Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Cyberbullying Parental Advice and a Message for Bobby

Note:  Comments are moderated.  The content of this message is serious. If you are a minor, please watch this video with your parents.  Thank you.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

He’s Such A Sweet Boy: Gideon Yapp and the Crisis Involving the Bullying of Minority K-12 Educators

Note:  If you are visiting this blog to troll, and you leave a comment, please do know hat it will not be posted. It will be immediately deleted without reading it.  Therefore, I am asking that you please use your energy in a productive manner.  Thank you.

Today, I read a news story (  about how a white male high school student verbally assaulted an Asian American teacher.  I said to myself, “Here we go.  Brace yourself, because you know that you are about to read about some utter foolery.” After reading the article, I thought, “If I had even thought to scream at a teacher, I would still be feeling that ass beating from my parents.”

Although I am not an advocate of corporal punishment, I do believe that children need boundaries, and parents, in America 2017, should be held responsible for instilling values in their children, particularly in regards to how they treat educators.

The incident happened at Eastside High School in Lancaster, CA.  Dr. Franklin Hsu.  Let me retype his name – DOCTOR Franklin Hsu.  This is a man who has earned a doctorate, and yet a teen, who does not have a high school diploma, and probably can barely spell the word, diploma, let alone high school, felt confident enough to approach Hsu, and yelled “fucking nigger;” “fucking bitch.” 

I can guarantee you that he can spell nigger correctly.  

If Hsu had demonstrated to Yapp that he “got his bitch,” and assaulted Yapp, he would be out of a job.  Dr. Hsu would have been asked to submit his fingerprint card to his state, and he would never be able to teach high school again.

My number one issue with this entire scenario is the statement that Ashley Figgers, Yapp’s classmate, makes:  “He’s just, like, so sweet. . . “

There is a crisis occurring in American schools regarding teachers being bullied, especially educators of color.   On May 18, 2017, my experiences with cyberbullying were discussed on Showtime’s Dark Net (Season 2, Episode 7, My Community).  Showtime explores my relationships with students, who were given a free pass to stalk and bully me, and how I was forced to deal with microaggressions on a daily basis.  Since the program aired, the cyberbullying has intensified.  

As the male commenter states, in his analysis of the Hsu incident,  Dr. Hsu is dealing with the “ultimate, White entitled teen.”  I know that type quite well, and from my assessment, many, from this group, are a dangerous cancer in a minority teacher’s classroom.   Without doubt, this student has zero respect for Dr. Hsu, and I am not sipping the “he’s so sweet” tea.  While teaching high school in an affluent community, I was often demeaned by white male students.  One guidance counselor had the audacity to tell me, “But, Dr. Cobb, he’s so nice.  He’s such a good boy.  I can’t believe that he said that to you.”  I said, “Well, your “good boy” told me to ___________.”

When I walked away from her, I thought, “Would she describe a black male student as being a “good boy” if he had made a sexually inappropriate comment to her?” 


Yapp asks Dr. Hsu, “Who the fuck do you think you are?”  The question should be, “Who in the fuck do you think you are, Mr. Yapp?”   I have to fault many American schools for creating learning environments where white males feel that since they are that – a white male – that they can get away with misbehaving, because once calmed down, after having a “moment,” they can return to their typical demeanor, that being an “upstanding student.”  Yapp felt comfortable enough to invade Hsu’s personal space.  Let me tell you what may have occurred once Yapp overcame his “meltdown.”  Dr. Hsu was probably interrogated.  I know that script quite well.  Here it goes:

1.     This is a good boy.  We need to know what you did to cause him to have a “moment.”  Translation – Listen, Mr. Wax, On, Wax Off, we probably only hired you to meet our Asian quota.  What are your issues with our good white boy?  What did you do to provoke him? 
2.     We reviewed Gideon’s grades, and frankly, he’s only doing poorly in your class.  We would like for you to work with Mr. Smith (who does not have a doctorate).  He will be reviewing your grading, and he will determine if you are grading Yapp harshly.
3.     Do you have issues with White people?  If so, please let us know how we could help you. Maybe this isn’t the school for you, and you would do better at a high school that has a high percentage of minority students. 
4.     Dr. Hsu, we want you to know that your situation is not race-related.  This was merely a student having a bad week. Therefore, please don’t project your views towards race onto this student.

Students probably went on Twitter and Snapchat and posted a montage of comments about Dr. Hsu, and even though Yapp “wilded out,” they probably tweeted about how great of a person he is, and Dr. Hsu probably deserved to be called a “fuck nigger.”

