Thursday, July 29, 2010

How to Listen and Conversate about Things that Matter

Meaningful conversations foster understanding.
Okay ya'll, kitchen tables, water coolers and church basements and over fence posts: These are places to have conversation and discuss relevant issues.
I wish this could occur without all the bs that comes before and during it. I would like to see these conversations occur. I understand the roadblocks but I don't understand how to overcome them. Sharing of ideas conversationally is an art. I share an idea, then you or visa versa. The best conversations occur with me, on social networking or on the phone with friends. I cannot get into a relevant conversation when I'm supposed to be doing something else like praying or working. I cannot maybe others can. Then again, I work from home.

I get all of this after watching the president address the National Urban League in honor of their100th Anniversary today. He talked about lots of things but mostly education.
We have to say: Black kids are worth it!
However, president Barack Obama's role in our affairs is limited. He can set rules, tone and laws and create consequences but he cannot puppeteer every single one of us and make us feel differently about black children. That is up to us to do.
We have to change our own minds and say 'we are worth it, our children are worth it–and–even if no one else thinks so, I'm going to love them no matter what and do my best by them every day.'

Maybe I am pushing it to say everyday but that is how I feel. On the days I cannot, then someone does it twice as much and visa versa. Let us take up for each other. Let us actually not provoke each other to anger and be slow to anger. Politics is a hard game and many of us don't have or want a role in it.
However, the call for conversations about our problems has been issued and we should heed the call.

On the other hand, one should take a look at and discriminate between social networking conversations.

Blah, Blah, Blah. Fight!
I'm sorry but if one were to look through the comments on popular Facebook sites, one would find one or two of 10 or so comments made sense. The rest were short sighted and or ignorant of the basic facts. Most just a regurgitation of fact with little to no insight.

One conversation did catch my attention today: A white woman got hired at Essence Magazine.

There are people and families walking around here on janky ground. There are people around here going through or preventing foreclosure. There are even people wondering why they are not married and have no children, or why the spouse did this or that or avoiding domestic violence (or maybe not). On the other end there are women with children and no father for them, through no fault of her own, struggling.

They are not in the least bit concerned about a white chick pulling down a job in the fashion business at Essence or elsewhere. That is not news. A few feathers may have been ruffled but it is not news and should not be. Call your trades with this story. When a black gets hired in a mostly white environment, not news any more. When a woman gets a job in a mostly male environment, not news. These people are ground breakers, yes but how interested in someone else's job am I expected to be? There were no civil rights laws broken, no one is hurt or dead. It's just one job and no telling how long she'll be there.

Learn!
I want to take part in a discussion on education, race relations, creating infrastructure and the importance of it and in general what other blacks are doing in the form of a feature story. Everyday stuff we do. I read the police blotter too but all black folks do that.

But I'm mostly concerned about education and the way black kids are viewed by blacks, whites and the people in the world around them.
I'm concerned about my son not having his spirit crushed in school by insensitive teachers with no coping skills. Teachers who are not required to learn about child psychology and do not understand the physiology of a child's brain. They don't read the trades, no sabbaticals, no rest for the weary in a high-stress, high-burnout career. If this rock has hit you then be convicted by it, if not, discuss it and examine it. Speak up for yourselves, stellar teachers who know how to educate a class of young minds. Tell the administration en masse about how things should work. The kids are looking and so are the kid's parents.
Children! Please keep your hands to yourself!

We are watching you as leaders and role models because most teachers are of high moral standards and good character. It has always been that way and it is demanded. They are a cornerstone in our communities. People expect a lot of a teacher in and out of the classroom. We just do because everyone has had a 12-18 years of teachers looking at them, talking to them admonishing them and teaching them. All of us have had this in America. We still hear the words of teachers in our mind both good and bad.

Uhhh, you're still on the clock.
So get rid of the dead weight in your ranks and increase your salaries, like other industries do. As long as your union is paying its union dues all will be well--right?
In the meanwhile, I will continue to teach my child to respect authority figures. I will make excuses for said figures when they drop the ball and stop being a role model but a human who has been pushed too far and who has been silent for too long. I will do that because I have to, until he can discern between right and wrong for himself. He is already a unique child in that he idolizes Bill Gates and anything with a computer chip. He does well in math, prefers that to reading--unless it is about a new game system or animals and such.

I will reign in his mind, steeped in imagery and imagination and show him about dedication and hard work and using that to achieve a goal. I will keep him from people who do not share my values and morals as much as possible, until he can RATIONALLY make those decisions for himself or I am no longer responsible for his choices.
But let's start having those relevant conversations when we can and connect on a deeper level. The president has asked us to do so.
And yes, I have these conversations with my children.
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I'm on Facebook too

I'm on Facebook too
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