I’m a huge fan of documentaries. I particularly love documentaries showcasing people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds because I am from such a background . I live in poverty, I have an apartment, but money is always scarce. I manage but I have a difficult time. From the time I was a child I have always had it extremely rough. I attended an elementary school that was poor in every sense of the word. 98% Black. No positive role models and when I say this I mean no Police, firefighters or positive professional city officials ever bothered to pay a visit to the school I went to to provide motivational talks with us kids or give us positive strokes. I think I probably went to 3 different elementary schools.
I had watched the documentary the Motel Kids Of Orange County. Came out in 2010. It’s a heartbreaking documentary. I looked up on Google about any updates on the kids profiled. One of the kids profiled who is now a young man in his late teens did make it out of the poverty, drugs, prostitution that he was exposed to , to become a successful young adult and not only that he got many college scholarships thanks to the tremendous help he received from his teacher & others from his high school. My blog is about is how some people get the HELP they need when they need it and others simply just get left out or fall through the cracks severely neglected, to face a world later on that just won’t care about them! Every single child ( especially the disadvantaged) deserves exactly what this young man received.
This young man was homeless with his family there were a total of 4 kids not including the parents who were crammed into a small motel room. Once the documentary wrapped ( according to an online article L.A. Times)
This young man moved many more times, even going into the shelter system then BACK to living in a motel. He was kicked out at 15 over what it is unknown all the article mentioned was a family disagreement. This young man then had the opportunity to stay with a friend with whom he opened up to about his situation. He was able to stay with his friend until he graduated.
Also this young man was able to get mentoring, and a good deal many other resources to help him through school. He also got a job and worked his way up to a marketing director. He now has his pick of colleges and a great deal of money to go along with it. I’m happy for him.
My issue is this: The help that was given to this young man who is now 18 years of age should be available to every child! Here are some factors which worked in his favor:
He was in a pretty good school district Orange County California ( O.C. is a good + well to do area)
He is male
He is White
He was in the right place at the right time
What everyone needs to understand is that there exists and always has institutional racism. You can go Google that but it exists in the public school system. When I read about this young man and his success I thought to myself what could I have done different to have had some success ? Because I struggled in school BADLY! And I had thought that I was too far gone to even be helped I felt this way because:
I was ignored
I was called “stupid” by other kids, and treated w/o dignity by some of the teachers. I think this was due to a learning disability ( true story)
No one at school including those teachers seemed interested in helping me.
And it’s not just that, there is a “bias” against children of certain races.
At home I was tormented & abused because I had learning difficulties in school. The Step Mother always shamed me over this, and her relatives shamed me over this. Again & again. There were always negative talks and of course the more negative comments of : “Your lazy” or “You don’t try hard enough” speechs that were such torture I would want to jump over a bridge. Those talks really gave me a headache ( remember I’m a young child!)
Most teachers in the public school system just expect LESS from children who are non white. But what most teachers fail to understand is that its more complicated than that! Home could be UNSAFE! Psychologically it can mess a kid up (as did with me)
Most teachers that teach ( HA) basically don’t care about the students with which they teach. I know because as a child I witnessed first hand how teachers would treat say a non white student. Send the boy STRAIGHT to the principals office without even BOTHERING to talk to the kid. I’ve seen verbal abuse from a redneck teacher with Vitalis in his hair ( real greasy with a part to the side) to a non white student, this was when I attended John Burroughs Middle school in Los Angeles. The teacher who taught print shop ( I have no idea WHY I was put in this class??) gave us 7th graders a somewhat complex project to do. I couldn’t do it right, but there was a boy who was in the same class he was African American the teacher ( who was White) basically berated him & his project ( I think the jerk teacher even snatched the project then threw it in the trash can!)
If your a minority you REALLY need the support of family & friends to pull through! There is such a huge disparity between how some students are treated and I strongly suspect teachers of using a sort of caste system to determine WHO gets a break and WHO will NOT!
I’ll give you another example. I read a book about a now grown woman who is a successful attorney ( in Los Angeles) she came from a disadvantaged home, was in & out of Juvenile Hall. She happened to be good at math, this girl ( White) was given a break that break led to many more doors of opportunities that opened up for this girl. That’s all it takes everyone! Someone to help you to open up doors of opportunities, someone who will mentor you. EVERY CHILD NEEDS THIS! But they don’t receive it. Sometimes teachers don’t even respect the kids they are in charge of.
I never had a mentor. I mean I showed up for school but guess what? I was being brutalized at home and what the end result to that was a life time of severe depression & PTSD. I felt PARALYZED! But no one paid me any attention & I had such low self esteem that you would need a shovel to dig it up! Although I’m happy for the very fortunate young man who was profiled as a young boy in that documentary I just wish that the same doors would open up for every child. But sometimes life is just not fair for certain people.
I only wished I would have had those same kinds of opportunities available to me. The public school system really needs to cease being so lopsided.