what exactly *is* the role of education (and i dont (just) mean schools)

the headline reads,

Death at Florida Boot Camp Draws Thousands of Protesters

a brief excerpt follows, but before that let me contextualize my reading of this article by saying that i saw this tagline on google news at the end of a long two day conference titled, "poor, young, black & male: a case for national action?" organized by elijah anderson, who i continue to revere and learn from and this conference was no exception. what was troubling/disconcerting/confusing/troubling was the persistence of images, stories, and dialogue about young, black males that continued to be framed by, or that responded to, narratives of pathology. that is, as my friend and colleague david wall rice and i discussed, when are we going to have (or take) the opportunity to render and explore more complex images of individuals whose lives are so often scripted under predetermined discourses, categories, and questions.

margaret beale-spencer called the audience to action by insisting that we do work that addresses and learns from the lives and strengths and assets that young, black men bring to the table, and not focus solely and repeatedly on pathological questions; another gentleman wondered why, at this conference, there wasn't greater involvement of and engagement with (there's that word with again...) young men who were at the focus of so much of the conversation. he poses a good question, not only practically - in terms of how we are to actually engage in social change and advocacy if we don't act collectively - but also methodologically - in terms of how young people, and especially young, black men are to be engaged as knowers about their own lives and as individuals who can and do imagine futures...

i will write more about this, but i offer the above as a frame for the following article which flashed tauntingly in front of me as i opened up a new homepage. while all of this dialogue is going on, young black men continue to be treated in terrible ways. the article details a recent response to an earlier atrocity that occurred in january of this year.

Death at Florida Boot Camp Draws Thousands of Protesters
The death of a teenager at a Florida boot camp for young offenders last January drew hundreds of protesters to the state capital today, where they called on state officials to finish an investigation and charge those responsible.

The teenager, Martin Lee Anderson, died Jan. 6 after guards at a Panama City juvenile boot camp repeatedly kicked, kneed and choked him, in an incident caught by a security camera. No arrests have been made and no guards have been fired.

Wearing t-shirts comparing the 14-year-old to Emmett Till, students from Tallahassee's three colleges joined a march led by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton. The march followed a two-day sit-in at the office of Gov. Jeb Bush.

read the rest of the article here.

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