Questions to consider:

1.     If Yapp had been black, would his White peers refer to him as “so sweet?”
2.     What teachers came to Dr. Hsu’s aid?
3.     Would a black male be expelled for having a “bad day,” or would he be given a second chance? 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

DULY NOTED: My Showtime Dark Net/Roland Martin Experiences And Reflections About Life As A WOKE AZ Educator


Indeed, the past 48 hours have been an absolute blur.  I started to make a video, but I said, "This needs to be written."  I have several points to address:

1. I will FOREVER be thankful to Showtime and Part 2 Pictures.  Aside from Jesus and my family, they have been my "rock" in a weary land.
2. Black folk need to quit saying that White folk don't help black folk out.  See #1.  I turned to organizations such as the Maricopa County NAACP for assistance during my time in hell with a certain high school.  In December 2013, I contacted a Maricopa County NAACP board member.  For the purpose of this post, I will refer to her as Dr. Red.  Dr. Red also was an Asst. Supt. at the Arizona Department of Education. I informed Dr. Red that I had been discriminated against due to race, gender, and y'all know the rest. As noted in the January 2016 t shirt incident, that school has mega issues with race. Red informed me that she wasn't certain what type of assistance that she could provide me since her jurisdiction @ the AZ Dept. of Ed was limited.  Girl, BYE.  Let me say that again - GIRL, BYE and NITE! NITE! She was one of about FIVE black folk working at the AZ Dept. of Ed at that time, and you mean to tell me that she couldn't refer me to someone else?  O.K.  I reminded the woman of her position with the Maricopa County NAACP.  Her response - "Duly noted."  Please "duly note" the following:  You failed an African American woman in the state of Arizona.  Period. Instead of helping me, the Maricopa County NAACP was too busy in 2014 passing out awards to school districts who were allowing cyberbullying and stalking to occur on their campus.   Dr. Red is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.   Per DST's website, "Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated is an organization of college educated women committed to the constructive development of its members and to public service with a primary focus on the Black community."  Sigh.
3. It was such an honor to be an invited guest of Roland Martin's. Roland's staff is absolutely wonderful.  Roland is WOKE and he stays WOKE.
4. Dr. Paul Miller has been AMAZING to me.  Like Roland, Miller is WOKE and he stays WOKE.
5. The racist Internet trolling has started.  I am a patient at a local medical office.  An employee, from that medical practice, created a Facebook post where she referred to me as a "fucking crazy bitch."  Her friends chimed in and called me a "Q-Tip" and a "cunt."  The medical office has refused to discipline her.  If I was a White female, and a black employee had written such filth about a patient, you already know what would have happened.  America, 2017.  Said White female proceeded to have her friend go onto a social media page and refer to me as a "nutcase" who has a "reputation" in Ahwatukee.  What Susy Friend did not realize is that she selected the wrong forum to berate a black woman.  Black and white women banded together and "checked" her.  There ARE some folks that see the importance of intersectionality.
6.  I am thankful for all of my friends who ordered Showtime to see me.  They were APPALLED that a school district could allow that type of garbage to occur, and then a judge awarded them summary judgment.  I had to remind them that this is the State of Arizona. PERIOD.  One friend called me at 4 AM today saying, "Cicely, what in the fuck?!  My wife and I watched that shit, and you mean to tell me that white kids could stalk your ass, assault you in your classroom, post it online, and cyberbully you and the State of Arizona sided with their asses?"  Uh, yeah.
7.  State of Arizona, folks are irate about y'all allowing schools to cyberbully and stalk teachers.  AZ Department of Education, please get woke, quit taking these school district's word as Gospel, and INVESTIGATE! INVESTIGATE! INVESTIGATE!
8. It is rather exhausting trying to explain to white folk that just because someone is African American does not mean that they are WOKE.  Yes, a black person can hire you.  Yes, a black person can ensure that you do not succeed, and yes, black bosses can sabotage and fire black employees.
9. I would be honored if a sorority sent me an invitation, because if y'all are looking for an empowered woman, I would be that person.  I hope that my story has motivated teachers to rise UP and FIGHT against the mistreatment of teachers.  Get an attorney.  Honestly, don't waste your money with teacher unions, because the campus reps, from my experience, are typically not helpful. I had one who said to me, "Dr. Cobb, I can't help you, because I am so close to retirement, and I fear that she will retaliate against me."  I paid $600 for THAT?  The Arizona Education Association honestly needs to refund me my dues for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years.  Their state reps are ineffective.  They will sit in a meeting, and when something "pops," and they are asked to recall what happened, they all of a sudden have selective amnesia.  GIRL, BYE.  There is one right at the Arizona Education Association that is absolutely useless.  The African American state rep talks a good talk, but when it's time to speak up for a sista, WELL. . .
10. People have contacted the Arizona Department of Education regarding my Dark Net episode.  The administrative assistant informed one friend that the Department of Education was unaware of my ill-treatment.  Had they known, they would have assisted me.  AZ DOE, how did you not know?  I was assaulted in my classroom in January 2014.  Per state statutes, the school should have notified you about the assault on the campus.  Hmm, why don't you look up the paperwork?  Please don't tell me that you were not notified about the assault.  GASP!  I don't care if it was someone hitting me with a sheet paper or their fist.  ASSAULT IS ASSAULT IS ASSAULT IS ASSAULT.
11. Nick and Quintin, I will forever be indebted to you.  THANK YOU for taking a STAND and telling the NATION that I was bullied.  You did more for me than any educator in the state of Arizona.  Quintin let viewers know that I am not a "crazy and angry black woman."
12. Racist white folks, from my perspective, tend to label woke black women as crazy/angry.  That's their come-back statement.  Nope. I'm good.  Y'all are crazy to even think that it's okay for white children to form a lynch mob and rebel against an educator.  Then, your kids want to act as if they are a victim?  You need to update your playbook.  Woke Americans are seeing straight through your plays.
13.  People keep saying that I need to leave AZ.  WELLL, that takes MONEY.  Feel free to create a GoFundMe page.  :)

If you haven't watched my episode, please do so.  The trailer can be found at:


Friday, May 19, 2017

A Little Black Girl From The 219 and ROLAND MARTIN!

