Happy Memorial Day, and thank you to all of those who served, and lost their lives, to protect this great country of ours…
As the child of two retired teachers, and as an occasional substitute teacher for the past five years in the New York City schools, I try not to be too hard on teachers who screw up.
The job is incredibly difficult, beyond stressful, rarely pays well, and moving up in the profession relies on so many factors out of your hands. So I sympathize, wholeheartedly, with most teachers who get in trouble for doing something a little wrong.
But man oh man, I feel absolutely zero sympathy, and complete anger, at these teachers in Houston you may have heard about last week. In a “mock” awards ceremony for two honors classes at Anthony Aguirre Junior High in Channelview, Tex., near Houston, a group of teachers handed out certificates to students that read “Most Likely to Cry over Every Little Thing,” “Most Likely to become homeless,” and most disgustingly, “Most Likely to Become a Terrorist.”
Lizeth Villanueva, a 13-year-old girl who is Salvadoran-American, was given that last designation, and she told the Washington Post that her teacher “just laughed” when she signed and handed her the certificate, just one day after the Manchester arena terrorist attack in Britain.
Lizeth’s mom, Ena Hernandez says she wants them fired or else “they will continue doing the same thing.”
It’s very, very hard to fire teachers, but these “educators” deserve it. What kind of a stupid, moronic, juvenile, idiotic thing did they think they were doing? In 2017, throwing the word “terrorist” around at teenagers who are anything but is borderline criminal, and reprehensible. Isn’t there a voice inside any of these people’s heads that think “Hmmm, maybe this is a pretty bad idea, it’s funny to us but it’s going to be horrible for the kids?”
And the fact that this was a group of teachers is even worse; that all of them thought this was a good idea… just so ridiculous.
Ugh. School’s hard enough these days without your teachers joking about you being homeless or a terrorist, you know?
**Next up today, I don’t know why I got thinking about this last night, probably because Memorial Day weekend always makes me think of outdoor barbecues and the start of summer fun. And I couldn’t get this out of my head until I went and found it: The classic, hilarious, completely not safe for work (but hey, you’re not working today, right?) Eddie Murphy skit from the early 1980s on cookouts. The video quality’s not great, but the jokes still hold up hilariously.
**And finally, the mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, presided over a pretty controversial event in his city last week, the removal of four Confederate statues that had been up forever.
Landrieu could’ve given a boilerplate speech about erasing a sad chapter of his city’s past, talked some empty words about reconciliation between black and white… but he didn’t. Instead, he gave a soaring, brutally honest speech about the hard truths people of his city must face. Here’s an excerpt:
These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for.
After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city…
Another friend asked me to consider these four monuments from the perspective of an African-American mother or father trying to explain to their fifth grade daughter who Robert E. Lee is and why he stands atop of our beautiful city. Can you do it?
Can you look into that young girl’s eyes and convince her that Robert E. Lee is there to encourage her? Do you think she will feel inspired and hopeful by that story? Do these monuments help her see a future with limitless potential? Have you ever thought that if her potential is limited, yours and mine are too?
We all know the answer to these very simple questions.
The whole speech is terrific; watch it above or read the transcript here. I hoped after then-candidate Obama’s historic speech on race in Philadelphia in 2008 things might have moved forward even a little bit in race relations in this country, but I’m not sure they have. Still, taking down statues that honor our racist past’s leaders with soaring words was a very impressive thing.