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jena 6

Short Notes: Live From DC

by Jose Vilson on November 3, 2007

in Short Notes

Homer ScreamingA few notes of interest:

- I love e-mails, especially the hate mail. It usually makes me laugh, but this one really made me shake my head. I made a one line comment in response to Liza Sabatar’s blog about the Jena 6, and this guy wants to e-mail his comment to my personal e-mail. OK, I’ve seen this move before, though I’m not sure if he has his own blogs to post all of his comments on. Of course, the subject on the e-mail is “Black Racist,” ironic considering how racist the e-mail was. I reply with another one liner like,

“Thanks for your opinion. I’ll consider it yours.”

That’s it. Nothing but “Hey, that’s your opinion. Let’s move on.”

His first line in the reply called me a “condescending jerk-off” all at once. At least he feels something towards me.

This man has the nerve to tell me how bad Black people and prove it with statistics, and how Whites have made the greatest contributions to society, etc. etc. It was a racist mess. Needless to say I really didn’t read it because he just wanted me to validate his own angst. He needs to go listen to Limp Bizkit and be angry for no reason somewhere else. He’s like the really insecure and often ignored kid in high school who picks on the most innocuous-looking “minority” so he can boost his self-worth.

Little does he know I’m still from the hood. We don’t play that. Plus, I really would like to see more unity across the racial lines, but I also notice that we have a LOT of work to do before we can get to that point. I don’t see things in just Black and White, but apparently some do. More on this later.

- NYC needs a Busboys and Poets, similar to the local restaurant here in Washington, DC. The setup for the one in DC is exactly how it sounds like: a big restaurant with a poetry lounge inside of it. It’s also got a bar and a library / bookstore / waiting area sponsored by Teaching for Change. In other words, it was awesome. I was more in awe that they had that much space dedicated to this effort. Of course, the food was great, and so was the environment. The name of the restaurant is an allusion to Langston Hughes, and I can imagine him actually being proud of such an establishment.

- I finally put some words in that book I’m supposed to write, which from now on I’m calling the WOW Project. The beginning part is the hardest, because you want to give people an impression of why they should read the book without actually giving the whole book away. That’s why I love books like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon or 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But we’ll see what happens. Like Sonia Sanchez told me once, I need to create new words.

jose, who has some really good student profiles this week …

update: quote of the weekend -

“Wake up! Wake up! Get your shoes and slippers on! This is Silver Spring, Maryland. Get up! Those of you going to Washington, DC, y’all have a good 15 minutes to get somethin’ and take a break. If y’all come at 15+1 minutes, there’s a few buses right behind this one 1/2 an hour from now, and there’ll be a bus with your stuff waiting for yo, but I won’t be in it. Hurry up, cause I’m trying to get my groove on tonight. I’m trying to get into somebody’s daughter!”

- Greyhound bus driver, this weekend

Yes, I’m always around people who say things like this …


Helter Skelter

by Jose Vilson on October 3, 2007

Jena 6Those that need an explanation as to why people made a big uproar over the Jena 6 need no further comment from me after this:

First off, let me just say that the reason why Jena 6 is so important is because the justice system is doing an injustice to its own system. I understand that there has to be punishment for any kid beating up on another kid so violently, but to send the 6 to jail when the “victim” went out to party the morning after is absolutely absurd. What’s more, because the justice system wasn’t working in their favor when they first brought up the issue of the ropes hanging from the tree (they were told the equivalent of “Oh they’re just playing around. It’s nothing.”), as kids, they found no other solution but to rebell and act out. A schoolyard fight is means for 15 years in jail but mock death threats are cool?

This after some dimwits decided to derisively reenact the Jena 6 incident and post it on Facebook. When asked for comment, Kristy Smith, whose Facebook profile became private said, “We were just playin n the mud and it got out of hand. I promise i’m not racist. i have just as many black friends as i do white. And i love them to death.” Like reaching for a life preserver after you’ve drowned.

AlexRodriguez2.jpgIn any case, New York baseball has become rather helter skelter as of the last two weeks. I won’t get into the Anucha Brown Sanders vs. MSG / New York Knicks deal today, but rather my energies turn to, what else, the Yankees and the Mets. The 2 top teams in any sport for the tri-state area at this juncture are the Yanks and Mets, and only one made it to the postseason.