Please be sure to watch me today on TV One.  I am spending the morning with Mr. Roland Martin.

Truly, this is such an honor.  To God be the GLORY!  My interview will be about the "My Community" episode of Showtime's Dark Net.  If you have not watched "My Community," please watch it on Demand.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Dark Net: My Community

Please watch tonight's episode of Dark Net  on Showtime. You will see how I dealt with Cyberbullying and stalking while working at Desert Vista High School. This is the same school where six white females spelled out the racial slur, nigger, with their t shirt.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Y’All Got Jokes: The Myth That K-12 School Bullying Is Down

In her May 11, 2017 article, “School Bullying is Down.  Why Don’t Students Believe It?,” NPR education journalist, Anya Kamenetz, reports that school bullying is down (  She cites that “every state now has laws against school bullying,” and school districts have restructured their disciplinary process.  Similar to Nancy Reagan’s 1980s “Say No To Drugs” campaign, social media and news outlets have denounced bullying and addressed the impact that occurs when children are targeted.  

Because of these drastic measures, in regards to bullying, schools are “all good.”
Ms. Kamenetz’s essay is a fine example of educational satire.  Despite reports from Pediatrics’ recent study, which claims that “bullying is down,” it is not.  The recent death of Gabriel Taye, an 8-year-old African American boy from Cincinnati, OH suggests that bullying is still problematic in U.S. schools.   In “Fix this epidemic’: Mother’s plea after bullied 8-year-old is found hanged,” Joshua Rhett Miller discusses how the Carson Elementary student hanged himself after experiencing an attack in his school’s bathroom (  The video surveillance shows that another student threw the child against a bathroom wall two days prior to his death. 

 Unfortunately, Gabriel did not inform his mother, Ms. Cornelia Reynolds, about the bullying.  The Cincinnati Public School, also, failed to advis Reynolds about what transpired at Carson.  After prosecutors obtained the restroom’s video surveillance, they realized that for 23 minutes, Gabriel was assaulted.  He attempted to shake hands with another male student, and instead of the action being reciprocated, the attacker pushed Gabriel against a wall.  For six minutes, students took turns kicking and poking Gabriel.  Finally, an assistant principal entered the bathroom and helped Gabriel.   Per Reynolds, school staff called and asked her to pick Gabriel up from school.  They informed her that Gabriel had fainted.  There was no mention of him being attacked.   Gabriel was taken to the hospital due to excessive vomiting.  Doctors diagnosed him as having the stomach flu.  Two days later, the young boy committed suicide.  Reynolds desires to be the “voice” of her late son.  She is pleading with parents to “fix this epidemic” that cost her the life of her only child. 

Pediatrics claims that school bullying is down.  My question is – Is bullying down because schools are not presenting accurate information? It seems that the only thing that is “improving” is the measures that schools employ in order to hide assaults from both parents and researchers.  Ron Avi Astor, a professor the University of Southern California, says that “child abuse, violence, murder rates [have] hit record lows.  There’s something normative happening in societies, not just schools.”
Hmm, since when did 8-year olds hanging themselves and school administrators witnessing attacks, yet failing to report them to parents, become examples of normative behavior?  Y’all got JOKES.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Don’t Get Sassy With Me: The ‘Angry Black Girl’ Narrative in K-12 Education

African American women are under attack.   As seen on the news with Sandra Bland, the cyber bullying involving actress Leslie Jones, and the silencing of journalist  April Ryan,  black women are being killed, trolled, and ridiculed for simply existing.  Our bodies, and especially our mouths are being policed.  

This epidemic is not simply an adult crisis; black girls are being tormented at schools that proudly contain “Safe Haven” stickers on their doors.  A prime example of black girls’ oppression occurred at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C. A Caucasian high school resource officer (SRO) assaulted an African American female.  The 16-year-old student was arrested and suspended.  Her classmate, 18-year-old Niya Kenny, filmed the assault; she was also suspended. Her crime – she encouraged her peers to film the officer’s actions.  When their suspension ended, the girls returned to school, where they described their learning environment as “hostile.”  Both students began missing school. 

