Monday, February 05, 2007

Let Her Eat Cake... And Her Words




Oprah Winfrey lost every shred of respect I ever thought I had for her.

It takes a lot for someone to lose my respect. And she has done it. She built a 40 million dollar school for girls in South Africa, and it opened on January 2nd. Then she destroyed her charitable donation by opening her mouth. When asked why she wouldn't spend that kind of money here, her Highness replied, "I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn't there...Inner-city kids here don’t appreciate the value of a free education…If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don't ask for money or toys. They ask for uniforms so they can go to school." (Source: The Daily News)

This woman has sat around for years, telling everyone her sob life story. About how life was, growing up in the South, struggling for everything she had. Telling us how hard work paid off in the end and got her where she is now. Well, let meask you something, sweetie:

Have you ever been to an inner-city school, Oprah? Not as a celebrity, but as a student? Have you ever had to share a textbook with three other kids because there aren't enough to go around? Had to be late to the next class because the teacher had to make photocopies of the homework from a textbook they won't let you take home? Do you know what it's like to go to school with a metal-detector, and police officers on every floor? Do you know the fear of coming to class will keep you from paying attention because you don't know who is going to jump you after school? How can a student be hungry for knowledge when they are hungry for food, clean clothes, a safe place to come home to at the end of the night where parents aren't fighting, or a place to come home to at all? Do you know what it's like to be a teenager and have children of your own and then have to find the strength to get up and come to class yourself? Do you know what it's like to deal with teachers who aren't properly equipped for the job they've taken on? To be taught by someone who thinks your work isn't good enough because you're black? Do you know what it's like to have to be hungry all day long because the school supplied food is inedible? Have you ever been so discouraged by the fact that you don't think you're smart enough, that you just give up because you have no one to tell you you're worth it, and you don't know it yourself? Have you ever been so worn down by the every-day goings on of an inner-city school that you just don't have the mental-capacity toget up and go back?

Hmmmm.....I can answer no for you to at least five of those questions. As a person who knows nothing about inner-city schools (especially here in New York, where I attended), you have little or no right to tell us what we do and do not deserve. There are no state-of-the-art computer labs for us to do our work in. There are no science labs with proper supplies that allow us to pass our chemistry classes without fear of what HCL will do to our one pair of good pants. We have no quality gym programs. There is a strong desire to learn but every time we get a spark started, someone or something comes to douse our flames. Kids would want to go to school if there were an incentive. And don't give me the "your diploma is incentive enough" bullcrap either. After twelve years in any inner-city school, those of us who make it to the finish line have little left to continue going. Sure, there are plenty of success stories, and I like to think of myself as one of them. But there are just as many kids who fall by the wayside because there isn't enough caring to go around. Politicians say the same things all the time, rehashing the rehash about how our children need this and how they need that. So why haven't we gotten it yet? Of course South African children don't ask for iPod's. Are they exposed to the advertising tactics that American children are exposed to? NO! So now we'll have a bunch of very-well educated South African girls come over to American and get the jobs that a perfectly good little American black girl couldn't ge because someone didn't give enough of a damn about her to say, hey, let me build you a quality learning system. And my final point is this: inner-city schools leave many of us without the proper educational fortification for this world even if we do make it to 12th grade. I'm sure any child in a properly funded educatinal complex would be able to tell you twice as many things as an inner-city child for the simple fact that they have the means to do so. So think about that the next time you open your mouth and put your foot in it.

3 Comments:

Anonymous J.GAIL said...

DAMN JACKI, YOU REALLY BROKE IT DOWN HERE. I HEARD THAT OPRAH QUOTE TOO AND DIDN'T THINK MUCH OF IT, BUT READING WHAT YOU HAD TO SAY PUT THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE. THANK YOU

9:18 PM  
Blogger PEPSI LOVER said...

wow ... i see you still doin your thang... hey read the book i love it... you are gonna be better than James Patterson, and Patrica Cornwell... i see great hings in ya future..

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Deliz said...

This is great info to know.

3:23 PM  

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