“Be Nice or Leave!” is a local adage that can be found almost everywhere in New Orleans on signature signs that are popularized by folk artist Dr. Bob. Plain and direct, the saying captures a chronic problem that locals have found a suitable solution to.
The firings at the Times-Picayune, the slashing of higher education budgets and the assault on local teachers must be placed in a larger context of management's waylay on anti-intellectualism and the noble professions. Since the killing of Socrates, management — and specifically corporate resolution — have sought to eliminate the voices of cynicism and reason. But, hallelujah, I see the reemergence of the philosopher king on the horizon.
This week I talked violence on a weekly radio show on a hip-hop/R&B commercial station that dubbed itself the “non-violent station.” The 30-minute segment offered evidence of its commitment to the moniker. The disk jockey and I exchanged ideas about the root causes of violence, and indubitably education (or lack thereof) surfaced as a prime source. After a solid 10 minutes of talk, the DJ transitioned to a musical intermission in which he played parts of “Kinda Like a Big Deal” by the Clipse.
Fourteen thousand exceeds the number of registered students at Tulane and the University of New Orleans. It’s a greater number than the combined enrollments of Loyola, Dillard and Xavier Universities. Fourteen thousand youth is about a third of the total number of students that attend public schools in Orleans Parish. The number is approximately 4000 seats shy of a full house at a Hornets game. If a company hired 14,000 youth it would be the largest employer in the city.
If our political fights barely rise above the embarrassing displays of violence within the communities that officials are supposedly serving, then it’s time for a radical change in representation.
At the May 15 Orleans Parish School Board meeting, black angst sparked among fellow members around matters of disrespect in the naming of an interim superintendent. After a round of feinting punches, the board voted along black and non-black lines to name an interim.
It’s that time of year when Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 is played to the delight of millions of graduates in high school and college. The selection of a march is appropriate given that students must face a certain rise in college tuition and an antagonistic job market. For good or for bad, the credentials of a high school diploma and college degree pave a one-lane bridge to economic and social independence.
Andre Perry discusses the Trayvon Martin shooting and our society.
In his classic essay titled “Shooting an Elephant,” George Orwell writes of a colonial, sub-divisional police officer’s experience in twentieth century Burma. The narrator, who we presume to be Orwell, reflects on the officer’s pursuit of a rampaging elephant in heat that was ravaging the fragile village that stood in the way of the humungous beast’s unpredictable path. The impassioned elephant even killed a man who could not dodge the animal’s urges.