Ignorant and Stupid At the Same D### Time
By Torrance Stephens
Just like those who would actual sing and learn the words. I ran on it by happen stance when looking for NPR. A local radio talk show was playing it in Atlanta and the female disk jockey played the song and started singing it – the station will remain anonymous (V-103).
Now I know having fun and making people laugh is a good thing, but when it plays and promotes music that reflects injudicious and lowbred stereotypes, either the host, or the listeners should call in and correct this type of behavior. No wonder we are where we are as a community. Just this week a TSA screener was arrested at JFK Airport for throwing a cup of hot coffee at an airlines pilot who asked her and some colleagues to tone down a profanity-laced conversation and incessant use of the N-word” in a public terminal.
No wonder in Detroit, students tested from Detroit Public Schools have scored the worst in the nation time in science, according to national test scores. Results suggest that 80 percent of eighth-graders scored below the “basic” level, meaning they lack fundamental skills in science, while 17 percent scored at the basic level. Not to mention not a single student scored ‘advanced’ in reading and 73% of 4th-graders scored below the ‘basic’ level, which was the worst in the 40-year history of the test. TheNAEP reading test found 73 percent of Detroit fourth-graders below the “basic” level – meaning they lack even the basic skills that are the building blocks of reading.
But this is no different than other places across the nation, where data reveals that African American students lag behind their white peers by an average of more than 20 test-score points on the NAEP math and reading assessments at 4th and 8th grades (a difference of about two grade levels). In the 2008 National Assessment of Educational Progress conducted for grades 4, 8, and 12, findings revealed that the reading scores of African-American boys in eighth grade were barely higher than the scores of white girls in fourth grade. This may be why just 57 percent of African American students graduate on time compared to 82.7 percent of Asian students and 78.4 percent of white.
Now I am not hating, just pointing out the reality of attending behavior and how we as a collective are more likely to blame others and our environment than ourselves. Used to be a time when education and reading, even when our parents couldn’t read or never attended school, was valued higher than all except family and God. There is no valid reason or excuse as to why just 41% of Black men graduate from high school in the United States according to the Schott Foundation for Public Education.
Although the impact of systemic and historic racism are factor of everyday life for African Americans, especially males, what we do to ourselves (or do not do) contribute just as detrimentally to why we have the chances of going to prison were highest among Black males (32.2%) and are nearly half of all the murder victims annually of which around 96 % of whom were killed by other African Americans.
With songs as the one I referenced by the Atlanta rapper “Future,” and radio stations not having the decency to make responsible decisions about what is best for our community, it is no wonder we have folks like Curtis A. Davis Jr. was once friends with the three men he’s now charged with shooting to death March 27 at an apartment in Chicago, leaving one victim one victim on the porch with 33 bullet wounds, all because of an argument over a jacket. Or that there have been eighth separate flash mob attacks in Minneapolis in the last two months. Or Norman Washington Coley, 20, of Charlotte, who was just accused yesterday of burning his girlfriend’s child with an iron and then assaulted his girlfriend after becoming upset.
These may be examples some may think I am stretching, but I can give you another more recent, closer and terse example. A student in the department in which I teach is pregnant.She is trying to figure out what to do.She doesn’t want to leave school or her boyfriend.Which by the way is of the self-described “no-good, gangsta, thug motif.”Over the holidays he suggested that she make some money for them by “working the pole”, which she did while she was pregnant but not showing.Sitting down with her you find out that she knows better, she knows that HIV and STI rates among African American account for almost 70 percent of the new cases annually yet she still has sex without a condom. She knows that the dude she is with is bad, because her pregnancy was due to him raping her one night after he saw her dance in the club when they were not together.So now she and her mom are trying to figure out what to do.My suggestion was it should have been thought about before this and to leave the young man alone – which she won’t because she loves him. She says he wants her to have the baby and get back to stripping – Ignorant and stupid at the same d### time.”
Maybe it is wrong for me to care so vehemently about my community. Even still, I got it honestly from my family, especially the strong women and men that raised me being born in the segregated south. I know that there are many problems that are out of our control, but likewise, there are an inordinate number of things which we can control. We are a far cry from the men who valued education and liberty of the 60s and 70s to the new role models engendered in rap artist. One of my favorite quotes is by … Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” He is right. We may not be able to change everything, but one thing for sure we can change is being ignorant and stupid at the same d*** time.”