Some days I am really discouraged by high school aged people. They just don't seem to have a focus, or a care about anything.
Thursday at school, though, I experienced a glimmer of hope that really brightened my day.
Thursday was "I'm so hood" Day. Even when I first heard of the name for that day, I was appalled and confused. What the hell does that mean? And what does that say we are trying to promote among the students? Why do we constantly tell them to pull their pants up and not show us their grimy underwear every day, and yet suddenly allow them to dress in that manner with no repercussions? Why do we perpetuate a stereotype of black people and suddenly allow all the races to feed into, and satirize that stereotype? A stereotype that for some is not seen as such, but as the truth. Why is it ok for them to have a "I'm so hood" day, but it is considered offensive to have a black-face day, or a mammy day?
Lots of questions. Lots of animosity. Lots of just feeling sick to my stomach from the moment I walked into school at 7:15.
I talked with a few students about the whole day and what it meant to them. One of them was truly offended. And the fact that he was so appalled really touched me and helped me to understand him and appreciate him more. I've worked with him through track and in class since he was a freshman, yet never got the impression that he cared about anything like this. Granted, he never wears his clothes too big, and throughout the end of last year and all of this year, he has been carrying himself differently, but it was still awesome to hear him voice his concerns.
We talked. I let him vent. Then I explained how I felt about it all. How it is all something continually perpetuated in the society in which we live.
I saw him questioning people about how they were dressed that day. I loved it. Hopefully he will continue to spread his messages to the other youth he encounters.
I look forward to more intelligent conversations with this person and with other young people at the school.