There is still far too much on my plate these daze. A repeat from 2007, when Barataria started, is a good lead-in to the upcoming tenth anniversary. This basic philosophy still stands – the world is either magical or terrifying, depending on how you let your imagination run. Whichever you pick is up to you. But the systems which run the world are based on a very different assumption all around.
This time of the year, the holidays bring back memories that allow us to see the world, once again, through the eyes of a child. This is not some sentimental side effect of the rituals we go through, but is in many ways the reason they are important. A few moments spent contemplating this over a swirling mug of cocoa can show that seeing the world through the eyes of a child is actually a vital lesson.
The United States is still an amazing nation which attracts millions of people every year who want a better life. What they find when they come here, however, has to cause some dismay. As open as our society is it still has barriers, lines drawn in stark black and white. Racism remains at the core of nearly every aspect of public life.
Racism isn’t just a part of our culture – it seeps into everything. A discussion of public policy eventually degrades into “those people” who “take from the system”, a series of code words carefully intoned now that openly racist language has been purged from polite conversation. This year a certain demagogue has inflamed that speech into a violent public melee, and it horrifies us. Is this really America in 2016?
Yes, it is. Racism is at the core of everything. And we don’t know how to deal with it.
A celebration of Black History Month
Our third grade class filed under the concrete breezeways that loosely connected the classrooms of Coral Reef Elementary, past the Seagrape tree at the end of the open courtyard, and into the big cafeteria. It was the only space large enough to hold all the energy of so many kids, cooled only by tall jalousie windows that caught the breezes off Biscayne Bay. The air inside was heavy and anxious, and just like nearly everything in Florida it could be oppressive if you let it get to you. But we kids just took it in and made it exciting. This was our music class, the time when we could bubble our energy in a new song taught to us on the tired piano by Mr. Michaels.
Lift every voice and sing, till earth and Heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty;