December 04, 2015

P Words...Priorities, Prejudice, Phucked-up

Our book club just finished reading and discussing Maya Angelou's I Know Why A Caged Bird Sings. We had all read it years ago but we have found that revisiting some of the books that had impact on our lives or the lives of others is vital.

Angelou describes the excitement abounding for the black families over 8th grade graduation? They were getting an education and all the promises that academia promises. The white speaker, Mr. Donleavy, then makes his speech, breaking the hearts and crushing dreams.  His words pour water on the fire and passion of the black families and their graduates. Heads and shoulders hang low, they know they have just been told to remember 'their place'. Unless you are an incredibly gifted athlete, you are never going to be anything but a 'service' person.

How many students and families heard those commencement pronouncements all over the country, especially the southern states over the years? Good thing that doesn't happen anymore, right?


Our book club moved on to Gloria Steinem's latest book, "On The Road". Steinem writes that we, the United States, declare that we are all about freedom yet we imprison a bigger percentage of our citizens than any other country. Our college graduates are stuck with "crippling debt". We build more prisons and less schools. We are also "spending an average of fifty thousand dollars a year per prisoner" yet no where near that amount on students.

When we build more prisons and jails, when we spend more of our assets and resources on housing a large population whose criminal actions begin with inadequate education, disproportionate  availability to health services and safe housing, and inadequate availability of employment opportunities.

We don't put the money into education. We don't invest in people's lives. We are still telling Blacks and Latinos. Women and little girls, and impoverished Caucasions to remember their places, to stay small. We are just more sophisticated by how we communicate it.

"Sorry we can't afford a new science lab or new books at YOUR school, we need to build a big house to keep you in when you grow up because you will never amount to anything."

Is that our legacy?

According to the graph below, my state, California, spends less than $10,000 per year on elementary and secondary school students, yet almost $50,000 per year per inmate.

Can I just interject a little personal prejudice here? If this is what our country thinks is the most important, no wonder Trump is at the top of the polls!

Graph courtesy of CNN Money

We continue to cut education funding, cut Head Start funding. Corporations now have 'sentient being' status. Time for the other "P" word. This thinking is all phucked-up!


  1. My American cousins, you need to elect Bernie Sanders.

  2. Very interesting post! I don't live in your country and I'm not entirely clear about all the social, economical aspects of it, so I hesitate to comment. But there are some things that baffle me!

    1. Believe me, I live here and I am just as baffled! Maybe it's time to pack my bags and head out to a land where sanity rules (Scotty, beam me up!)

  3. Toni I have read three posts so far and you are a brilliant writer! So true the amazing things you say!! Your Country needs to break up that old mans club at the we did here in Canada!!

    Hugs Giggles

    1. Thank you so much. Your comment is making me do a happy dance!

      You're right about the 'good ol' boys club'. Absolutely too much testosterone at the top!

      Hugs back at you!

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