0058: On Silence, Education, and the Community
#school #community #silence
I am always amazed by the responses I get from people when I tell them what I do. All I do is teach children who are invisible in our society. Thy are part of an underclass of people that have been segregated into their own schools and neighborhoods so the safe and wealthy don’t have to see them. They’re neatly tucked away and punished with excessive testing and remediation so they will never see the light of the great white world. Beyond testing and a second rate education they are criminalized. Many enter seventh grade with a parole officer and a healthy criminal record. Some of these records began with a fight at school that could have been avoided with a little more supervision, or had other measures been taken ahead of time to address the problems that result in violence. Or, we could choose not to send little kids away in a cop car. There are no 7 year old criminals, maybe assholes, but not criminals. The odds are brutally stacked against these kids. And, the fact that many people don’t bother to understand that these are people with tough lives and not criminals making their own lives tough doesn’t help matters. Prejudice is strong in our world. So is ignorance, and it doesn’t belong to the poor people of our neighborhoods. The ignorant are the ones who choose blindness, and perpetuate the mentality that people are divided into us and them. We gotta open our mouths and open our eyes.
“Our merciless silence is deafening, and threatens the longevity of our social history.”
- from ‘Teachers as Cultural Workers’ by Paulo Freire