Monday, February 15, 2010


This short film is a response to all those who have spewed racist, sexist, homophobic, and/or anti-semitic hate speech from their filthy mouth. The response is simple,"PHUCK YOU." Produced by Charles A. Grandson IV.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Frederick Douglass Video Project

I started off class with a pre-class warm up question on a very important point Douglass makes in chapter 2, were he makes clear that slaves sing to express their "prayer(s) and complaint(s)." After that I explained to the class that we would be starting a video project and that we would meet at different locations on Wednesday and Friday. They were excited about the project and it elicited responses from members of the class who haven't spoken all year. They even pitched in ideas, suggesting that they use my laptop as a video camera. After the explanation I showed them an example of the type of films they would make, using the YouTube 2Pac video featuring the song "Changes." For that moment, I reached another student who rarely pays attention to whats going on in class. He participated in the discussion after the video about 2Pac's message. After the video we transitioned, recapping and finishing our discussion of chapter 1 of Douglass. Only 2 students participated in this dicussion because they were the only one's who had read the chapter the night before. This prolonged the discussion and we didn't get to the storyboarding. I briefly assigned the storyboarding worksheet and assigned it for homework. Tomorrow's lesson has been modified to address the fact that they haven't read chapter 2.

Pre-Class- Why is it important for each student to engage in class discussion?
Discuss Pre-Class (5 min.)
Review Chapter 2 (20 min.)
Listen to Slave Spiritual / Connect to 2Pac Changes "Prayer and Complaint"
Listen to Obama Speech & Discuss (10 minutes)
Class will read Chapter 3 (Group or Independantly) (20 min.)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Using Video Production and Historical Thinking to Engage Inclusion Students in the Secondary History Curriculum

My graduate thesis at the culmination of my masters program for the Donovan Urban Teaching scholars program at Boston College was concerned with using culturally relevant curriculum and pedagogy to keep the attention and captivate the minds of today's young people. Gone are the days where teachers can stand in front of the class and lecture as my middle and high school teachers did on a daily basis. They were great teachers and I wouldn't have preferred it any other way, but adolescents in 2010 have developed a different palette and teachers have had new competition for the past 20 years. Youth centered television programming, the Internet, Ipods, Facebook, and their predecessors have revolutionized, perceptions of reality, communication, study habits and access to information. Unfortunately, traditional education, specifically urban public education, has not evolved alongside its technically savvy customers, the students. My thesis / theory of education aims at eliminating the Achievement Gap, (national and international), by using the multiple types of text and methods of communication that students use in their daily lives. For the next few months this blog will document my journey in attempting to apply this theory in my 9th grade inclusion U.S. History I class.

Essential Question: How does 19th century American slavery affect my life today?
Important Components of Project:
1. Video project on the Narrative of Life of Frederick Douglass
2. Writing: Students write out video outline
3. Processing the text: Students will capture important scenes from Douglass on paper in the form of Story boards.
4. Starting Date: Monday, February 8th. Students have already read chapters 1 and 2 of Douglass.
5. Wednesday & Friday students will began the video making process.

TuPac –Play Video: Changes
Process with Students: What did you hear/ write down (Pass Out Teacher's Notes afterwards)
Relate to Douglass Chapter 2 –discuss power of Music / Music as a reflection feelings & experiences / Music has a healing balm / Share the music tree
Filmmakers Workshop: Story Boards of Chapters 1 & 2 of Douglass
H.W. Finish Story Board

Quiz: Chapters 1 & 2
Obama – Play Audio: We Are One
Process with Students: What did you hear/ write down (Pass Out Teacher's Notes afterwards)
Relate to Douglass Chapters 1 & 2
H.W. Read Chapter 3 Douglass

Introduce Students to my video: Reparations
Introduce film making process
Model media gathering process for students
Students gather their own media
Collect students media on USB towards the end of class
H.W. Read Chapter 3

Process and Discuss Chapter 3 in class
Read Chapter 4 in class
H.W. Finish Chapter 4, start Chapter 4

School Daze -Video Clip - Skin Color in American Society
Process with Students: What did you hear/ write down (Pass Out Teacher's Notes afterwards)
Introduce Window's Movie Maker
Students began to build videos

This is the preliminary plan. Changes will be made along the way. I will also debrief each lesson on this blog.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saying What Obama Can 
Not Say About Race

By Larry Watson

Barack Obama, pressed to the wall, offers America an eloquent critique on race in America. Ferraro's and Limbaugh's recent attacks on Obama and his minister, The Honorable Jeremiah Wright have forced him to discuss a subject most whites still deny is a reality for most Black people in America. In fact, Hillary, Ferraro and the white media should be the ones addressing the country on race and white's preoccupation and requirement that Barack and other Black people betray our ancestors and abandon our clarity about our history of struggle in America.

American racism is systematic and pervasive throughout the culture. The modern language of racism is coded and subtle but the impact on Black Americans reminds us that the most liberal of white folks face a steep learning curve on race in America.

Like Geraldine Ferraro's recent remarks about the qualifications of Obama to run for the presidency of the United States, she has failed white liberals miserably. Her remarks tapped into a system of terrorism directed towards Black people. She joins the insidious group of Americans who play the race card and then demand Black people respond to their white fear and ignorance. Ferraro, Rush Limbaugh, Don Imus, Michael Richards(Kramer) and several former American Presidents, white scholars, white intellectuals, sports executives, white CEO'S and any "Joe Smo" or "Blanche" residing in the American bowels of white mediocrity remain perched to challenge our competence and humanity because of the color of our skin and the texture of our hair. Structural racism produces this mental disorder, this need to attack Black excellence. It is as pervasive in America as obesity and bad breath. .

