The Eraser

Jose Vilson Jose

Thom Yorke

“The more you try to erase me
The more, the more
The more that I appear
Oh the more, the more
The more you try the eraser
The more, the more
The more that you appear …”- Thom Yorke, “The Eraser,” later sampled by CRS (Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and Pharrell) in “Us Placers”

I try to never ever talk about my place of employ. It makes sense because, despite the lack of consistency with my kids, I’m pleased in general with how things have shaped up recently, and am always happy with the communication between my co-teachers and I (at least the main ones). However, I can’t help but feel some sort of empathy when I hear of someone who tries their hardest to maintain a sense of self while everyone around them tries to crush that identity. In other words, what’s with all the hating?

There’s the light sort of hating I usually engage in with my friends, throwing soft jabs at one another just for fun. That’s all well and good, because it’s necessary to bring that sort of levity into any amicable relationship. As long as there’s no sense that one is trying to alpha dog the other, or mortify the other person completely, then that’s fair game. There’s also the case of the teacher like me, who hates on his kids all the time, simply because I really want to see them do better. I need to keep them humble and critically thinking about various aspects of their lives, and not just the math on their sheets. Again, these are rules of engagement.

However, there’s also the sort of hating where people really try to bring you down for no apparent reason other than to further some selfish agenda, even if the first person’s trying to better the collective. I’m always amazed at the stories some of my fellow teachers tell me. Some of the anecdotes I hear compare readily to stories you hear from war veterans and seafarers. Stories of mutiny, tyranny, incompetence, and betrayal make me think that this world really is on a downhill slope on skates with no protective gear.

Granted, some people exaggerate. For instance, all those little twits on MySpace who generate hatred towards them because it’s the only way for them to get messages / page hits / friends in general and thus garner the attention and hate they so desire (versus let’s say, apathy) don’t count. Others still deserve to be hated on for the dumb trends they start like a Paris Hilton, a Cam’ron (no pink on my person), or political figures like Clarence Thomas, or a Condoleeza Rice, considered amongst the worst race traitors of all time.

But within that realm lie people who don’t deserve some of these peoples’ spew. Hypothetically speaking, if another teacher decided to discredit my teaching skills simply for my physical appearance, my skin color, or my perceived accent (it’s not that strong at all), then I might have to get gangsta up in the place. If someone decided to try and tell me how to do my job when I’m more qualified, have more years of experience, have more degrees, garnered a better reputation, and don’t have a scuff on my record whereas the hater does, then I’d have a hard time biting my tongue. Even when times call for a more professional attitude, sometimes I agree that we need to show people we can step out of that realm so they won’t get too close to our person.

It’s like the more they try to erase you, the more you appear, and the more they use the eraser, they more they show their true colors. The sweetest part of it all comes when, after all the defamation and derision, you’re left standing on the heap of their rotting defenses, the sweetest aftertaste in a dish best served cold.

jose, who is definitely nervous about the state math test, but did as well as he could with what he had …

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