Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 26, 2023

It only takes one person

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

to ban a poem from a Florida school district because it made some parent uncomfortable. What was all that again about both sides trying to control what happened around schools across the US? That local analysis aged like milk.


  1. “Ban”? They moved it from an elementary-school shelf in a school library to a middle-school shelf in the same school library. At a single school in a single district. On the reasoning it’s “more appropriate” on the middle-school shelf. Maybe silly. Almost certainly unnecessary. But national news? A local issue thousands of miles away in a totally different district?

    Comment by Some perspective seems in order … — May 26, 2023 @ 6:18 am

    • This is inappropriate for Elementary School students? FOH.
      And perhaps this wouldn’t be national news if it wasn’t a systematic effort of shitty people across the US to remove anything that doesn’t reinforce antiquated norms.

      When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?

      The loss we carry. A sea we must wade.

      We braved the belly of the beast.

      We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace, and the norms and notions of what “just” is isn’t always justice.

      And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it.

      Somehow we do it.

      Somehow we weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.

      We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.

      And, yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect.

      We are striving to forge our union with purpose.

      To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.

      And so we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.

      We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.

      We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another.

      We seek harm to none and harmony for all.

      Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true.

      That even as we grieved, we grew.

      That even as we hurt, we hoped.

      That even as we tired, we tried.

      That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.

      Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.

      Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid.

      If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve made.

      That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb, if only we dare.

      It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit.

      It’s the past we step into and how we repair it.

      We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation, rather than share it.

      Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.

      And this effort very nearly succeeded.

      But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.

      In this truth, in this faith we trust, for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.

      This is the era of just redemption.

      We feared at its inception.

      We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour.

      But within it we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves.

      So, while once we asked, how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe, now we assert, how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

      We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be: a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free.

      We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation, become the future.

      Our blunders become their burdens.

      But one thing is certain.

      If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.

      So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left.

      Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.

      We will rise from the golden hills of the West.

      We will rise from the windswept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution.

      We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the Midwestern states.

      We will rise from the sun-baked South.

      We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover.

      And every known nook of our nation and every corner called our country, our people diverse and beautiful, will emerge battered and beautiful.

      When day comes, we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid.

      The new dawn blooms as we free it.

      For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it.

      If only we’re brave enough to be it.

      Comment by Lauren Do — May 26, 2023 @ 6:40 am

      • You called it a “ban” in an entire “district.” Now you’re shifting to trying get people worked up over which shelf is best at a single school many thousands of miles away. Keeping it on the elementary-school shelf would have been fine. The middle-school shelf is probably also fine. I wonder how many middle-shelves it’s on across the nation. Someone should research that so we can have another national news cycle about it and local districts everywhere can start debating the issue.

        Comment by Some perspective seems in order … — May 26, 2023 @ 6:52 am

        • Bulbs as dim as you are seldom worth the keystrokes, but an extra cup of coffee gives me just a little more grit this morning so here goes:

          1) There is absolutely NOTHING in that poem that inappropriate for any child of any age.

          2) There are two reason why this woman in Florida opened this can or worms:

          -Its recitation at Joe Biden’s inauguration
          -The fact it notes coup attempt, which MAGA morons hate any mention of, reprinted here for your perusal:

          We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation, rather than share it.
          Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
          And this effort very nearly succeeded.

          3) Take a closer look at who this Florida mom lionizes:

          4) There will not be a four

          Comment by dave — May 26, 2023 @ 7:06 am

        • I suspect we can all agree that (1) there exists in Florida an individual with some misguided priorities, (2) to the extent this particular book currently resides on an elementary-school shelf here in Alameda it can stay where it is, and (3) to the extent the book currently resides on a middle-school shelf here that’s fine too.

          Comment by Some perspective seems in order … — May 26, 2023 @ 7:54 am

    • When you live in a country where free speech is a founding principle, book bans — even at the margins — are supposed to be “national news.”

      Comment by dave — May 26, 2023 @ 6:50 am

    • I’m not for book banning, but surely you know that California does it too.

      Burbank, a California school district, banned the following books after a complaint by four Black parents.

      The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
      To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
      Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
      The Cay, Theodore Taylor
      Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Mildred Taylor

      All are award winning books, several by Black authors.

      Comment by Be Fair — May 26, 2023 @ 7:22 am

      • One Black author. Although “banned” is the term commonly used in headlines, it is also not correct. The books had been in a “mandatory” category that teachers are allowed to require every student to read. They were moved to their “supplemental” category, available to students in school and classroom libraries and may be read or discussed independently or in smaller groups. Can you see where a Black adolescent does not feel comfortable being forced to read a book like Huckleberry Finn where the N word is used so causally?

        You can read the official decision in detail in the link below.

        Comment by Burbank — May 26, 2023 @ 8:25 am

        • This seems very similar to the Florida school which moved it from the elementary to middle school section of the library after a process which allowed all voices to be heard. But get real. The Burbank school board decision took these American classic books out of the hands of thousands of California students, most of whom are unlikely to go to the library to check the book out if not assigned by a classroom teacher, and had far more impact than one Florida elementary school. I hate the “N” word but the reality is that a student is exposed to that word a hundred times a day on the playground, the park, and in the media they consume- often used by the celebrities they admire.

          I think parents voices should be heard- from all groups -even conservative parents. They do not surrender any rights when their child goes to school.

          BTW- Ca. schools can’t get most kids to read or do math- now ranked 48th in the nation with the lowest reading and math scores in 40 years and AUSD desperately cancelling successful programs to funnel money into raising reading scores.

          Comment by Be Fair — May 26, 2023 @ 10:50 am

      • bOtH sIDeZ!!!!

        Comment by Rod — May 26, 2023 @ 10:22 am

    • Yeah, this seems like exactly the sort of issue we should be splitting hairs over.

      Comment by Rod — May 26, 2023 @ 10:23 am

      • It’s the sort of issue that’s so trivial, meaningless, and irrelevant to anyone reading this that we should all hope we can one day forget we ever learned of it.

        Comment by Some perspective seems in order … — May 26, 2023 @ 10:25 pm

  2. This should seriously be on the next board agenda. Who can make that happen? Do we have this book on the GD middle-school shelf?!? For FS it’s been demonstrated on Twitter how reactionary that would be. Wait! Is this book even in our collection?!!!!! OMG make it mandatory for first-graders now!

    Comment by Some perspective seems in order … — May 26, 2023 @ 10:38 pm

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