Ace's View

Dedicated to minority issues, topics and everything in between

The System’s Broken; The Schools Is Closed, The Prison’s Open

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Full disclosure: I went to school in the Chicago suburbs, from kindergarten to senior year of high school.

And although I can say that there were things we definitely missed out on that our counterparts in the predominately white suburbs had access to (astronomy classes? Damn, we barely have science classes!), I will say that we often heard one refrain from teachers, faculty and parents:

“Well, at least you aren’t in Chicago Public Schools.”

And, judging by what’s going on today, they were right.  Because as strapped for materials and some other luxuries that others seemed to take for granted, we never had to worry about our grade or high schools being closed or consolidated.

We didn’t have to worry about crossing through gang territory to get through school because it was pretty much all gang territory, anyway because most of us took the bus, drove or got rides to school, or lived close enough that a walk would not be reenacting scenes from The Warriors.

So yeah, we were lucky.

Not so much if you’re a Chicago Public School student in 2013.  Especially a black or Hispanic student in 2013, as the growing list of schools scheduled for closing will affect students who just happen to be of that background.

(Writer’s note: At the time of this writing, that list was 30+ schools.  For a complete and updated list, go here.)

And it got me to thinking, about a fraternity brother who I hope will let me tell his story here one day, who was recently released from jail.

It’s not enough that he was jailed, but since his conviction was overturned by a higher court, the prosecutors have to decide now if they want to pursue a retrial in his case.

The fact that they would even consider it tells me more about the priorities of what’s important in our state and federal government than I expected to know:

They want us in jail instead of learning different trades and occupations to stay out of jail.

They’d rather take your 14th Amendment rights than to have you learn about them.

Why would you spend the money to pursue charges that were thrown out all over again against someone who, before their arrest, was a few credits shy of a bachelor’s and who has talked more about getting their master’s than ever before?  

You know, instead of attempting to focus efforts on not closing schools and putting resources into making sure kids know what options they have before they consider resorting to crime?

It’s this simple, or at least I think it is–your knowledge is not as immediately profitable to them.  Not as profitable as it would be to have you in jail and to be able to control your every move.  And no, the statistic about how much it actually costs to house prisoners does nothing for me.  In fact, it further reminds me that taxpayers funds are being allocated more frequently to imprison the bodies of more and more minorities rather than training their minds and hearts for greatness.

The title of this entry comes from a line from Kanye West’s “Power,” and I think it captures the events of today perfectly.  There are a wave of protests scheduled for tonight, and tomorrow, and probably more in the days after that.  And I fully expect to see the frustration grow as the days go on and parents realize that as these schools close and resources are taken away and redirected to send their kids to prison instead of prom.

Not that I think that it will change the mind of Mayor Emanuel or the school board.

But we ain’t got nothing to lose.

So motherfucker, we rolling…

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Written by aceviewblogger

March 21, 2013 at 8:14 pm

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