In Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes that the “laws of school” were aimed at something vague and then goes on to reveal precisely what the laws of school for black boys and girls were for. What are the “laws” of Rose’s Catholic school? What are the laws aiming to teach? To what degree are they teaching similar things as the laws at the schools Coates attended? What’s different?
For Coates when he was learning to read and write in school learning these things were so much more than learning new skills. School for people in these neighborhoods were more than a place to learn but as an escape from their reality that they were living in and another way to protect themselves from the streets. Learning these new skills helped the students better discipline to their bodies and even though it felt all new and strange to him there was benefits in the end. He questioned himself why he was in this classroom learning things that may not have mattered but it was to protect him from his own reality and what he faced everyday living in baltimore. In Rose’s article he talks aboiut how school was an osasis for students to get away from the reality they werre living. Gis school wasn’t as bad as coate’s was but there were still fights between gang members and students. In the article Rose’s says how his teachers werer striched and very stern with their students. He talks about “Physical education was also pretty harsh. Our teacher was a stubby X Lyman who had played old-time pro ball in the midwest. He repeatedly had us grabbing our ankles to receive his stinging paddle across the butt. He did that he said to make men of us.”The teachers would use disipline to make them men even when they were young. They were ecxpected to also take placement tests to see where they belonged and thats what your education was depended on.
What should we make of Rose’s description on pp. 13-18 of his family house and the mixed-race, mixed-ethnicity South Los Angeles neighborhood he grew up in? Try to capture both Rose’s emotional feelings about the places he grew up and the objective dangers he very casually suggests he faced there. Compare Rose’s experiences of his home and neighborhood to Coates’s.
- In Poe’s writing he talked about how his life for his family was filled with poorness and always having to worry about money and what was going on in the neighborhoods. He shares that “ The Poverty was extreme and hopeless- twelve hours of farm labor Would get you on Lyra, about 20 cents so increasing numbers of desperate people booked passage for the United States the country where the steamship companies claimed property was a way of life. ““For my mother life in America was not what the promoters had told her father it would be. She would grow up very poor. She slept with her parents and brother and sister in one room. She had to quit school in the 7th grade to care for her sickly younger brother. When her father lost hurt his leg in a railroad accident she began working in a garment Factory where woman sat crowded at their station solitary as penitence in a Cloister. she stayed there until her marriage. My father had found a Freer route. He was close-mouthed about his past but I know that he had been a Salesman a Taylor and a gambler he knew people in the mob and had my uncle’s whisper done time in Chicago. He went through a year or two of Italian Elementary School and could write a few words those necessary to scribble measurements for a suit and over the year developed a quiet or vanity a persistent and a slowly debilitating arteriosclerosis.” For them they lived a life for poverty and when they went to america it wasn’t any different. His mother didn’t think that it would be worse living and wasn’t what she expected. She lives a life in america as a poor family and didn’t have much of a life. But outside of his home the neighborhood he lived in was one filled with rebellion and danger. He emphasizes that “ In the midst of the Heat and slow time the music brought the promise of its origin a promise of Deliverance a promise that is only for a moment like could be stirring and dreaming. But the anger and frustration of South Vermont could prove too strong for music illusion that it was violence that provided Deliverance of different order. One night I watched as a guy sprinted from Walt’s to toss something on our lawn. The police were right behind and a cop tackled him smashing his face into the sidewalk. I ducked out to find the packet a dozen glassine bag of heroin. Another night one August midnight an argument outside the record store ended with a man being shot to death. And the occasional gangs for race brought with them some fated kid who would fumble his moves and catch a knife.” In his neighborhood there was music that brought out the anger of people and had them resort to violence as deliverance instead of a different way. These people were passionate about the cause or an idea.This music was made whole “with love” but they resorted to violence because it was rebellious in a way.
At the end of this long segment on his parents immigration and work experiences and his boyhood growing up in a mixed-race, mixed-ethnicity neighborhood in South Los Angeles, Rose writes that he “developed a picture of human existence that rendered it short and brutish or sad and aimless or long and quiet…. When, years later, I was introduced to humanistic psychologists…, with their visions of self actualization…., it all sounded like a glorious fairy tale, a magical account of a world full of possibility, full of hope and empowerment. Sinbad and Cinderella couldn’t have been more fanciful” (p. 18).
For Rose’s was he grew up he had a fantasy of life as “ The people I grew up with were retired from jobs that rub away the heart or working hard at jobs to keep their lives from craving in or were anchorless and in between jobs and spouses or were diving headlong into a Barren tomorrow junkies, alcoholics and mean kids walking along Vermont looking to throw a punch. I developed a picture of human existence that rendered and short and British or sad and aimless or long and quiet with the reward like afternoon naps the evening newspaper walks a lot the block occasional letters from children in the mother States. When years later I was introduced to humanistic psychologists like Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers with their visions of self-actualization or even fraud with his sober dictum about love and work it all sounded like a glorious fairytale magical count of a world full of possibilities full of Hope and empowerment. Sinbad and Cinderella couldn’t have been more fanciful.” Rose’s could see that his life compared to these fairy tale was not reality. He lived a life of poorness and always worrying about money. He saw what the difference from this fairytale compared to his life as something that felt fanciful and could only be imagined as.