One of them was seen as an absolute, overpaid, and miserable failure 50 games into the season while the other triumphed and galloped to its podium as the ambassadors of its league. People’s alliances quickly changed through that murky period to the more triumphant team. Then something happened: the team with the worse record started performing well and the winning team suddenly became lackadaisical. And now we stand here with only one New York baseball team in the playoffs and the other frustrated and upset with its own overconfidence.

If you would have told me this story as some psychic from the future, I would have said that the first team was the Mets and the second team was the Yankees. Yet, it’s really the Yankees that showed the heart to come back from what looked like an unfathomable deficit to qualify for the playoffs. On the other side of the river, the Mets lost all their composure, and basically embarrassing themselves with that 17-game stretch to end the year. Alas, all is right with the world.

The Mets’ swagger really caught up to them in a big way. Lethargic, uncaring, and unfocused are just some of the words we can use to describe that team. Sometimes when you keep getting fed, you eventually lose all the hunger that you first started out with. In the meantime, the Yankees ran out and actually beat most teams handily (save the Angels, who I’m glad they don’t have to meet.)

As a Yankees fan, I’m happy as hell the Yankees don’t have to see the Angels in the first round because they’re the only team that has a winning record against the Yanks in the last 13 or so seasons. Of course, I’m also pulling for the most popular search term to my blog: Mr. Alex Rodriguez, who Howard Bryant wrote about in his recent article, “King of Gotham“). While I understand that he’s the product of the most evil agent on the face of this Earth, I also think very highly of his skills and love how he really proved every A-Rod hater wrong this year.

Here’s hoping he continues to do so, but if the Yankees don’t make it, you can’t Blame-Rod for this one. He basically carried the Yanks to the second season for 3/4th of the season. Besides, it’s a 25-player game. Jeter, Posada, Rivera, Chamberlain, and Wang need to continue to produce. Everyone from the starting pitchers, the bullpen, to the coaches, the on-field defense, and the line-up all have to do their job to make this work. And they have to play hard every single game, something the Mets forgot to do since September 1st.

jose, who’s appreciative of having a team to root for in earnest every october since 1995


Black, White, and Read All Over? Terrorism!

by Jose Vilson on September 22, 2007

in Jose

Wishing on a ladenI recently read on that not only is Big Brother watching, but he’s also trying to get into my library, keeping records of the types of personal items I keep and stuff I do on their planes. I wonder what Osama bin Laden’s reading list looks like and if they compare it to my own. I was recently on an airplane on my way to Florida, and everyone but me on the plane was wearing a suit. On my left was a lady who was reminiscent of Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada and a dude on my right wearing a distinctive red turban, and I facetiously thought, “Who’s really the terrorist?”

Speaking of which, I had a discussion of sorts with some anonymous guy in front of the airport as I was waiting to get picked up. (He was smoking a fragrant, green substance wrapped in brown paper). As we get to talking about the 9/11 stories and such, he said something very interesting: “I knew that whole shit was rigged, ’cause I was watching this television interview, I’ll never forget it, 3 years after the attacks, someone asked him what his thoughts were on Osama, and you know what he had the nerve to say? ‘You know, I don’t really think about Osama much these days.’”


By the way, I’m sorry if I have a hard time giving thanks to bloggers who namedrop me. I’m usually so humbled, I don’t even know what to say except thanks. To that end, thanks to Hasta Los Gatos Quieren Zapatos, Siobhan Curious, Teaching is Learning, and anyone else I didn’t mention. Just because you’re not on my blogroll doesn’t mean I’m not watchin’.

On another note, the Jena 6 march looked like it was a success. What disappointed me that day was the lack of all-black wearers in my own school (For those that didn’t know, on September 20th, people were asked to wear all black in support of the Jena students). With the density of Blacks and Latinos at the school, I would have thought that there’d be more than 3 teachers wearing it. Then again, people either never “heard of” the Jena 6, ignored it, or realized that most of our kids have never / might never leave past a mile of the school’s region. Sadness.

My father’s in better shape, so thanks to everyone who had him and my family in their thoughts and prayers.

The Yankees look like they’re closing in on another playoff berth huh? :-) …

jose, who’s in heaven right now …

edit: by the way, now my blog is black, white, and read all over, too. har har har …

2nd edit: My Blogcritics article about Black History Month was published. Check it out when you get the chance.


Color Commentary

September 18, 2007 Jose

The problem / blessing with being a blogger of “color” is that, because of our natural tendency to discuss politics, we’re instantly labeled and constricted to a certain type of writing i.e. we’re looked at as racial polemicists. I suppose that’s fitting seeing as how I’ve been doing this type of writing since 2K4, but […]

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