The “angry/unruly black girl” trope is playing a major role in American schools.  As Monique W. Morris, the author of Pushout:  The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools states in “The Untold Stories of Black Girls,”  “black girls are getting the message that no one wants them there [in school] more than other girls” (   Morris interviewed girls from San Francisco, Southern California, Chicago, New York, New Orleans, Boston.  Some of the girls “had been in juvenile detention, gangs, foster care, and group homes.”  Others were homeless and victims of sexual exploitation.  Despite these adversities, they saw the value in education.  Unfortunately, school was more of a “hostile space” than their place of refuge.  One student informed Morris that, “in school, if you get in an argument with a teacher, you damn near lost.  . . If it’s a student and teacher, the student’s automatically in trouble.” The girls, also, claimed that they would get into trouble for asking questions. 

This information made me reflect upon my own teaching experiences and observations.  I have witnessed white females ask questions, often in an aggressive manner, and their teacher applauded them for their critical thinking skills.  When black females acted in a similar manner, the same instructors would become combative, and sometimes, rather than calling the girls by their first name, they became Ms. Jackson.  By addressing them in this manner, Caucasian teachers were basically saying, “Look, black girl, I’ve enough.  Cut the sass and know your place.” 

Morris raises an excellent point: “Most teachers do engage in their work with love. [But] we’re all impacted by implicit biases.  If we’re not actively monitoring and holding ourselves and institutions accountable, we’re missing the mark completely and leaving girls much more vulnerable.”

As noted by Morris, these girls are dealing with conflicts that the average adult would find challenging.  What I have found disturbing is the relationship that African American female teachers have with black female adolescents.  I have worked at institutions where so-called mentoring programs were established for black girls who were struggling with school, family, etc. . . These young women confided in these black females, and unfortunately, these educators would gossip about how the children spoke, dressed, etc. .  .  One actually said to me, “Do you see those leggings that she has on?  Our people.” 

In her book, Morris discusses how black girls are already trying to exist in a “landscape” that is not complimentary towards them.;  From my perspective, however, some fellow black female educators are embracing the same stereotypes that their White peers adhere to.  Rather than rewriting the black girl narrative, many African American female teachers are adding a chapter to the book.

The house slave mentality.  Sigh.

Public schools need to reinvent how African American girls are mentored.  Black girls are six times more likely to be suspended to white girls.  The school-to-prison pipeline is as fierce for African American girls as their male peers.  The desire to “push out” black girls leads to a cycle that becomes a generational one.  I know of a family where a woman has multiple daughters.  Each daughter ended up having multiple children out of wedlock.  As I reflect back, I recall that the sisters would be what the average teacher would classify as “loud.”   I wonder if their former teachers pushed them out to a world of babies by multiple fathers.  What hidden messages were found in their loudness?  If someone had been able to decipher this information, would their life be different?

Since many African American parents have elected to enroll their children at charter schools, I researched how charter schools are disciplining black children.  The results were alarming.    In “Where Charter-School Suspensions Are Concentrated, “ George Joseph states that during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years, of the 50 New York schools that had the highest number of suspension rates, 42 of the schools were charter schools (    These schools were located in predominantly African American neighborhoods.  A number of these schools operate on a surveillance/demerit system.  If many of the black female students, are already fractured, how are these programs beneficial?

Reformation is needed to better assist African American girls in K-12 education. 


1.     Recognize that this problem actually exists.  It is not a matter of someone using the “race card.” 
2.     Talk with students and listen to their needs.  Pay attention to their nonverbal cues.
3.     Based upon these conversations, create a discipline strategy that is nurturing

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

My Child Will NOT End Up In A Chicago Morgue! An African American Mother’s Quest to Save Her School-Age Son

On Sunday, the United States will be celebrating Mother’s Day.  Rather than spending this week reflecting upon the birth of her children, and her first Mother’s Day,  my friend, Teri (Note:  All names have been changed in this post),  An African American parent, is spending this week in distress due to Aaron’s issues at school.  Teri and I have previously talked about Aaron’s challenges, and when I mentioned my upcoming posts regarding the school-to-prison pipeline, she agreed to answer some questions for me.  The following information includes my questions and Teri’s responses:

       Are white teachers to blame for pushing black children through the school-to-prison pipeline?

        Although I am not in a position to fairly answer this question, I do believe that some white teachers have contributed to pushing black children through the school-to-prison pipeline.  I also believe that some black teachers play a role in this as well.

2.       Did your child’s school fail to adequately discipline him?  If yes, please provide examples.

         My child's school did adequately discipline.  My son was allowed to step out of the classroom to calm down, he was allowed to speak with someone from the "discipline" team and he was also allowed to call me.  When none of these options worked to get him back on track then demerits were given (school protocol).  Four or more demerits lead to detention.

3.       How many black teachers are at your child’s school?  Do they serve as mentors/teachers, or were they hired to discipline?

        There are a good number of black teachers, male and female.  They serve as mentors, in addition to the entire staff and faculty, which I really like.  There is a disciplinary team that consists of black, White and Hispanic.

4.       Have you seen examples of white supremacy at his school?

        No, I have not.

5.       Have any teachers labeled your child as a “monster?” 


6.       Have his teachers showed clear examples of bias? If so, please provide examples.


7.       How is racism handled at his school?

         This hasn't been an issue.  While the majority of students are black, the staff and faculty are a good mix of races.

8.       What are the school. Demographics?

         The majority are black students in a black neighborhood.