Why is schoolboy Coates upset about studying the heroes of the Civil Rights Movement every February in school? Why did he much prefer his own study of Malcolm X in hip hop lyrics, books, speech tapes, and other materials? You’ll need to pull together and connect material from pp. 30-37 to answer this question fully.
When coates wasd studying these works of media he couldn’t understand why they praised things that didn’t seem right. He says ““ They seemed to love the man who raped them the women who crushed them love the children who spat on them the terrorists who found them. Why are they showing this to us? Why were only Our Heroes nonviolent? I speak not of the morality of non-violence but of the sense that blacks are in special need of the morality. Back then all I could do was measure these Freedom Lovers by what I knew. What is to say measure them against children pulling out in the 7-Eleven parking lot against parents wielding extension cords and saying and yeah and word what’s up? I judge them against the country I knew which had acquired the land through murder and tamed it under slavery against the country who is Army’s fanned out across the world to extend their dominance. The world the real one was civilization secured and ruled by Savage means. How could the school’s valorize men and women who value Society actively orange? How could they send us into the streets of Baltimore knowing all that they were and then speak of non-violence?” Coates is starting to bring up a conversation of how this world has been built on violence and murders and people that gain their strength from dominance. the heroes in this world today are measured by how much they are Freedom lovers and this country which had acquired the land through murder and tamed it under slavery and that was what this world has been built on.
Coates emphasizes the role reading and writing played in his life in at least two different places in this segment. Pull together that material and explain Coates’s commitment to reading and writing. What adult figures were important to him as he learned to read and write for his own purposes?
For Coates when he was learning to read and write in school learning these things were so much more than learning new skills. He talks about how “ That was exactly how I felt back then. I sense the schools were hiding something dragging us with false morality so that we would see so that we did not ask why for us and only us is the other side of Free Will and free spirit an assault upon our bodies? This is not a hyperbolic concern. When our elders presented school to us they did not present it as a place of High Learning but as a mean of escape from Death and penal warehousing.” School for people in these neighborhoods were more than a place to learn but as an escape from their reality that they were living in and another way to protect themselves from the streets. Learning these new skills helped the students better discipline to their bodies and even though it felt all new and strange to him there was benefits in the end. He questioned himself why he was in this classroom learning things that may not have mattered but it was to protect him from his own reality and what he faced everyday living in baltimore.
- What are some of the “rules of the street” in the Baltimore of Coates’s youth? What does “toughness” mean in that context? What’s the price of toughness? How are those rules a response to the American Dream? This is a Text+Me question.
In the article Coates’s youth was one filled with fear and protecting your own self. His neighborhood and others were run by gangs that ruled using others fear of dying to create power for themselves to create reputations that they were known by. In the article Coates says “ In other cities, indeed in other baltimore, the neighborhoods had other handles and the boys went by other names, but their mission did not change; prove the inviolability of their blocks, of their bodies, through their power to crack knees, arms, ribs.” Coates talks about how the rules of the street like you don’t associate yourself with anyone who was related or knew a gang member, you went with a group to parties and they were rules that were amoral and practical. They were made of a basis of power by these different gangs. To live in these neighborhoods you had to have a sense of toughness which Coates described as “ any toughness I garnered came reluctantly. I think I was always , somehow. Aware of the price.” Coates refers to being tough to being street which is abiding by the rules that these gang members had but he was tough but it came with a price of not following these rules which could lead him to loosing his body.
- Speculate, to what degree might Coates’s son’s experiences in his neighborhood be similar or different to Coates’s? This is a Text+Question.
Coates touches upon the fact that his lives is living a different experience as him. Coates talks about this saying “ I think of this as a great difference between us. You have some acquaintance with the old rules, but they are not as essential to you as they were to me.” Coates life when he was his sons age was very different but some of those old rules have carried on to their kids and his son has probably experienced some of them. He also talks about how his son has probably had a situation were he was roughnecking somewhere but when he was a kid he was worried about if he had control of his body and how he walked, talked or smiled. He was concerned with issues if he practiced the culture of streets would he have security of his body or would he start to be tough. His son has been able to see the wonders of life and doesn’t have to worry has much as he did when he was a kid. He references “ You have seen so much more of all that is lost when they destroy your body”. His son has been able to explore more of the world than he ever did because he wasn’t always able to walk certain places or go down different streets in fear of loosing his body to the gangs that rules his neighborhood.
