Malcolm X… [was] approaching a building with three of his associates when a young white woman momentarily blocks his path and asks what she, as a white person, can do to help his cause. Malcolm tersely answers with one word — “Nothing” — and passes her by. (kevincassell.com/blog)
I have put off writing about the Michael Brown tragedy because I honestly felt anything I wrote would sound trite or redundant. Because of my health , I unable to fly to Missouri or even cross the bridge into Philadelphia and peacefully show my support. Because of my financial situation, I am unable to donate money. So what can I do? This question haunted me like the quote above. I was afraid that my answer was also nothing.
Then I realized that I, in fact in the past have done something. It may have been a small something, but it wasn’t nothing.
That is why I miss teaching so much. Because I was an English professor, my job was to instruct my students to write essays to preparing them for further college assignments. When it came to teaching the argumentative essay, I would typically use current events to capture the attention of my students making them more engaged about what they were writing. I started was a professor from 2008-2012 and unfortunately, then and now there have been a plethora of events to write about.
What was apparent to me that most, if not all, of my students black or white knew very little, if anything, about these events. It was also horrifyingly disturbing that if anyone did have knowledge of the murders most of them were apathetic. I didn’t dare bring up Mumia Abu-Jamal or the MOVE bombing, because most of them weren’t even born yet, so they would be even more apathetic if that was possible. It was infuriating because:
A-I have two interracial children; this affects me.
B-Because of how and where I was raised, most of my friends are African-American; this affects me.
C-At one of the campuses in which I taught, the racial makeup of my students was predominately African-American and Hispanic; again, this affects me
It wasn’t unusual that one or more my students would ask me with either confusion or defiance:
Why do you care?
My answer would restate the above, and then I would add:
Because, I am a diametric white chick, and for those who asked that question your argumentative essay assignment is why you don’t care.
After the gasps, I swear one could hear a rat pissing on cotton in my classroom.
Because of my health incident, I was put out on disability shortly after that, so I never read those essays.
If anyone bothered to write them.
~Love is Eternal~