9.       Is the school public, private, or charter?


10.   What made you select his school?

        It's a college prep elementary school which is what drew me as there are none of its kind on the Southside of Chicago.  The school came highly recommended.

11.   Has your son been disciplined for being too aggressive (verbally or physically)?

       Yes, my son has been disciplined for being too aggressive.

When I received Teri’s questionnaire, I said, “Hmm, there is more to this story, and if I ask her about these questions via a phone conversation, she will reveal more.”  As a seasoned educator, I detected that there was some subtle racism occurring at her children’s school, Legacy Charter.   Yesterday, Teri called me, and she provided me with some background information about Legacy.  Legacy Charter is similar to “old school” Catholic schools.  Discipline is fierce.  The school has a 98% minority student population.

 Legacy operates on a demerit system. For instance, four demerits results in a detention.  Students can fail due to discipline issues. For instance, a straight-A student may have to repeat a grade if his behavior is inappropriate.

·         Both Aaron, and his older sister, Tori, attend Legacy Charter.   Tori is doing okay at Legacy.

·         Per Teri, Aaron is “hardheaded,” and his behavior is problematic.   Aaron does not know how to adequately handle conflict.

·         Aaron lacks confidence.  He is a smart student, yet when in distress, he has shared with his teacher, 
      Mrs Ambrose (a White woman),  that he desired to commit suicide. Per Teri, Ambrose does not know how to “effectively discipline our children.”  She exhibits passive-aggressive behavior.  Teri observed this first-hand after spending a few hours in Mrs. Ambrose’s class and watching how she dealt with African American children.

·         Teri stated that Mrs. Ambrose has a “Superman” mentality.  In short, Ambrose views herself as a “Savior.”

·         Teri does not believe that Aaron is suicidal.  Instead, she believes that due to Mrs. Ambrose’s ineffectiveness, when it comes to disciplining black children, Aaron made this comment. 

·         Aaron was mandated to have a psychological evaluation.  His school’s social worker, Ms. Arroyo, who Teri refers to as a “textbook social worker,” also had to report the incident to DCFS.  DCFS evaluated Teri, her husband, and daughter in separate 1:1 conversations.  She determined that Aaron was residing in a safe and loving environment, and he was not suicidal. 

·         For two weeks, Aaron was forced to attend school at a psychological facility.  Teri’s insurance was billed.

·         Girls have started to bully Aaron.  Teri shared this information with Mrs. Ambrose, and she said that she trusted the girls.

·         Due to a recent incident, Teri is in the process of withdrawing her son from Legacy Charter.  She is considering enrolling Aaron at an all-black grade school.  She questions if things would have been different if the school contained more “seasoned” teachers and had a support system – one geared towards helping teachers with black students – in place.

·         Teri also plans on taking Aaron to a morgue.  She does not want him to become a “Chicago statistic,” and maybe by seeing what death looks like, Aaron may realize the need to behave.

From my assessment, Mrs. Ambrose is digging the path to send Aaron to prison.  Rather than adequately trying to diffuse the behavioral issues, she adds “fuel” to the “fire.”  Teri has received texts, while at work, about Mrs. Ambrose’s frustration over Aaron passing gas “too loud” in class.  Multiple times, Teri has had to leave work in order to take Aaron home due to his inappropriate behavior.  Teri is an advocate  of corporeal punishment, but it is not working.   Beating ass is not the key to helping your child behave when he has dealt with the after-effects associated with a white teacher who has “enforce[ed] harsh discipline practices that disproportionately impact students of color.”

As Jamie Utt notes in “10 Ways Well-Meaning White Teachers Bring Racism into Our Schools,” both exclusively white and diverse school schools fail to properly discipline children of color.  Ta-Nehisi Coates argues that Caucasian teachers’ failure to have a substantial amount of cultural awareness prompts them to severly discipline black children who are already facing hardships due to their socio-economic background and neighborhood.  

Instead of routinely calling Teri, Mrs. Ambrose needs to consider modifying her disciplinary methods and suggest the same to her peers.  Also, she needs to consider the message that she is sending to Aaron – White is right.  She is the competent, White teacher, and he is the black “monster.”
Teri’s morgue comment has troubled me.  American educators and sociologists are researching the school-to-prison pipeline, but what about the school-to-morgue pipeline, albeit suicide or the streets killing black boys?  The school’s website claims that their students have the potential to attend college, and they are striving to provide the children with the resources to get there. 


Questions to consider:

1.       Is Mrs. Ambrose aware that she is a low-key racist?
2.       If Mrs. Ambrose was asked if she had racist tendencies, how would she react?
3.       Are charter schools adequately preparing white teachers for dealing with black children and behavior patterns that are cultural?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Call Me Ms. Becky: Caucasian Female K-12 Educators and Their Role in the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Disclaimer:   I do not want to provide you with the misconception that I am anti-white.  I love and celebrate all races.  This educational blog’s purpose is to discuss issues impacting K-12 education.  It happens that current research is addressing race in K-12 education and how African American and Caucasian instructors are handling this important topic.    Thank you.

