It's Just a Poem

“It’s just a poem,” Autumn Ashante, 7, explained of her “proud and powerful” lyrical offering that has set off a firestorm of controversy and a media feeding frenzy.

While saying that the “Black and Spanish” students cheered, a handful of white students did walk out, Ashante replied, “I think it was sad and I am confused because they are making a big fuss about a poem.”

She understands however that the official response means that, “It was effective to them.”

In a Related Story: Peekskill police investigate postcards with "hate material" - anti-black, anti-Semetic, anti-Hispanic - which were found in various locations around the city, but do not believe it is related to Autumn's poem.


Paul Hue said...

I wonder how the girl and Nadir would feel about a similar poem by a white kid, blaming blacks for today's and yesterday's problems, illuminating on all the horrible details only of black societies and their leaders, including the fabled Shaka Zulu and the Egyptian kings, so famously and "proudly" displayed on the Budweiser Great Kings of Africa calenders, and describing white societies and leaders only in terms of their accomplishments.

Paul Hue said...

I would expect a demonstration like the one by Autumn to trigger white bigots to act on their own even uglier views.

Nadir said...

It would be inaccurate to blame black people for the today's and yesterday's problems because black folks aren't in charge. In fact, what you describe is American history books up until the 1960s, and many of them only changed over the last 10 years.

I know you've read Zinn's "People's History." I don't know if you have read Loewen's "Lies My Teacher Told Me", but you certainly know that American History books notoriously whitewashed the truth to paint a more glorious history of the most sordid parts of America's past.

I would react as I did in US History class in high school. I would argue and I would do my own research and present my own evidence to counter the claims of the teachers.

I wouldn't whine or storm out. I would argue and debate. The truth will never be heard if everyone just gets pissed off and walks away or if we all start shouting racist epithets at each other.

White bigots obviously don't need an excuse, but it would not be a surprise if they did react because of Autumn's poem.

Paul Hue said...

Nadir: I certainly agree that it is illogical to blame blacks for today's and yester's problems over which they they have no control. However, today black folks have control over many entitities, including their own selves, as well as many cities, including Detroit. Black control of Atlanta and Chicago (and, I believe, New York City) coincided with those cities arising from total fiasco to absolute success; black control of DC and Detroit has so far been largely unsuccessful. Similarly, black control of their own lives was amazingly and universally successful the first go-round (1865 - 1880), and now (a concept about 30 years old) mostly successful (example, Andrew) but to a significant extent also unsuccessful (Andrew's sister).

Paul Hue said...

Nadir: I agree with you about inaccuracies with US history books, as exemplified by the school mural that Autumn complained about, depicting black folks worshiping a Jesus-like Abe Lincoln and black laborers building the pyramids for white pharohs. I totally support correcting those impressions, which would include:

- Showing that blacks played an essential role not only in winning the civil war and winning their own freedom, but also bringing freedom to the south, and showing that the south was unfree and undemocratic for everyone. Expressions of these facts, I propose, should manifest in naming schools and streets for slave rebels, as well as erecting statues for them, and retiring the similar tributes to confederates (moving their statues to muesams and renaming streets and schools for the black freedom fighters). It surely galls me no less than you that no school in the US is named for a black person who has taken arms against whites.

- Showing that that the pharoehs were black, but also showing that they ruled brutally and created their civilization from conquering various peoples with various languages and customs, and forcing them into a single despotic nation, just as the later kings of europe would do.

- Teaching the true extent of white empires, and showing that non-white empires behaved in these ways as well, and sometimes even triumphed over the white empires.

Paul Hue said...

Also: Teaching that although white conquest of blacks resulted in effacing original black languages and customs, (1) those white conquerers had themselves emerged from periods where their ancestors has been conquered and had their native tounges and customs replaced; and (2) the conquered blacks descended from people who had conquered others and imposed foriegn languages and customs on them. To use the example of Kunte Kente, his language may very well have been one imposed on his great grandfather by a conquering tribe, and may have been one that his father imposed on a tribe that he had felled.

The old history taught in school depicts white people as the only people who ever did any thing great, overlooking their horrible deeds and ignoring the great deeds of non-white people. The new history advocated by you and Autumn includes all the great deeds of non-white people, but details the previously overlooked atrocities only of whites. I object to this not because I am white (a group to which I hold zero emotional alligience), but because I object to anyting but the complete truth, and because I believe that the history you teach not only creates an inaccurate impression, this false impression unneccessarily divides people and propogates unneccessary greivences, among other problems. In short, you and Autumn replace the old unexamined, uncritical worship of whites with a new unexamined, uncritical worship of non-whites.