- What was the article talking about?
- What is your opinion of the article?
- What fault could readers have with Nas' writing?
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
"Ok, Miss, I get that the kid was murdered but did they run his pockets?"
Here's the back story that leads to that very disturbing comment made today in class.
Not sure if you all remember the heart breaking story of Derrion Albert a 16 year old high school student that was beaten to death in a Chicago melee after school last September. The scene was caught on video and broadcast on every news channel for days. I believe four teens were charged with his murder.
Last year I was upset to tears imagining if this happened to my son, a member of my family, or any of my boys in the program. It moved me to action and I created a three day lesson on Violence Among African American boys for the boys class. They were outraged by the footage, we talked at length about how their some of their ill thought out actions could have lasting consequences. We argued over the importance of having a "rep" vs. staying alive. I even used Nas' Open Letter to Young Warriors in Chicago. The boys were moved, touched, and inspired. I would say out of the 34 boys in the class, at least 30 of them were moved by the events and my lesson charging them to make a difference.
That was last year.
This year, I opened with just the Nas letter which I read out loud in class. I asked them 3 questions:
The discussion that followed was great. They were actively participating and anxious for the back story. After I told them Derrion's story and how upset I was, and what I did last year, I fielded several of their questions: "Did they find his killers?" "Why did they pick him?" "How come the people videotaping didn't stop to help him?"...and then I got:
"Ok, Miss, I get that the kid was murdered but did they run his pockets?" At first I didn't think I heard him correctly, and I asked the student to clarify, "I mean, I get that he was dead and all, but did they get anything out of it?"
I must have blacked out for a minute and was rendered speechless because the boys all pounced on him with their own astonishment:
"THEY KILLED HIM!"
"WHO ROBS DEAD PEOPLE?"
"DID HE JUST SAY WHAT I THINK HE SAID?"
And very calmly this student kept explaining that it didn't make sense to let "his stuff go to waste...why just beat somebody to death and not rob them too?"
It took me a few minutes to get back to my lesson and move on to the writing a thesis based on this topic, letter, and tragic event.
This is frightening...or am I just oversensitive?