Two of my favorite former instructors are white women – Ms. Kathleen Hill and Dr. Gwen A. Tarbox.   These women are definitely woke, and they have been awake since before it became “fashionable."  Hill and Tarbox nurtured me, and I am greatly indebted to them. I met both at critical junctures in my life – third-grade and my first year of college at Purdue University.  We talked about key issues pertaining to race, class, and gender.  They met me at my level and did not sugarcoat the issues that I was experiencing as a young black female.

Sadly, a growing number of African American children are not sharing a similar experience.  In “Are White Female Teachers Most to Blame for Pushing Black Children Through the School-To-Prison Pipeline?,” Gus Renegade discusses how white supremacy is impacting African American K-12 teachers.  For years, I have shared with friends that our society wants to solely place the blame on white male teachers for the school-to-prison pipeline.  I have personally witnessed White female teachers mistreat black students.  During the 2008 Presidential election,  I taught at an urban high school, and a white colleague was irate that Obama won. I often wondered if her ill treatment of African American boys had anything to do with Obama being elected as our President.   I also found it extremely offensive how a Golden Negra saw this woman’s treatment first-hand and rather than intervene, she joined the bandwagon and demeaned black children.  In fact, they are close friends.

Self-hatred is an epidemic. 

Renegade, also, believes that that white females play an active role in the failure of black youth.  He suggests that we can look at examples of plantation mistresses’ treatment of black male slaves.  Another example would be how Carolyn Bryant admitted in The Blood of Emmitt Till that she had lied about her so-called inappropriate interaction with 14-year old Till.  As Lucy Michael, a professor at Ulster University states, while teaching black children, many white women are “not blind to their own cultural practices but deeply committed to them.” 

Renegade supports Michael's theory by discussing how in 2014, shortly after Eric Garner’s murder, 24 White female educators wore a t-shirt demonstrating their support of the NYPD.  The U.S. Federation of Teachers requested that NY educators refrain from wearing shirts that contained a ‘trigger’ message in front of minority youth; however, these women elected to support “New York’s finest.” 

Questions to consider:

1.     What message were they sending to their black students and colleagues?
2.     If students rebelled, due to the teachers wearing the shirts, who was to blame?  Who was branded as the instigator?

A book that should be included in every multicultural education course is The Monsters We Make:  Unconscious Racism and Stereotype-based Teacher Expectations in the 21st Century Urban Classroom.  Gibson argues that white supremacy has America drinking the “black folks are defective” Kool-Aid.  

I wonder what these teachers’ favorite flavor is. 

He argues that Caucasian educators are “most likely to discipline black boys even when students of other races participate in identical behaviors.”  Also, black girls are "more likely than their white or Latina peers to be reprimanded for being unladylike.”   These flawed perceptions may cause black children to: 1.) not receive the adequate support needed to academically excel; 2.) become frustrated,; and 3.) withdraw (physically and/or emotionally).

One of the worst examples of a white racist educator is the following – you have a white teacher, who embraces white supremacy, but no one wants to believe that she is a racist, because 1. Her husband is black and 2. She has biracial children.  Please allow me to educate you.   Simply because a Caucasian is married to a black man and has biracial children does not absolve her of being a racist. She happens to love her black husband and biracial children. She does not have to love blackness because she is related to African Americans.   As a retired Arizona educator  (Caucasian) shared with me, oftentimes these mothers will register their children as “white” students.  This educator should be cognizant of what life may possibly be like for black men, yet rather than aid African American boys along a successful path, she tends to sink her “shovel” deeper into the “dirt.”

Last week, Jenn Lohr, a former Alta Head Start instructor, was caught dragging a 4-year old African American child down a school corridor.  I have to question if she would have done the same to an unruly, white child.  Based upon how she characterized the student after she was terminated, I seriously doubt it.

This week, I will be addressing how an African American mother is handling her son’s treatment at a Chicago, IL school.  She has been experiencing problems with her son and one particular White instructor since last August.  I asked her, “Do you feel as if your son is being targeted?  Do you sense that his instructor is creating a pathway to send your son from school to prison.”  Her response:  Yes. 

Per the Department of Education’s 2016 report, “more than 80% of public school teachers are White, the supermajority of them female. "That is a large number of Caucasian women playing a role in the “criminalization of black children.”

With Trump now in office, I question how many black students will be receiving a prison number, rather than a diploma, during the next four years, and how many Caucasian women will be recruited to expand the pipeline.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Daddy, If N***ers Are Dumb, Then Why Do I Have One As A Teacher?": The Benefits of White Students Having An African American K-12 Instructor

Last Friday, while leaving On the Border, a local Mexican restaurant, a four-year old Caucasian girl ran up to me, grabbed my hand and smiled.  I was startled.  The next day, I woke up thinking about her, and I said to myself, “Her parents are teaching her to see people beyond color.  That innocent little girl saw my goodness, and she desired to make a connection.”  Via social media, I shared my sentiments with others, and immediately I was branded a “wacko.”  Surprisingly, a significant number of Caucasians supported me and admonished the commenter for believing rumors rather than finding out the truth on her own. 