- How does Coates portray the American Dream? What does he mean when he says that, for him, “The Dream…wars with the known world” (p. 11)? You’ll need to pull together quotes from multiple locations in the reading to answer this question fully.
- Coates talks about how a long time ago as Americans we caused destruction and how “its so easy for us to look away and to live with our history and to ignore the great evil done in all of our names.” The writer talks about how race is something that will never change and it is looked upon as something that defines us. We look away from the big issues that are held before us but yet we never will do anything to change it. Americans accept race but do not change anything about it or pay attention to the issues with have with race.
- What evidence does Coates give for his assertion that the American Dream is built on the destruction of black bodies? You’ll need to pull together quotes from multiple locations in the reading to answer this question fully.
- – In this article Coates talks about how the dream wars with the known world because on page 11 he says” The destroyers will rarely be held accountable. Mostly they will receive pensions. And destruction is merely the superlative form of a dominion whose prerogatives.” In this article Coates talks about how with the American’s who caused the destruction with races are never punished for what they did and they are fighting their own war against people that have suffered enough. This war that Coates refers to is one that has never ended and probably will never end. He talks about race which is a grouping of humans based on shared physical or social qualities into categories and generally viewed as distinct by society.
As a student receiving feedback on your writing can be very beneficial to your writing. Good peer reviewers pay attention to the main problem that can trouble the writers being open to new ideas and can make the writer struggle with understanding the writing. Peer review is constructive criticism that students will give each other so you are able to see a whole different point of view about your writing. With peer edits you should be able to focus on the writer’s claims, evidence, and organization of their essay be able to make suggestions to help the writer develop new ways of thinking. As a reviewer you have the ability to open a new door for different evidence and new arguments to better the writer. As a the student revieving the edits you should be flexible with your writing and engage with new sources, ideas and people. Being flexible leads you to new ways of thinking and helps you adapt to new circumstances. It can also lead to the right direction for success and lead them to their fullest potential.These students need to be able see the whole picture. They also need to look closer into writing and reading because to be the best you need to understand that reading and writing is so much more than words on a page. My experience through peer review I would see that my essays was a little dismembered but with the help of my peer’s I was able to find a place where some of my sentences and argument fit best and would allow me to to maker a strong argument with it. Through peer review I learned that revising someone’s essay isn’t just fixing or corrected their work but really diving into their writing so you can see each other’s arguments clearly. I was able to help and receive feedback that I was able to process and then acted upon it and if I needed clarification my classmates were both very helpful. As a person being reviewed you are able to ask questions on some of the comments and to seek guidance on troubled areas. Soon you will be able to see the effects of the peer editing shift your writing into an essay where you was able to recieve feedback and see what you can work on to make the writing better. The student should take the peer review comments they receive and want to use them to better their writing and not to just see it as something you need to fix or correct.
People today are always being rewarded for everything and you can’t truly learn without having a couple loses and some bumps along the way. Not being able to put your own spin on a passage is something that can limit your success and the way you perceive new ideas especially in your writing. Last semester in my english class I learned not only from my professor but from the texts that we had read that as writers, we have listen to what your reading and then take what you read and be willing to hear others ideas and to have an open mind. I have taken what I have learned last semester and now I can use it for my current english class either when I’m writing a paper or when I’m trying to learn a new subject. With my writing it can be a difficult process even for me but I find starting with 300 words at first then bulking it up as I go helps me the most because I can start off with a base to my writing and built up on each idea and continue to focus on each part one at a time. With my writing process it is however still growing just like me and right now I would say it good but everything can be improved. As a student also there is room to grow and to learn new techniques for writing.
In my life I have always been a student to get my work done right away and try my hardest. Since I have been at college, I have learned so much more than I have in one class in high school. Last semester in class we had to write about what is unlearning in this context and how might you be unlearning better your writing. I looked back to high school and thought about all the skills I was taught like the five paragraph essay and realized that unlearning in this context is talking about be able to forget all those set rules that you had in high school about writing and to make yourself more open to new ideas and to open your mind to curiosity. I saw how you must be flexible with your writing and engage with new sources, ideas and people. Being flexible leads you to new ways of thinking and helps you adapt to new circumstances. Depending on how you look and face your challenges is going to determine your outcome and if you have a growth mindset you’re going to be optimistic and see how this challenge can benefit you in the long run. I know that I have a growth mindset and can see that maybe I am not there yet but with work I can get there and this applies to not only my english class but all my classes. This semester the techniques I have learned to better my writing process have also shaped my entire thought process and have taught me to always be open to new ideas and have a creative mind to give insight on how to learn in a way that will better me this year. If you don’t have a positive or optimistic view on what your writing your not going to have your best effort put forward, but if you have something that you want to write about and passionate about your going to be able to completely get your thoughts out and share your ideas with readers.