February 11, 2008

Obama and the Bronx: The Malcolm/King Fear

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Where I sit every day at a high school in the Bronx, there’s not yet the same kind of Obama fervor and hope that others have reported—though there is some sympathy and interest.

From Black working-class parents and staff members, there is one overwhelmingly most frequent comment: “I think they’ll kill him if he gets it.” The “it“ is either the nomination or the presidency itself,

It’s like you’re setting this man up for an early demise if you support him. It seems to have a paralyzing effect, not only on electoral participation but on any kind of activism.

That's mostly from the parents and staff. From the students who think about social issues on a regular basis—a minority at my school—elections aren’t really on their horizon. They’re into 9-11 conspiracy videos on the net. For example, both the history teacher and I (the social worker) have been asked by some of the smart, sorta emo kids to watch a video at “zeitgeistmovie.com.” I plan to do so and hope I can find a way to dialogue with the students about this. They understand it might take a minute because us old fogies have old computers that it’s hard to watch videos on.

I ‘m curious about whether others are running into either or both of these reactions to current politics.

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