Talking to Kids about Sex [Racialicious]
Someone should have told me. Someone should have said “Hey, Brandann, you are going to have all of these urges, and it’s perfectly normal”, but no one did. Someone should have told me that my body was going to change someday, that other than growing boobs and getting hair in places I didn’t think needed it things were going to happen to me. Someone could have taken the time to explain to me that all that blood wasn’t dirty, but a sign that I had grown into maturity, and what that meant, that I was able to get pregnant and would someday enjoy sex. Someone could have explained what my goddammed reproductive system was really supposed to do. But no body did. I had to figure it all out on my own.
And that put me at risk.
The First Derrion Albert Conviction [Ta-Nehisi Coates for the Atlantic.com]
The first kid into the vicious beating of a Chicago teen has been convicted of first degree murder (defined here). I came down pretty hard on this last time, mostly because of personal bias. I don’t think people understand the corrupting force of having to constantly physically protect yourself when you’re young. Until you get in the head of kid who goes to school every day thinking it could happen, and approaching that day in that manner, you’ll never completely understand what’s wrong with urban public schools.
My sense of this is that most kids would like to walk to school in peace, but somewhere around fifth grade or so, the corruption reaches out and taints them. You start by changing how you walk, the manner in which you speak, what jokes you laugh at, and when. Then you change your criteria for your friends, and try to assemble as many of them as possible. You first forays into direct violence may be only defensive or retaliatory, but this quickly spirals into offensive violence, so as to burnish your rep.
The hood is a galaxy of competing powers, and to be born there is to be drafted into your nation’s Army. To spend time lamenting your citizenship, to be less then zealous in defense of your country, is to be unpatriotic, to invite charges of treason, with predictable penalties. And even this formulation makes it all sound too neat, too rational. We are, after all, ultimately talking about children, and thus people vulnerable to the worst impulses.
[Read the comments, too.]
The kids at Bruce-Monroe at Parkview, an elementary school in Washington D.C., go home with nosebleeds and coughs, sick from the poorly ventilated rooms.
Teachers told our Education Editor, Carol Scott, that they leave windows open in the dead of winter so that the decrepit furnaces don’t heat the rooms to unhealthy levels — and so that the smell of dead mice can escape. Drug users shoot up in the park around the corner.
A safer place for these students to learn is possible — but they need our help to fight for it.
Sign the Change.org petition here.