Thank You, MLK! Mr. Blackwood, Not So Much…

This evening my mother suggested that I take a look at an Op-Ed piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution entitled, “Raze Dekalb’s education ghetto.”  It’s written by one William Blackwood. Mr. Blackwood is voicing his displeasure at the environment of his school in south DeKalb county, GA, my mother indicated.

Well, upon reading Mr. Blackwood’s “expose,” I would categorize his observations as a scathing indictment on a school system, county, and culture. Conveniently, Mr. Blackwood lets the reader know that his homebase is in the city of Decatur. For those who aren’t aware, the city of Decatur has been regentrified to the point of being a eutopia.

Poor Mr. Blackwood bikes from his lovely Decatur perch to the bowels of south DeKalb Hades. Here is an excerpt of his chronicles:

Disassimilation and disintegration are having a big impact on the high-school population of hyper-segregated south DeKalb county. Many young people from this area will have difficulty acclimating themselves into the mainstream. Many will find it hard to develop and maintain a sense of cohesive belonging within the larger cultural whole. A critical factor in this disturbing sociological dynamic is the public school system itself.

My school employs five assistant principals who make high salaries that, in the private sector, would be inconceivable for comparably educated individuals. Yet, they neither teach classes nor interact significantly with students. They also embody a cumbersome and inconsequential discipline system whose hallmark is the repeated failure to respond effectively to transgressions that, elsewhere, would beget serious action.

The bloated assistant-principal caste characterizes a system that employs more non-teaching personnel than it does teachers. This dysfunctional jobs-creation program is complicit in the invidious perpetuation of the hugely disenfranchising notion that black students are to be taught in a special way.

A teacher is supposed to appeal to “multiple intelligences” in a manner that will produce a “differentiated” classroom. I have been told to do “raps” with students and to appeal to their “kinesthetic intelligence.” Collaborative “group work” is proffered as a means of classroom management and instruction.

While Mr. Blackwood makes some decent points, his delivery is awash in self-glorification. It seems that he seeks to dazzle the reader with such large words as to render them helpless at making up their own mind. Also, what’s his point? Does he seek to improve the current situation or is he just the messenger? There is something terribly wrong with a teacher who feels more comfortable ranting to the AJC rather than taking precise measures within his school system’s guidelines. It’s almost Benedict Arnoldish to me.

Way to go, Mr. Blackwood! For all of your “concern,” you’ve played right into the hands of the malfactors. The tone of your opinion conveyed no empathy or plan of action in terms of making wrongs-right. You simply point fingers and then indicate that you live in Decatur city. As such, it’s not really your problem. That’s the take-away.

On this 25th anniversary of the federal holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, one can only marvel at the sense of timing of the AJC posting that Op-Ed piece. It’s almost as if a subliminal barometer fell lower and lower while reading Mr. Blackwood’s opinion.  

Well, thank goodness that Dr. King wasn’t an elitist or someone who whined about helping a people in a great need of help. Although from a middle-class background, Dr. King understood the factors which caused so many African-Americans to fare far lower on the socio-economic strata. He chose to do something, help somebody. In choosing that, he helped all of us.

The scathing indictment offered by Mr. Blackwood is a self-indulgent venting session. As a teacher, he should’ve aired his personal grievances, thoughts, and a plan of action within the system. Especially, since he is currently working there.? What are the students, faculty, and administration to think now?

The problems of south DeKalb county are the problems of the country, which are the problems of the home. There are so many things to address, choosing to atttack by targeting one area is definitely not the answer.

Let’s all do our part by edifying, not destroying…

Jones, My Opinion

Take a look at the ajc.com comment page, taken from Maureen Downey’s “Get Schooled” blog about this topic.

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Political Correctness “Messness”

There is an annual contest at University of New Brunswick calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term. This year’s term was: “Political Correctness”.

The 2010 winner wrote: “Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rapidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of $hit by the clean end.”

