Thursday, May 08, 2008



Usually, there is no crime I would think of committing primarily because of my absolute fear of jail. My mottos on the subject tend to "I'm too pretty for prison" or "too fine to do time". However, with that said, I would probably be a big girl's bitch in the big house if this were my grandson. There is no way I would have enough composure to be interviewed by CNN nor would he be available for interviews. The only thing he would be available for is the ass beatings waiting for him. In front of the cops. And yes I know that's my rage talking. But what other emotion is left after watching this. Did you see his grandmother's car???? "I like to do hoodrat things with my friends"???? At 7(shit at any age for that matter)????? What the hell is going on???

On some level, as sad as it is, this incident doesn't surprise me. Having taught for 3 years at a school my friends nicknamed Rickers Academy (yes after the prison), the 7 year old in this clip has the same nonchalant inconsequential attitude I faced on a daily basis. There were always those students who, no matter how much love and guidance you tried to show them, they still didn't care and only wanted to do "hoodrat things". I would ask myself daily "how can I change this? how can I get these kids to understand that just because you're from the hood you don't have to be a 'rat. My decision to leave the school system was not an easy one. I never wanted to be a bitter cynical educator who was there only for a paycheck and Jewish holiday vacations. And I felt that bitterness and cynicism creeping in - part of the reason I left. While, on most days, I am at peace with my decision and am much happier, it's stories like these that make me feel guilty for walking away. Like I abandoned the children to roam the streets and do shit like this.

This whole hoodrat culture hurts me in my core. Offically, I am a hoodrat having grown up in Harlem when the only white people you saw were the cops assigned to the neighborhood precincts, the teachers assigned to neighborhood schools, and the drug addicts who would drive into the neighborhood in their Beemers and Jettas with out of state plates looking to score. I am very proud of growing up in Harlem, especially when it looked like a scene from New Jack City. But moreso, I'm proud of succumbing to the power of my mother's foot in my ass and not the lure of the street. I fully admit my mother did not condone hoodrat behavior in her home. Any hint of it was met with an eye that meant "girrrrl, don't test me", and if that didn't work, her hand became reacquainted with my behind. Maybe if they had been kicking this little boy's ass and not rewarding him with video games and frequent trips to McDonald's, he would not feel like "doing bad stuff is fun". And now this boy will be in the system, and while they can't officially lock his ass up because he's too young, they will be watching him like Pookie in the drug lab for the rest of his life.

What kind of punishment is appropriate for this 7 year old??? According to him, taking away video games for a "weekend" should do it. Sorry, Latarian. You are going to need a little more than that, unless you want to eventually become some big dude's bitch in the bighouse. The problem here is not only getting him to understand the magnitude of his actions (which is difficult just because of his age) but to also deter him from continuing to be a delinquent with his friends (who smoke cigarettes at 7??? what. the. fuck???)

I wish I had the answers. I wish the solution was something that can be solved in 30 minutes like this is a sitcom. What I do know is that if Latarian and children like him don't get help, then we all need to go to jail because we have failed a generation. People often ask me if I would return to teaching. While "never say never" is an often used phrase, today I know in my heart of hearts, the answer to that question is "hell to da naw" (gotta say it like Whitney Houston for full effect...hahahhahahaha). But I know something has to be done. Something more than what I'm doing now. I'm just not sure what.

5 comments:

rashad said...

fear and success. kids need to fear their parents, but they also need to see some level of success from their parents, guardian or whoever. this sounds simplistic, but its true. i was scared of my dad physically, but i also saw him getting money, reading books, and being important. kids are being brought into the world under some bullshit, premature circumstances, and sadly, not enough thought has been placed on a child rearing approach.

hustle said...

This is exactly what happens when we let the government raise our kids!!!!!!!!!
friendly advice to all
light stabs to the feet of bad children with a safety pin does not leave any marks for the police to identify as childabuse

makeba said...

WTF! As I say WTF, I then say I am not surprised. New times, new generation. Different upbringing than what we remember. OH NO, just think I am about to go down this new journey in the field of social work. Dealing with children and families like this on a regular basis and realizing that I will not save them all because it's just way too many.

To many families missing a solid foundation, good parenting, good homes, good role models and the value of life and consequences. To much time spent thinking we want them to have a better life than we did by showering them with lavish gifts, clothes, techno trends and failing them in that we are missing the old school discipline (i.e., a good ole butt whipping or the look of the eye). Lord help me what am I getting myself into!

So you say you don't want to go back to teaching, well join me because there is lots of room for social workers!

Eve said...

I agree with all 3 posters. We have to inspire our kids with our actions, not just words.

Virtuous Blue said...

ARE YOU FREAKING SERIOUS!? Grandma talking about she doesn't want to go to jail? BUMP THAT, I would be all up in that little boy's behind. They'd need an army to pull me off of him. Then he'd be off some where working off those damages and paying me in installments. 7 ain't too young to get a paper route.

Something just ain't right. A SEVEN year old doesn't learn stuff like that out of thin air. I agree with rashad. There needs to be fear. To this day, i'm mindful of the things that I do because i'm scared of what my mother will say, do, or think...and the woman isn't even in the same state as me. This training has to start early. And grandma can't do it on her own...

Kenya
VB