I guess what I really wanted to write about yesterday was not only frustrations about being an inept educator from time to time, but also about the reason behind why marches and demonstrations like those that took place yesterday in Los Angeles have and need to happen.
I just didn't have the fodder.
Consider my fire fueled.
Last night "non-lethal projectiles" (a.k.a. rubber bullets) were used to disburse the apparently "unlawful assembly." According to Police Chief William J. Bratton:
[...] "certain elements of the crowd … began to create a series of disturbances."
During that activity, Bratton said, "Missiles were being thrown at the officers, and officers [were] responding."
Missiles? Riiiiiight. According to NPR which I listened to this morning on the way to school, the police were pre-assembled in riot gear. Only one person was arrested for this "series of disturbances" and more than a dozen people were injured, including reporters.
Okay, so there's the police issue, which is heavy on my mind considering the recent 15 year anniversary of the 1992 "riots" (uprising) which we'll be discussing in my U.S. History class at the end of the week to culminate our Civil Rights unit.
But, what gets my goat more is the general sentiment expressed by a coward of a man on NPR this AM who, granted, gave his name, but not the Los Angeles City department he works for (because he knows I'd sent him hate mail): "I'm sorry if you're poor, but your revolution is not here; it's in your country with your corrupt dictators." He also talked about how Los Angeles is overcrowded and how our schools used to rank among the top in the country (in the 1940s, mind you), problems for which immigrants are apparently responsible. Oh, right and also: "They should have rounded them up" at the march yesterday. "What's going on here," he says "is brown supremacy." (Did he really say that?!?!)
What is frustrating for me are that there are certain truths in what this man and others like him say; it is a logic that one can easily be sucked into. But his analysis is superficial; it does not take into account the factors of globalization (HELLO?!?!?!), our own countries labor and economic history, race, California's history/agricultural economy, neocolonialism, cultural imperialism, etc., etc., etc.
Yes, there should be revolution in 3rd world countries (yes, I'm using the term "3rd world" because I'm reading The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World, part of Zinn's People's History series, highly recommended, which legitamizes the term, as it is a better descriptor of the role of these nations in the world than the deficit-thought laden term of "developing world." end mini-rant.) Yes, there are corrupt dictators. Yes, Los Angeles is crowded. Yes, schools are worse.
No, not all countries from which immigrants come (documented or not) have corrupt dictators. No sir, the revolution is here. Our 1st world, capitalist, neocolonial influence is directly connected to the conditions in other countries. Where do we get our corn? Where do we get our bananas? Where do we get our soy? Our Starbucks? Whose land, whose self-sufficiency, whose self-determination in whose country is lost when the forces of globalization and multinationals move in? Not mine. Not yours. The revolution is not with the "corrupt dictators" but with the government and people who collude with those dictators, who supply them weapons and who put them into power in the first place, because the United States had something to gain for it.
Why is Los Angels overcrowded? Is it? Or is it just overcrowded with undesired "brown" people. Why is any urban center overcrowded in the United States? That's where the economic opportunity is. For everyone, not just for you, Mr. Jerkface. It's cheaper than the suburbs, or at least it was; it seems as cities undergo gentrification, the urban-suburban divide may soon switch to reflect older world cities, like Paris, where the poor were pushed out to the suburbs while the wealthy moved back in. Historical discriminating real estate practices (i.e. covenants, red lining, ghettoization, commercial investment or lack thereof) are also culprits in the development of housing and settlement patterns.
Why are schools worse? Or are they? They still "work"; they still do their job of providing a labor force. If you graduate students and send them to college, especially brown and black ones, who will clean your house? Who will serve you fast food? Who will harvest your strawberries? Not to mention the critical thinking skills that are deprived students when standards-based curriculum reigns supreme. But, why would we want critical thinkers? Then they would criticize our economic system, racism, schools, the government, even. And God forbid any of those brown and black kids become leaders. I mean they can become community leaders and we'll write a piece in the paper about them, but not CEOs or governors, maybe president, but only because a black man is a better option than any woman.
Okay, and not everyone at the march was an undocumented immigrant. So, I dare you. Go! "Round 'em up!" Then, who will work in the fields tomorrow? Landscape your yard? Sew your clothes? And! Not all undocumented immigrants are Latino. If you're rounding up the Latinos, then I'd like to see you get the Canadians too, the Irish and the rest of the visa-overstayers (read: not the people crossing deserts or jumping ever-expanding fences, monitored by ever-more border patrols) who comprise the majority of "illegal" immigrants.
And "brown supremacy"?!?!? Come on. Really?! I don't even know what to say to that other than that I am guilty of thinking brown babies are cuter than white ones. Whatever sliver of the black and brown community that really believes that brown and black peopel are superior to whites, still comes up against a racial and economic system in the United States which every day tells them otherwise. Look around, people. Get out of the Hills, get off the beach and head east or south. Take your pick; just head somewhere out of your ass.