believe that as long as there are people like us who care we can make a difference one person at a time. It can be defeating to even think about taking on the task of changing a society but affecting the life of one person is a much more attainable goal. Mentoring is the key.

Posted by Denise at October 26, 2003 04:49 PM