I would like to know what 40 - year old person still uses that type of verbiage; however, that is a topic for another day.  Channeling Brenda Leigh Johnson, (from The Closer) I typed, “Have a blessed day.”  As a person of color, you know when to attempt to educate someone about race, and when to know that they are so grounded in racism that your attempts to help them “see the light” would be futile.

After this interaction, I could not help but think, “I wonder how this woman would have benefited from having an African American teacher?”

White students benefit tremendously from having a black teacher. Black K-12 instructors are especially needed in predominantly White schools.  Ashley Lamb-Sinclair, Kentucky’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, is a staunch supporter of Caucasian children learning from black teachers. Currently, she is an educator at a predominantly White school. As a high school student, Mrs. Sinclair had Mr. Trumbo a teacher.  Trumbo, an African American man, had taught both Mrs. Sinclair, her mother, and aunts.  He taught Sinclair about his subject as well as life as a black male.  Trumbo instructed her what it felt like to be a person of color. Sinclair learned what it was like to have empathy for a black person.

She would learn that this was extremely important as she became an educator.  As Sinclair notes in Valerie Strauss’s article, “Why white students need black teachers – by a white teacher,” ( although American schools are becoming more diverse, there is still a small percentage of African Americans who are electing to become educators.  Sinclair is an English instructor, and she has taught books such as To Kill a Mockingbird and The Other Wes Moore. The educator realized that she could not “explain to them what it feels like to be a black person in America.”  Sinclair also realized how students would have benefited from also having a black instructor provide their perspective about the issues noted in these works.

Simmons says that via Trumbo, she learned how a person of color was “also a person of authority and expertise.”

Truly, I respect Mrs. Simmons, and her comments provide me with a lot of hope; however, in America, 2017, you have a lot of black teachers, who are in predominantly White schools, and they are catching absolute hell.  I speak from experience.  We are teaching novels, such as To Kill a Mockingbird, and when white students ask us our perspective about the novel, hours later, we receive emails stating that we are pushing our values and beliefs, regarding race, onto these “innocent white children.”    White instructors, who are on the same planning team as black teachers, of course, are teaching the book differently because they are Caucasian, and oftentimes, students do not ask them the same questions that they would ask a black teacher about the novel’s African American characters.  Can a white teacher relate to Malcolm X conking his hair for the first time?  Yet, from my experiences, they wanted to label me as the “rebel” teacher who failed to adhere to the agreed upon lesson plan.


I have experienced being mistreated for being a black teacher in a predominantly white school and teaching what would be labeled as a “black text.”  Students asked me questions, about the literature and how it pertained to the African American experience, that they would not ask their white teachers, because frankly, their Caucasian educators could not relate.  As a result, I was branded as someone who could not embrace the “status quo” and merely teach the text “as is.” 

K-12 school administrators and district officials, white children NEED to hear the Black 411 from African American teachers.  I need for you to please quit placing a muzzle on “woke” black teachers’ mouths and allow them to share their experiences with white children.   Instead, so many school officials want to say that African American teachers are trying to project their views towards race onto these “innocent” children.  Hello, these innocent minors are the same ones calling black kids niggers who need to go back to Africa.

Real talk.

From my perspective, school districts have some of the most ineffective Human Resource representatives that I have met in my life.  I want to know how a former high school principal has the HR experience to be hired as a Supt. Of Human Resources.  These individuals have no genuine human resource experience and quite frankly, most of these HR Supts. do not truly understand the trauma that most teachers of color, particularly black teachers endure while teaching in front of a predominantly white class.   Many elect to avoid the “R” (race) issue especially if they have some Golden Negro educators who are pulling their ear and pressing them to think that the “radical black teacher” is simply causing trouble.  They give new meaning to the word, minion.

Black teachers serve white children a lot of good.  We must understand that these children will eventually become adults who will attend college/and or enter the work force post high school graduation. They cannot go to their jobs disrespecting black folk and think that they will get away with it.  By having an African American instructor, white students can gain some discernment regarding what possibly to say in front of a person of color. Racist rhetoric is not condoned in the work place, and if white children had the opportunity to understand this from a teacher of color, they would be in a better position post high school.  I wholeheartedly agree with Sinclair.  If we had more teachers, like Mr. Trumbo, some of America’s young racists would find it difficult to verbalize racist rhetoric.


Friday, May 5, 2017

That Is So White Of You: The White “Savior” Epidemic in K-12 Education

While working on my doctorate, I met and became close friends with Graciela, a Puerto Rican single mother (Note:  Her name has been changed).    Over a six-year period, we discussed everything – her children, dating, school, and racism.  In regards to the latter, Graciela had a phrase that has stayed with me for nearly 20 years.  When I would tell her about the racism that I encountered, she would say, “CeCe, you need to tell them, “That’s so very White of you.”  I did not verbalize the statement, but the elevation of my perfectly waxed eyebrow was the way that I let people know that their demonstration of White privilege was duly noted. 

