Natosha Thompson

                                                                                                                                                ISP-2030                                                                                                                                                                                                         February 23, 2007

“Educational Transitions” no quotation marks in title

In this essay I am taking two pieces of literature on education and comparing it them to my own educational experiences. The contrast between past and modern day advances will be discussed. Helping one to understand how life situations, environment and willingness to be open-minded affects AFFECT one’s view of education.Not a sentence One must utilize all the educational opportunities available today. Obstacles may come along the way, but one has to go forth in order to be successful in life.

Originally, I attended Bethesda Christian, which was a predominately White school. There were some discriminations to undergo as I was one out of six Blacks in the entire high school. Thinking back 14 years when I was 15 years old, I joined the varsity cheerleading squad. Having ballet and gymnastics under my belt,,,,,,,,, I was well qualified for the team. My coach Mrs. Bagley did not want me on the squad (because I was Black), but she was out voted outvoted by the other judges. The coach said, “I moved my hips too much.” I assumed she was referring to the rhythm I had as “the Black girl,AS opposed to the stiffness of the others. From the day of try-outs until that day of our Christmas party, the coach always separated me from the rest.

One day we all went to buy cheerleading shoes and tights for our uniforms. The tights looked horrible on me. The tights were a peach color, which matched the other girls legs perfectly, but not mine. I tried to explain to Coach Bagley that the tights did not match my brown-skinned complexion. She used the excuse, “I want everyone to look uniformed on the floor.”  “Uniformed!” I thought. “I am the only Black girl on the squad! We’ll never look totally uniformed.”NICE I was quite upset, but chose not to say anything. Halfway through the season, Christmas came. In spite of Coach’s daily job EFFORTS? to make me feel like I did not belong there, I persevered. We had a wonderful Christmas party, until gift exchanging time came. Wow, coach brought all of us gifts, I was shocked.

Then, I slowly opened the gift that was more like opening the gates to hell. This blatant sign of ignorance was over. “A ponytail holder!” She had the nerve to buy us all ponytail holders. Not considering my hair was only maybe two inches long.NOT A SENTENCE I could not sit back any longer and allow this racist woman to treat me like dirt. Words flew from my mouth like gravel flying from under a spinning wheel of a race car. I was heated. I said any and everything I had bottled inside of me. Then I left. Of course, I was kicked off the team. Coach made it seem like I just went crazy when she was only being nice to me. This response is common for Whites, as they justify their bad behavior towards Blacks. Once we explode from the pressure, “they’ve gone crazy” was the answer. Forget what was done to get “us” to that point.

My episode in high school had some similarities and differences with “The Library Card.” One similarity is the discrimination against Wright because he was Black in the South (Tenn.) in the 1940’s. I on the other hand was in the North (Mich.) more than fifty years later, but was still dealing with racism. A lot of people fought and died for equality, but covert racism was still around. The form in which racism presented itself was different. People are not as overt today. They are more discreet with the portrayal of their roles.

In contrast, Wright could not voice his opinion or let others know of his knowledge. Richard would have been killed if anyone was aware he was learning. In those days “Whites” felt the less Blacks knew the better. Now times had changed. I was allowed to express how I felt about being treated unfairly.  Discrimination is against the law and can be upheld in the courts today. The right for Whites to speak freely was more evident in Wright’s day. Yet, only then after was this right enforced for the people of color. A BIT UNCLEAR

Then, we learned Wright would sneak to get books from the library, which showed his determination. He also taught himself to read. Again, his persistence to overcome was incredible. Wright over cameONE WORD many obstacles in order to receive self-empowerment through learning. His mind was broadened to the freedom of education with every book he read.

Also, my high school episode in comparison to “In Praise of Literacy” is a little different. I was not a slave. I was free to go to school and sit with the White children daily. Yes, I had that educational freedom, but I was still not seen as an equal. FredErick DouglasS was enslaved. Not just mentally, but physically too. Education was not a choice he was given. DouglasS’s master’s response to teaching Blacks was, “A nigger should know no more than obedience to his master. Any learning other than obedience would leave him unfit to be a slave.” Hearing this taught FredErick that the pathway to freedom was knowledge. Sometimes I took my educational freedom for granted. Not, DouglasS he took his knowledge and became a very prominent leader in American history. The oppression that he endured,NO COMMA gave him the value for all that he learned. Taking nothing for granted,NO COMMA made FredErick very successful in life.

Most influential, is my educational dreams for everyone. This dream would be equality in education across the world. Urban, suburban public and private schools should all have the same educational opportunities. At the moment, it is as though everyone positioned education on the back-burner for inner-city kids. All the money and concern seems to go everywhere, but to urban schools. Our children deserve a chance at a better education. Everyone complains about the kids, but few people are trying to help them.  Education is linked to a brighter future. How bright of a future will our children have when many people appear to have given up on them? Dim is the future if politicians do not quickly do something about our educational system.

Finally, my educational goals are to receive my Master’s degree in nursing anesthesiology. I am only in my first year of college, since I graduated from high school. I have three and a half years to go before I acquire my Bachelor’s degree.  My determination to continue until I am holding my degree is very strong. It is not if I get my degree, rather when I receive it. Only then will my goals be accomplished.

In conclusion, education is a priority--not an option. Limited education, limits the options one has available to them. BETTER: POOR EDUCATION LIMITS ONE’S OPTIONS.  One’s success depends on the utilization of all educational opportunities. A high school diploma is no longer acceptable in our changing economy. College training is a must today. A job is available for high school diploma holders. Yet, a career is awaiting those empowered and persistent enough to strive for a college degree. “Knowledge is the key to freedom.” (Douglas)

Excellent, touching, essay: Thanks.  A

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