Black Kids in Uganda? What About Black Kids Here?
|March 7, 2012||Posted by admin under Musings||
In the age of social media, protest seems more like a social event where the struggling don’t know they’re competing for your attention.
KONY 2012, an event attempting to bring awareness to the plight of child soldiers in Uganda, has risen to spring break in Cancun levels in the past day. People have supposedly rallied together for a cause that will help bring more awareness to all injustice in the world (I feel like I’ve heard this somewhere before).
It doesn’t help that Obama has already sent troops into Uganda and US intervention “at all costs” doesn’t exactly have a good track record (*cough* Rebels terrorizing and torturing the Libyan people *cough*).
However, what does it say when these same people who suddenly care so much about kids they’ve never met, won’t do anything for kids suffering next door, across the street or across town?
Half of black children in Oregon live in poverty.
We have a highly functioning school to prison pipeline where blacks make up four percent of the population but 25 percent of the prison population. This starts with the ridiculous rate of expulsions in preschool, where all toddlers are expelled at twice the rate of school aged children and black toddlers twice that of white ones. Even federal data has shown that black and Latino students receive harsher punishment in schools and that high minority schools offer less advanced classes than schools with smaller black and Latino populations.
Schools are getting closed all over Portland and it’s especially hurting students at high minority schools who are being squeezed into increasingly bigger classes. Meanwhile buildings like the recently closed Marshall High School are used sparingly throughout the year for district staff meetings instead of giving more kids a better environment to learn in.
All this while funding for after school programs and services for at risk youth are being cut.
Why can’t all these people rallying for KONY 2012 take the same energy to get a permit and occupy Marshall with supplementary education and after school activities for the kids in their own city?
The problems in Portland are just a microcosm of the problematic national dialogue on race.
Politicians have declared war on poor people, often using code words for black people, to galvanize a still prevalent racist undercurrent in the US.
We’re told to rally to get Rush Limbaugh off the air but conservative representatives are comparing welfare recipients to wild animals and proposing laws that make single parenthood a form of child abuse. We chalk it up to politics and let the rhetoric and indifference to their plight continue.
Black families are three times as likely to be homeless than white families in the US. This problem is staring us right in the face and yet we’d rather look to Uganda or whatever far away country strikes a cord with us the next week. How can we fix another country while ignoring the problems at home?