Books

Three Girls Stood In A Line On National TV. What They Do? I Have CHILLS!| Little Things

“Get Lit” – Changing the World, One Word at a Time!

What these girls learned in school is not pretty, but well articulated.


These outspoken, brave girls are part of Get Lit, “the leading nonprofit presenter of literary performance, education, and teen poetry programs in Southern California,” according to their website.

The remarkable young girls were featured on the Queen Latifah Show to perform a slam poetry piece called “Somewhere in America,” and as you will see, their powerful words strike up many emotions in just a few seconds.

via Three Girls Stood In A Line On National TV. What They Do? I Have CHILLS!.

Challenge | Barbershop Books

Harlem has always been the east coast mecca for Black culture and art. I remember my days at Hunter College, trolling the uptown bookstores for that rare author. With this tradition Alvin Irby‘s project, Barbershop Boys, recognizes and meets the challenges that prevent young Black youth from developing a healthy love for books.   

NBC Today: How Barbershop Books Is Getting Young Boys Excited About Reading

In 2013, former kindergarten and first-grade teacher Alvin Irby launched “Barbershop Books,” an initiative that targets young black boys who frequent barbershops and aims to improve their reading comprehension by encouraging them to dive into the world of literature. 

The Barbershop Books website describes its purpose: “To close the reading gap for young black boys by using child-centered, culturally relevant, and high-impact strategies.” According to the White House, 86 percent of black boys are below proficient reading levels by the fourth grade, compared to 58 percent of white boys in the same category. 

 

Barbershop Books

via Challenge | Barbershop Books.

Toni Morrison interview: on racism, her new novel and Marlon Brando | Telegraph

“This world is interesting and difficult,” she would say. “Happiness? Don’t settle for that.”

This particular article by Gaby Wood tributes Morrison like no other I have read. It reminds me why each time I read one of Toni Morrison’s novels, it felt as if I held my breath until the last page. We all know that is impossible, but the world she creates within her texts redefines the past, present, and future. There are no spaces for outsiders or interruptions. I read “A Mercy” in two days, dry-mouthed, sleep-deprived, but never abandoned.

Morrison’s take on race and spaces have never been secret within the pages of her books. Like truly talented individuals, she is blunt, unforgiving, unyielding, and delivers at every turn – just what we need our leaders to aspire.

Toni Morrison

she wrote from the point of view of little black girls in her first two books, of 17th-century slaves in Mercy, of a child killed by her mother to save her from suffering in Beloved. She combined the metaphorical stories of her grandparents with the facts on the ground, and arrived at what she calls “imaginative resistance”. To tell a tale, you have to pick up its pieces, she once suggested, comparing storytellers to Hansel and Gretel. “Their momma doesn’t want them. They leave a little trail. That trail is language.”

via Toni Morrison interview: on racism, her new novel and Marlon Brando – Telegraph.

America’s Dangerous Turn to Anti-Intellectualism | Alternet

America's Dangerous Turn to Anti-Intellectualism | Alternet

Recently, I found out that my work is mentioned in a book that has been banned, in effect, from the schools in Tucson, Arizona. The anti-ethnic studies law passed by the state prohibits teachings that “promote the overthrow of the United States government,” “promote resentment toward a race or class of people,” “are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group,” and/or “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” I invite you to read the book in question, titled Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, so that you can decide for yourselves whether it qualifies.

via America’s Dangerous Turn to Anti-Intellectualism | Alternet.

‘Dear White Academics …’ | Vitae

“Wow, you’re so articulate.”
“Are you the cleaning lady?”
“Do you have a Ph.D.?”
“James? What’s your real Asian name?”

Dear White People

You’ve heard or heard of statements like these. Students and scholars call them “microaggressions”—casual, everyday comments and questions that might not rise to the level of a verbal altercation or a physical beatdown, but are rooted in stereotyping and racially-biased assumptions nevertheless.

Some microaggressions are obvious. But it can take a well-tuned ear to perceive the subtleties and nuances in others. The people delivering coded comments might actually intend them as compliments, not realizing that they are holding on to stereotypes that are invisible to them.

As a returning African American and retired Systems Engineer student, after 20 years absence from academia, these microaggressions, not only by whites but surprisingly from other African American professors, raised my blood pressure. The first two weeks with an unfamiliar professor was a tight rope walk between maintaining respect for their proficiency and battling their cultural and class ignorance.

I must add to the author’s short list of microaggressions with these.

The patronizing African American father,
“I know your struggle. We were so poor…”

First day of class,
“You might want to take an easier class.”