Well said!

Being “politically correct” is the mask that society demands that we all wear in order to get along.

It’s a platitude of conformity that should be the poster child for deceitfulness.

Never mind the thought process or very real consequences of hate and prejudice. Just don’t let anyone know what you’re thinking by staying within the guidelines of OK words.

Schmuck.

Political Correctness is the enemy of honesty and truth. Tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may.

Jones, My Opinion

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Filed under Against The Grain, Op-Ed, Politically Correct, Schmuck, University of New Brunswick

I Remember Margaret…

During the early 1980’s my father was stationed in Amberg, Germany at Pond Barracks.

We lived in military housing that I believe was located on Steubenstrasse, there in Amberg.

Somehow, surely it was through my mother, our family became acquainted and later friends with an older German lady named Margaret.

Margaret lived next-door to our building. To say that she was very nice to us would be a huge understatement.

We visited her often and though her English was about as good as our German, it made little difference. There was a connection that surpassed racial, national, or cultural divisions.

Margaret had told my mother of being a survivor of Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. In fact, Margaret was there when the Soviet troops liberated the camp on January 27, 1945.

When my mother told me, I was awestruck.

I had already read about Anne Frank and could not grasp that Margaret had seen and survived such horrors as that.

Somehow or another we ended up spending a few days over at Margaret’s house before we left Germany to go Stateside.

I remember Margaret giving us hot milk to put in our Frosted Flakes.

I noticed something. Her story was tattooed on her arm. I asked Margaret about the numbers.

“Auschwitz,” was the reply.

Before we left Germany, I gave my treasured porcelain doll to Margaret as a gift.

Three years later my father once again received orders to Germany, or West Germany as it was then.

We had the opportunity to visit Dachau, also a concentration camp, near Munich.

There are no words to describe the sights at that evil place.

That there was one survivor, let alone any others, is a testament to the power of God.

Wherever Margaret is today, I hope that she knows-

We Remember.

Jones, My Opinion

Read About Holocaust Research Here

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Filed under Amberg, Germany, ARMY brat, Auschwitz, concentration camp survivors, Dachau, Do Something, Family History, Holocaust, Reflections, Societal Ills, Transcending

Elizabeth Omilami Dr.

If you’ve been paying attention to the city of Atlanta debates over the re-naming of two downtown thoroughfares, then more than likely you have an opinion.

Cone Street was so named after Judge Ruben Cone. Judge Cone was instrumental in the founding of early Atlanta, originally known as Terminus. A request for Cone St. to be re-named after a worthy, and living, Xernona Clayton, has been made before the Atlanta city council.

Clayton is known for her black-tie event, the Trumpet Awards, which brings glitz to Atlanta. She was best friend to the late Mrs. Coretta Scott King, and has worldwide philanthropic efforts, as stated by former Atlanta Mayor, Andrew Young.

Another street, Harris Street, has been proposed to be renamed for Atlanta architect, John Portman.

Ambassador Young stated in front of the Atlanta city council that architect Portman has built nearly all of the buildings on that street. It seems that there is no particular uproar over the Harris St. change.

Enter the descendants of Judge Cone. They aren’t taking too kindly to having their forebear’s honor being erased, and such they’re quite vocal in their opposition.

I’m in agreement with alternative ways of honoring those worthy. This prevents malevolence towards the honorees and respects the legacy of those long gone.

Bestow statues, plaques, or a building, perhaps. There are many ways to show gratitude, and endow prestige to the worthy, without taking a hacksaw to history.

Might I add-

Atlanta, have you considered
Elizabeth Omilami?

She does God’s work with her Hosea Feed The Hungry charity and foundation. Every holiday somehow Mrs. Omilami and her army of volunteers rise to the ever growing needs of the poor in Atlanta and beyond.

Omilami, daughter of Civil Rights leader Rev. Hosea Williams, who has a street named after him, even ventured to earthquake torn Haiti last year to help the downtrodden.

