Note - If you are a teacher or a parent of at least one Black child, I wrote this short piece for you...from the perspective of the child. Check it out and share with someone who could benefit.
Hey teacher…I’m a young Black boy living in inner-city USA. Statistically, the odds are stacked against me and the challenges I face toward living my dream are REAL…
…but I don’t need you feeling sorry for me though. You feeling sorry for me is not going to get me to where I want to be. I just need you to understand me.
…but I don’t need you getting angry with me when I make decisions that are not consistent with your expectations of me though. I just need you to steer me in the right direction. If I’m not moving at your pace, I just need you to be patient with me. Some of us take longer than others.
…but I don’t need you quitting or giving up on me when the task of working with children from “my world” seems overwhelming though. I just need you to understand that many of us lack the “privileges” that many of our peers from wealthier communities were born with.
…but I don’t need you teaching me as if all of the students in my class learn alike though. Although I am quite young, I am smart enough to know that children learn differently…we do not all learn the same way. I just need you to make sure that you teach me according to how I learn.
…but I don’t need you to judge me based upon my home environment which may be very different from your own though. My environment is my environment. I just need you to appreciate and respect what I call home.
…but I don’t need you assuming that kids from my neighborhood aren’t Ivy League material though. We are and I was born brilliant! I may not show it all the time, but I am truly intelligent. If I fall, I just need you to either pick me up or teach me how to get up on my own. I just need you to maintain very high expectations of me and if you do so, I will meet them eventually.
…but I don’t need you thinking that you know me because you know my name, address and telephone number though. There’s more to me. I have my own experiences, reality, challenges, obstacles, needs, interests, goals and dreams. I just need you to make getting to know the fullness of me your priority.
…but I don’t need you lacking knowledge of my history though. You can’t teach me at a high level if you don’t know me historically. You will see me through the wrong set of lenses. I just need you to know that my story begins in Africa. I don’t know where in Africa, but I know it starts on the African continent. My African past includes discoveries and contributions in science, medicine, technology, mathematics, engineering, architecture, carpentry, agriculture, writing, astronomy and astrology just to name a few. My story does not begin as a slave. My story begins in Africa…the cradle of civilization.
Copyright © Baruti K. Kafele
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