Videos on Race Identity
The text here will be far more meaningful to you if you watch all of the videos that are linked. Total time for these videos is about 22 minutes, with an optional bonus video adding another 8 minutes should you have either an interest in chess OR an interest just in watching youthful genius at work. (This is the kind of genius which master NYC teacher John Taylor Gatto once accurately referred to as being “common as dirt.”)
Consider the story of one great American who left his home and started working as a full time professional pianist at the age of 17 in 1920.
When Earl “Fatha" Hines was growing up in Pennsylvania, our country was experiencing some of the worst of the Jim Crow era. Lynchings of blacks were at an all-time high and an improvement in race relations within this country seemed like a hopeless dream for all but the most optimistic.
Hines rapidly rose to the top of the jazz world. By the time he was still in his 20s, his “organization,” as he liked to call his big band, was broadcasting all over the country from the Al Capone-controlled Grand Terrace in Chicago. And each year, until 1942, this phenomenally popular band toured throughout the country during the summer for three months.
Beginning in 1931, Hines’ band made its first tour into the deeply segregated South. He described that tour as being received more like an “invasion” than a “tour." His was the first all black band which had dared do this. His band faced threatening encounters with the police, had a bomb explode under their stage in Alabama, and endured all kinds of other racist confrontations during this first tour. Hines’ accounts of this in his autobiography entitled “The World of Earl Hines” are still memorable 30 yrs after I read them. As Fatha’ Hines put it in the 60’s “You could call us the first Freedom Riders.”
It’s true that Hines received success, love and respect from nearly everyone, up until his death at age 80. However, I guess there was still one big problem with this American who was born with black skin. As a child growing up in Pennsylvania, he had never received a memo from his local school district that he was a victim because of the color of his skin. Check out this 9 min example of what ends up happening when people like he and his parents miss such a memo. Truly, what a shame that little Earl didn’t have a more diligent white School Superintendent who could have taught him, when he was still an impressionable young child, that he should have accepted his designated role in life as an oppressed black person due to the institutionalized racism of the time. Not the imaginary “institutionalized racism” of Madison, WI in 2019, mind you, but the honest-to-God true institutionalized racism of his time, including within his own state.
Now, let’s flash forward 100 years to current conditions in a growing number of benighted schools, with Madison being an outstanding example. Here in Madison, all “children of color” can now easily learn to enthusiastically embrace the role of being a victim, starting at a very early age. What a wonderful gift from MMSD, paid for at taxpayer expense.
Consider this Tucker Carlson interview with Professor Michael Eric Dyson (6 min) which was made in 2017, 150 years after slavery was abolished in our country and 50 years after Martin Luther King was murdered. Watch it and try not to cringe. If you didn’t cringe, please feel free to leave a comment on why you didn’t.
And yes, while Professor Dyson is technically not from Madison, I think everyone will agree that this man would certainly would fit in very well here. The identity politics folks would undoubtedly love having a man like this calling Madison his home. And, from everything I’ve seen, so would Superintendent Cheatham and our MMSD Board.
Finally, to round out this quick survey, let’s take a trip to New York City.
In NYC, this is how an inter-city middle school in Brooklyn, MS #318, operated in 2014. (A three minute video about a famous school of young chess champions.) Most people would probably say that this public middle school, serving a low-income neighborhood of disadvantaged kids, is a success. But from an MMSD perspective, a school like this surely needs much more direction from the superintendent and school board to reach its full potential. Instead of encouraging students to excel at playing just a dumb little game like chess, that school surely really needs a superintendent to tell the school’s principal about how institutionalized racism has ensured that his students can never actually amount to much of anything. Instead of wasting their time being middle school national chess champions who can clean up most high school teams, these students should really be studying the historical and current institutional causes of their own oppression.
Schools like MS 318 are also made up of real live kids who are individuals and not just numbers. This concept is apparently unknown to our own superintendent here in Madison. With that in mind, here’s a profile of one of those real live 12 yr olds from that school. His dad wants him to join the navy, although this boy is not keen on the idea. (3 min video of James Black) For more on James, whether you enjoy chess or just appreciate watching an example of one of countless other young geniuses at work, check out this. In this video, he checkmates a chess grand master, rated at 2553, in a casual 8 minute game of speed chess with less than 2 seconds left. This is the optional video I mentioned at the start.
Have I made it clear enough to you on this website where I stand? MMSD is brazenly targeting the self-confidence of kids according to their skin color, as well as shaming other kids with a different color skin for the same reason. MMSD has been doing this for literally decades, and they have been getting away with it, year after year after year. It must stop.
Did I say “decades?” Yes I did. I first learned about racist indoctrination within MMSD from a teacher friend of mine. That was back in the 1980’’s, when she was just starting out as a new teacher in MMSD. One day she refused to take part in “equitably” dividing her own students according to the color of their skin, as directed by her advisor. Her young new fellow teachers were amazed that she had the nerve to stand up against this advice. Fortunately, she was lucky enough to end up spending most of her career, which is now coming to a close, in an MMSD school with a principal who had the backbone and common sense to always leave the job of teaching up to the teachers. Rather than kowtow to “Downtown” when it came to how her school, loaded with disadvantaged minority kids, was operated, this principal just told her trusted teachers to lock their doors and go their own way in teaching their students the way they thought best. Need I mention that this school had excellent morale between the teachers and administration?
But principals and teachers do retire. And they are replaced by different principals and teachers. For these replacements, their first job requirement is increasingly to demonstrate that they are good “team players,” no matter how clueless their coach may really be. And if they should stray, going with their conscience and refusing to be good team players, they will eventually be out of their jobs. See Karen Vieth and Sherman Middle School. and note that Ms Vieth was actually indeed an excellent team player with Superintendent Cheatham for three long years before this just became impossible to continue.
All of this is why I think it is so important that Superintendent Cheatham, along with any member of the current MMSD Board who supports her or the Board’s current policy of identity politics, should be replaced as soon as possible. I think that being a team player with the current MMSD system is not a wise idea at all, and that this ship MUST be turned. Or at least it must be if one’s interest is truly focused on the best welfare of our children going forward, which is clearly not the case within MMSD right now.
Remember friends, if you forget to vote during the MMSD Board primary on Feb 19th and general election on April 2nd, or if you don’t help me out by volunteering some of your time, or don’t make a financial contribution, you shouldn’t complain about MMSD in the future.
Unlike nearly all of the recent MMSD elections in recent history, this time you are being given a clear option at seat 5 to this out-of-control madness in 2019. And speaking of options, I think you also have clear options with Kaleem Caire and David Blaska at seats 3 and 4.
The primary on February 19th is almost here, so please contact me ASAP on how you can help spread the word. I am starting late, and I need help of all types.
Again, don’t forget to vote on the primary Tuesday, Feb 19th.
I look forward to hearing from you regarding offers of your much-needed support before it is too late!