Atlanta, please consider Elizabeth Omilami for an honor. She has honored and remembered the least of us.

Surely, Atlanta hasn’t become so high-brow that humanitarian efforts aren’t championed.

Just remember that there’s no need to take the eraser to someone else’s name, thereby dishonoring one, in order to honor another.

Jones,My Opinion

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Filed under Atlanta, Current Events, Elizabeth Omilami, Family History, Hosea Feed The Hungry, Judge Ruben Cone, Xernona Clayton

Leave Huck Alone

Censorship is censorship. The very word itself should be enough to frighten creative minds worldwide.

How can one censor the rays of the sun? You can’t inasmuch as you can direct the light of creativity.

To direct, subvert, censor, mold, or anything of the sort is to tamper with nature. That is very wrong, indeed.

True, there will be times when the illustrations or oratory of others will be like nails on a chalkboard. Nevertheless, if it is not a matter of national or personal security, I respectfully opine that it be left alone.

Earlier today, I observed that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the story written by Mark Twain in 1885, is to be censored of racist terms in new editions.

I do not agree with these actions.

In fact, it’s detrimental to “the cause.” For there are certainly more noble endeavors than fiddling with a bit of one hundred and thirty year old American literature.

Like it or lump it, everyone knows the trials of Jim. We cannot superimpose his nineteenth century existence into our sanitized, iPod, Internet, politically correct-socially vehement society.

Who believes that this “victory” of having Twain posthumously censored is doing anyone breathing a favor?

Deal with history, folks! Accept the good, the bad, and the ugly. For I assure you that if one iota had been changed in the past, there would be no certainty of your existence.

Also, we must be mindful of precedents. Today’s Twain could be tomorrow’s Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. You’ve fed the beast of censorship, but he will hunger again.

Does removing the “n-word,” from Huckleberry Finn accomplish a hill of beans? I believe, NO!

Did removing Don Imus from the airwaves accomplish anything? NO!

Only the faction of self-serving, nose up-turned, “talented tenth,” will be appeased.

Oh, I almost forgot, the progeny who spew forth such unrepentant filth as to make Twain nauseous, will take to their tweets with a flare and either co-sign censorship-or totally ignore the issue.

Either way, please remember,
that the very foundation of our country-freedom, liberty, and such are not weapons of ill instruction. They are ideals that we have to ensure are being doled out properly. This includes our creative outlets. Co-sign this, please.

Think about it, you can’t be for Luke and the 2 Live Crew, yet against Twain.

Jones, My Opinion

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Filed under Categorically Ridiculous, Current Events, Huckleberry Finn, News, Op-Ed, Philosophy, Pop Culture

Believe

The events of late, five thousand redwing blackbirds falling from the sky in central Arkansas, and one hundred thousand dead fish rising in the Arkansas River, are a sign.

Undoubtedly, there will be some scientific explanation for the strange happenings. Science has it’s place, let’s get that straight.

Even so, there is an omnipotent force, the force of God, that is surely present here.

Revelation 6:5-8
5And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.

6And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

7And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

8And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

Ecclesiastes 9:12
For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

What and who will you choose when confronted with the Truth?

Jones, My Opinion

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Filed under Current Events, Look Look Look

Twenty ‘leven

Well, it’s a new year!

I’ll do everyone a favor and skip the resolution hullabaloo. Why do people lie to themselves (and others) about the dramatic changes that the new year compels them to make?

New year? Be thankful for a new day. Live your best day every day. That way, there’s no need to do a Tasmanian devil spin into a new persona every January 1.

I strive to abide by this affirmation. Living to love. God first, family, and others.

Whatever you choose to do this year, please remember; wherever you go, you take yourself.

In all your goings, go with God.

Many Happy Returns of the New Year!

Jones, My Opinion

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Filed under 2011, affirmations, Be Thankful, Happy New Year, new years resolutions