The Struggle is Real…

February 11, 2016

While reading the recent Washington Post Article (11/22/15), “Trump on rally protester: ‘Maybe he should have been roughed up’”, I was reminded of going to see the movie Selma with a group of young people I mentor in Baltimore. At several points during the movie, several of these young scholars and intellectuals had tears in their eyes…tears of anger…tears of fear…tears of sadness. Their tears echoed in my heart and soul as I not only read the Washington Post article but also watched the video of this brotha in Alabama being escorted out of the Trump campaign rally in Birmingham. I certainly don’t agree with any of the rhetoric Donald Trump spouts, nor do I have an issue with the brotha being escorted out by security in a peaceful manner. However, it is a scary feeling to know that a leading presidential candidate would actually say–“maybe he should have been roughed up.” While some would argue that a physical response to social protest is as American as apple pie, others would suggest that social protest is an important form of communication in a democracy. As a career long educator, the question I am asking myself is this–what do we tell our students amidst this type of response to social protest. Do we tell our students that violence is a acceptable response to social protest? Do we tell our students that the ghost of Bull Connor is still alive not just in Alabama but in many parts of this country? Or do we stand silent and teach to the standards that usually avoid consciousness raising in our classrooms? I am not sure what we should tell students but what am sure about is this…I am afraid knowing that someone at this rally in Birmingham said–“don’t choke him”…I am afraid to know that the brotha in Alabama could be my son…I am afraid to know that the brotha in Alabama could be one of my former students…while I am afraid to know that the struggle is real and what can happen to those deeply embedded in the struggle, I am encouraged to know that so many people are continuing the struggle.

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