In 2007, I accepted a teaching position at a Phoenix, Arizona urban high school. My left eyebrow was raised on most days.  Aside from dealing with student issues, I found myself surrounded by a significant number of White teachers who had elected to work in the “hood” in order to assist poor, minority children.  The school's instructional coach, a true racist, was ill-equipped to adequately mentor white teachers struggling to adapt to the school's students.  In “What ‘white folks who teach in the hood’ get wrong about education,” ( Kenya Downs discusses the attitudes of Caucasian K-12 educators who elect to teach in predominantly black schools.  She interviews Dr. Chris Emdin, an associate professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College.  Emdin says, “there’s a teacher right now in urban American who’s going to teach for exactly two years and he’s going to leave believing that these young people can’t be saved.” He contends that these same white “saviors” will either attend law school, or accept positions at the Department of Education and promote this message that urban children are “flawed” and remain hopeless.

The “hero teacher narrative” is a concept that Emdin examines in For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood. . .  and the Rest of Y’all Too.  Films such as Dangerous Minds and Freedom Writers have glamorized the White teacher who comes to an impoverished area and saves the day via poetry, journal writing, etc. . .  Typically, the instructors faces initial resistance, but eventually, they transform these “low lifes” into noteworthy individuals who obtain scholarships at local universities. In a sense, if students touch the “hem” of these teachers’ “garments,” they will be made “whole.”


The American educational system is not a modern-day form of colonialism.  Emdin is correct; black children are not “savages” that need to be conditioned in order to assimilate into society.  I was introduced to the “savior” concept during my first year of teaching composition at Purdue University.  A student, who embraced Fundamentalism, said, “I want to move to Minnesota where I can teach children, born to pimps and prostitutes, about the love of Christ and the importance of education.” 

My left eyebrow was raised all the way to my hairline.  Those views were not limited to a na├»ve 18-year-old college freshman.  I thought that this was an isolated situation until I began teaching in Arizona.  During my first high school teaching experience, I saw Whites attempt to “save” children.  Many of my former colleagues came from middle-class backgrounds, and due to the higher salaries paid to urban high school teachers, they gravitated to our large Phoenix, Arizona high school district.  Although many of the teachers meant well, I found them trying to minister to these children more so than effectively teaching them.  Some got burnt out and left.  Others remained, yet spent more time counseling than teaching.

Drs. Donna Y. Ford and Chris Emdin are correct; cultural training is needed for K-12 educators.  From my experiences, districts are not adequately preparing novice teachers for teaching within an urban setting.  As a result, many new urban teachers are not truly effective.  They may know their content area, but due to  “white teacher fatigue,” and the pressures associated with teaching in an urban environment, they fail.  The first year of teaching is critical, and it sets the mental stage for their teaching career.

Indeed, Caucasian teachers can be successful in an urban setting.  The key is training.  As Dr. Paul Miller shared with me, most White teachers “don’t have the training that they initially need.  When they receive the appropriate training, they are very successful.”

Training.  Hmm, that typically means spending some money, and with budget cuts, the funds are not always available.  Some districts elect to have African American teachers serve as trainers rather than hire professionals who are trained in this area.  This is a prime example of racism.  At times, African American instructors are “selected” to serve as their colleagues’ Rosetta Stone for how to effectively deal with “hood kids.”  As I have noted in previous posts, not all black folks are black folk.   Golden Negroes are typically used to mentor these instructors, and it oftentimes ends up being, for lack of better phrasing, a “hot mess.”  Once again, please allow me to share the following with you  - Simply because a person is African American does NOT mean that they are “down with the cause.”  As Dr. Emdin states, black teachers with white supremacist ideologies [are] just as dangerous as white folks who don’t understand culture.”

Self-hate is real.

Someone, please hand me a church fan.   In fact, I need the one with Mahalia Jackson’s face on it. 

You have some black teachers and administrators who will “mentor” White instructors and confirm their already negative views towards teaching children in impoverished areas.  The same can be said for black teachers/administrators, who teach in affluent areas, and due to open enrollment, are seeing an influx of African American children at their school.  Their white supremacist views haven oftentimes prompted black students to transfer to another school in the district.   

Rather than embracing Savior pedagogy, White teachers need to construct lesson plans that are grounded in the “realities of youth experiences as the anchor of instructor.”  Emdin refers to this concept as reality pedagogy.   It is similar to transformative pedagogy - - -students become active participants in their learning experience. In short, teachers and students co-teach.

From my assessment, if teachers are failing to embrace reality pedagogy, we are only setting students up for failure.  The school to prison pipeline will only get stronger.

Questions to consider:

1.     What would an ideal cultural training class consist of?
2.     How can K-12 educators become indoctrinated in the communities where they teach?  Would they feel comfortable visiting black churches, hair salons, and other places where their students and/or parents frequent?
3.     In order to fully understand their environment, should teachers be encouraged to live in the urban community where they teach?  Should districts offer incentives for teachers who elect to do so?
4.     Are universities adequately preparing K-12 majors for urban teaching?  Are the professors experienced in urban teaching, or are they simply providing their students with textbook knowledge?