Barack Obama in his speech did not abandon his membership and affiliation with the Trinity Church of God and Christ on the South Side of Chicago. His clarity as to what went wrong with America is partially based on the guidance and sound Black theological instructions he received under the direction of the The Honorable Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr, who is now being labeled by the media as some kind of maniac cult leader.
Once again whites have displaced and redefined the issue demanding Black people lie and deny the racist, heinous and violent history of this country. This is a typical stunt out of the "play book" of racial politics to silence and castrate Obama, forcing him to once again recreate himself in order to maintain white acceptance.

The coded message from White America demands that he disavow his impeccable education, on point analysis and diagnosis of America's deep seated denial of who we continue to be, and most unfortunately deny the man who has been his surrogate father. This entire spectacle provoked by Ferraro incites many whites to act like dogs responding to that silent whistle that only they can hear.

This continued psychological and physical battering of Black people is what The Honorable Reverend Jeremiah Wright has committed his life to eradicating. Like him, I and many Black people are unwilling to embrace this Kansas like dream sequence of the Wizard of Oz. The American record remains replete with examples of stagnation and indifference when it comes to social justice for Black people in America.

Ferraro is blinded by her own white privilege and ignores the fact that she has enjoyed full citizenship because she is a white woman. A Black women or man with her regional,luke warm credentials and average contributions to the larger society could never have been elected to Congress, much less a candidate for Vice President.

Ferraro could not have forgotten that she attended Marymount Manhattan College, Hunter College and Fordham University's evening law classes. She must have remembered Former Vice President Dan Quayle a graduate from DePauw University who received his J. D. from Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis. And clearly we are all familiar with the "B" actor Former President Ronald Reagan who attended Eureka College. By any measurement Obama a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School represents an academic pedigree superior to most politicians in this country.

Black people are accustomed to this form of American terrorism. The Electronic and Print Media readily offers a platform to many with white skin to scapegoat Black people. Ferraros' remarks and those of Limbaugh are reminiscent of the historical legacy of chattel slavery; the most cruel form of human bondage unknown to any other society in human history. Ferraro and Limbaugh keep alive in the minds of many Americans a racist American Constitution, that relegated black people to the status of being three fifths of a human being, The Supreme Courts Dred Scott ruling stating that no black man had any rights a white man was bound to respect, the bloody history of racial violence and the tradition of white privilege that relegates our best and the brightest to the status of being the beating post for the most marginal whites in our society.

Hollywood's first block buster movie,"Birth of A Nation" is one of the most classic examples of the illness of this nation. When critics describe the film, it is usually done in the most laudatory terms. The Birth of a Nation ,also known as The Clansman. Released in 1915 was heralded by most critics for its innovative technical and narrative achievements. The fact that film was the American blueprint for psychological and physical terrorism against Black people is often ignored. Long before there was Al-Qaeda's and Osama bin Laden there was D. W Griffith and Thomas Dixon . Every day somewhere in America a Black youth, usually black men live with the daily threat of being dismembered, murdered, arrested, or profiled because whites continue to play the race card to ease their mental disorder of being racist. Sadly, we keep waiting for a groundswell response from those whites who profess their new found love for Obama to rise up and say enough already.

Hillary and Bill Clinton have lost the moral high ground and their silence and/or tepid response to Ferraro's comments demonstrate the cowardice nature of White liberals. Whites like those who read this column, sit back and allow these kind of comments to fuel the airways. The hate we identify in the words and actions of Ben Laden originate from the same toxic sentiments that led to Ronald Reagan initial opposition to the The Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Open Housing Act, former secretary of education Bennett's comments suggesting that if Americans really wanted lower crime we would aboard Black babies or Senator Trent Lott suggesting if segregationist James Strom Thurmond would have become President, America would be a better place. These comments are consistent and always rear their ugly heads when Black excellence has beat the odds.

We are all diminished as human beings when the majority community allows these kind of remarks to go unchallenged. It is this ugly legacy that Obama's minister refers to. It is this hate and double standard that allows whites freedom of expression, but sends a message to Blacks that you must always do as white people say and not as they do. Clearly many whites in our country continue to view themselves and their wretched actions around the world as inside the circle of God's protection. We allege to be a country that embraces spiritual and religious values, but if one reminds us of our terrorist policies and practices towards our own citizenry, they are vulnerable to the wrath and reprisal of mainstream America.

Reverend Wright also knows that Black men like the ones that worship at his church every Sunday have an extraordinary rate of incarceration. One in every 20 black men over the age of 18 is in a state or federal prison, compared to one in every 180 whites. In Oklahoma and Iowa one in every thirteen black men is in state prison; in Rhode Island, Texas and Wisconsin, the figure is one in every fourteen . Is Ms. Ferrarro referring to these men? Will she join with Obama and Reverend Wright to change this racist trend in the American legal system?

In a 2003 sermon, the honorable Reverend Wright said "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human," His remarks reflect the reality of Black life in America. We continue to survive American barbarism and periodic tides of violence against the very people who built this nation brick by brick. Nearly 200 bills failed to pass the Senate over the first half of the 19th century that would have outlawed and forbid the lynching of Americans. Ninety percent of the victims were Black and Latino. Masses of as many as ten thousand Whites would gather and watch the systematic lynchings and castrations of Black Americans. Children were spectators and Mark Twain began to refer to America as The United States of "Lynchdom." With her ahistorical and callous remarks Ferraro allowed Americans once again to act as spectators, blind to the economic, social, cultural reality of this country. Her words and the words of others attempt to derail Obama's run for the White House. It is the equivalent of a modern day lynching.