The Master’s research meeting,
“We may want to refer to … for more information on the local drug scene, street life, …”

Your eyes bulge, but hopefully not enough to be that one person every African American does not want to stereotype at these venues. The Angry Black Woman or Man. So you recline, count the hours until you can make a hasty retreat, count up how much you are spending for this abuse, open your books at night and push the demons away to let in empirical evidence that this is all not a waste of time. This article places the response to these microaggressions better than I ever could.

“The greatest microaggression, some say, is that they feel unable to express their displeasure. That’s because they don’t want to be perceived as “angry” people of color who constantly play “the race card.” A few others say they’ve learned not to get angry or paranoid: Microaggressions, they say, reflect the flaws of the people dishing them out. Better to invest their time and energy on working on things they can change.”

In business, there is the option of consulting attorneys in the worse cases. Academia does not afford students this option. Students are locked in by a financial and personal investment. These perpetrators know this and find no need to leash their ill-behaviors.

The article points to a book, a supplement to the film “Dear White People,” “Dear White People: A Guide to Inter-Racial Harmony in ‘Post-Racial’ America,” which hopefully all academic professionals and students will absorb. If they cannot find the time, there is also a chart or shortlist to guide them through their internal war with their past and present demons toward a more cultured future.

via ‘Dear White Academics …’ | Vitae.

Link to Dear White People: A Guide to Inter-Racial Harmony in ‘Post-Racial’ America  by Justin Simien, Ian O’Phelan on Amazon.com

Book_DearWhite People

Audio: Gary Webb on ‘Dark Alliance,’ CIA and Drugs | #OYRchallenge

Gary Webb, author of Dark Alliance

With the release of the film Kill The Messenger this week, there is bound to be an uptick in media discussions about Gary Webb, the crusading investigative journalist whose 1996 Dark Alliance series forms the basis of the movie.

Listen to a 1996 Gary Webb interview.

via Audio: Gary Webb on ‘Dark Alliance,’ CIA and Drugs.

Key Figures In CIA-Crack Cocaine Scandal Begin To Come Forward | #OYRchallenge

Gary Webb, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist

Young African Americans during the beginning of the Drug Wars heard whispers of government involvement. It was hush, hush in the media, but on the city streets and in Blacksploitation films like, Cotton Comes to Harlem, this was a reality. In 1996, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Gary Webb published his book, Dark Alliance, connecting the African American Crack Cocaine explosion to a well planned CIA operation. Major news network entities attacked Webb’s research sending him off into obscurity and later suicide in December 2004.

A new film opening this week, Kill The Messenger, is a tribute to Gary Webb and his outstanding research into the attack on the African American community. History tells us that we are never really ready for the immediate truth. We need time and space, especially in attacks on minority groups, to digest our sins, distance ourselves from blame, and face cold realities we can no longer ignore. RIP, Gary Webb and may the force be with you. #OYRchallenge

More than 18 years have passed since Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb stunned the world with his “Dark Alliance” newspaper series investigating the connections between the CIA, a crack cocaine explosion in the predominantly African-American neighborhoods of South Los Angeles, and the Nicaraguan Contra fighters — scandalous implications that outraged LA’s black community, severely damaged the intelligence agency’s reputation and launched a number of federal investigations. 

via Key Figures In CIA-Crack Cocaine Scandal Begin To Come Forward.

Stop blaming black parents for underachieving kids – The Washington Post | #OYRchallenge

For decades, the fault in education disparities between low-income whites and  African Americans was thrown atop the African American parents and parenting skills. They are not equip to raise children to think critically, engage literature, and calculate, – some said. The some included government officials, teacher’s unions, and even Black officials. Maybe this article will set them straight. African American children

Mayors, teachers unions, and news commentators have boiled down the academic achievement gap between white and black students to one root cause: parents. Even black leaders and barbershop chatter target “lazy parents” for academic failure in their communities, dismissing the complex web of obstacles that assault urban students daily.

via Stop blaming black parents for underachieving kids – The Washington Post.

He went to MIT at the age of 14, and now he’s changing the world | The Black Home School | #OYRchallenge

David Van Valen

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

David Van Valen has a life that is built for legend.  The young scientist and his family set trends years ago when he was accepted to MIT at the age of 13.  While other kids his age were mastering videogames and hip-hop lyrics, David was preparing to dominate the future, taking a whopping 25 college courses while he was in high school, which he started at the “wise old age” of 10.

via He went to MIT at the age of 14, and now he’s changing the world | The Black Home School.

‘Guns Kept People Alive’ During The Civil Rights Movement : NPR

This NonViolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed

This hiding in plain sight story is recounted to NPR’s Michel Martin by author, professor and former Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee field secretary Charles E. Cobb Jr. in his new book, This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible.

via ‘Guns Kept People Alive’ During The Civil Rights Movement : NPR.