I began teaching 20 years ago at a majority-black public middle school. The behavior of the black students was so outrageous, it bordered on unbelievable. Their respect for authority and teachers was less than nothing. They would pull my hair to see if it was real, sometimes standing around me playing with my hair like animals performing grooming rituals. Other times, they would push their faces into my abdomen, take a deep breath, and comment on the way I smelled. I’ve even had students tell me they could smell my “coochie” and shove their hand between my legs from behind.
Their attempts to get me fired were relentless. Students would rock back and forth in their chairs screeching angry monkey sounds in an attempt to trick me into saying the word “monkey” so they could accuse me of racism and end my career. The same tactic was in play when they said “nigger” over and over again. If I asked them to stop saying “that word,” they would reply “what word?” hoping I would repeat it. Of course, they had no real issue with profanity. One of their strategies to break the morale of teachers was to leave little pieces of paper all around the room with only the word “bitch” written on them.
Violence was constant as well. I could list dozens if not hundreds of fights and random acts of brutality. Here are just a few.
Once, a new Haitian student who spoke no English was lured into an unmonitored hallway by three American blacks who then beat her unconscious. They slammed her head against a concrete stairwell repeatedly, fracturing her skull and one of her eye sockets, leaving her with partial, but permanent, vision loss.
Another time, a black girl picked up a chair and swung it into her black friend’s head simply because she “wanted to know what it felt like” to do so.
Perhaps worst of all was the time I saw a group of blacks drag a small white boy into a storage closet, with scissors at his throat the whole time. I nearly lost my job because I used a curse word in order to gain control of the situation, while the scissor-wielding thugs faced no consequences whatsoever. Although the administration was unhappy with my behavior that day, it impressed my students. My quick intervention and harsh language was met with cheers and applause because it was so striking to see a white teacher act so fiercely and decisively. Some students commented that what I had done to save the white boy was “so ghetto,” because I managed to be the dominant figure in the situation. On this occasion, they meant “ghetto” as a compliment. It doesn’t always carry a good connotation, though — the bastardization of my ancestors’ language is fluid.
The victimization of whites by blacks is especially bad in middle schools because black children reach puberty earlier than their white peers, and are therefore much larger. Prepubescent white children generally adopt one or more of these three survival strategies:
Remain small, invisible, and compliant. Try not to speak or be seen. This works fairly well as long as they are willing to periodically do classwork for blacks and not quibble when blacks “repossess” their property. Surrendering candy, sparkly pencils, fidget spinners, and the like are all common ways of paying the informal “white tax” that blacks enforce.
Adopt ebonics and behave in a desperate and exaggerated ghetto style to try to and fit in.
Deny their whiteness. Regularly find ways of announcing that they aren’t really white because they are Italian, or Jewish, or Spanish, or anything else that could possibly be construed as non-white.
These strategies do help, but not that much. In the end, all white students are made to suffer by their non-white counterparts — especially the small and quiet ones.
My proudest accomplishment was helping Michael, an upper-middle-class white boy, escape that middle school. He was only there in the first place because his family had recently moved to the area and enrolled him in the local public school without realizing what that would entail for their son. He was a model student. Every day he would sit quietly doing his assignments, periodically sighing as the rest of the class fought, bickered, yelled, cussed, vandalized, and cat-called one another. One day, I sat down next to him and told him: “Go home and tell your parents to put you in private school, you don’t belong here.” His parents did so almost immediately — I’m so grateful they listened to me and had enough money to do something about it.
Looking back over my career as a teacher, the most striking change I have seen is the demographic one. The high school I teach at now used to be predominantly black, with small numbers of the other races. Now it is only about half black, with a swelling Hispanic population. As I sit at my desk reviewing student data, I see that one of my Latin American students has turned twenty. Carlos is a full grown man, but he is attending public school as a tenth grader to evade immigration enforcement. His presence is welcomed and even celebrated by the school administration and sanctioned by district officials in this large sanctuary city inside a sanctuary state. This high school is fairly large — with over 2,000 students — and there are two others about as big nearby, meaning that Carlos is not the only illegal alien taking advantage of the fact that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not raid schools.
Roughly 40 percent of the student population is now composed of “English language learners.” Many of these students are illegals who seem to have been bussed in by some sort of underground network. Most of them arrived in the past two years. Their families receive city services such as welfare, food stamps, and Section 8 Housing. At school, they get free breakfast and lunch and are given backpacks filled with food to take home over the weekend, along with “reproductive services,” psychologists, social workers, and specialized teachers to help them learn in their own language — all free of charge. The adults — parents or otherwise — get free evening classes in the same school to teach them English and how to find resources within the community.
In return for the generosity of the community, the school now has Hispanic students lining the halls making out — and sometimes doing much more than that. The girls all want to get pregnant, and their culture cheers them on, regardless of their age or marital status. The boys carry knives and sell drugs, the stench of marijuana is ever-present in the hallways — which is where Hispanic students spend most of their time, as opposed to the classrooms they should be seated in. They refuse to speak English, claiming not to understand when told to go to class, and cussing out teachers in Spanish whenever they feel like it. Some even try to threaten teachers to get passing grades, making comments such as, “Do you like your car? I need an A.”
Other students rarely attend school but stay formally enrolled so they can be considered “DREAMers.” Their presence on the roster keeps other pupils from enrolling in a class they may need in order to graduate. Plenty of students openly state that they are only in school to get money and benefits, and to eventually take back the country that white people stole from them. Unsurprisingly, all but a few refuse to stand for the pledge of allegiance.