Chicago Neighborhoods: Constructive, Corrosive, Communicative?

I. INTRODUCTION

Election Day in Chicago, and the candidates are out there. What are some of the topics on which they speak and on which they attempt to cater to the voters? There are the usual issues of taxes, TIFF’s, having an elected school board, transportation, the roads and bridges, and business. There is another issue that crops up in their ads: the neighborhoods.

It seems that the word “diversity” is a new concept to people of modern America, but it was not news to me when growing up in Nashville. There was not even a need to mention the word, as some kind of cajoling to get me to think of others who were different, to think of others in terms of some kind of census related terminology, or to see others for what I could get out of them for statistics, tax dollars, business funding, etc.

II. NASHVILLE NO – BOUNDARIES

The area of town I grew up in was about as low – crime as a part of a major city can be. There was no need to even think of anything dangerous happening. Police patrols were regular and it was good to see them, but they were just doing their jobs, that I knew. I just watched and went on with activities. Everyone kept their homes maintained and their yards neat, their lawns mowed, their mailboxes painted, and their noise levels down. There were no shootings, none of the “if it bleeds it leads” junk on the news networks that plagues us these days, and no talk of drugs around the area that would cause us to be on the watch for dealers/ pushers, and certainly no mention of gangs such as make parts of Chicago notable in the national scene for violence.

Not at all; our part of town was quiet, comfortable, and about as “diverse” as can be. I went to school with children who, thank goodness, did not all look like me or speak as I did, or dress as I did. They were interesting and different and my classmates and my teachers, pure and simple. We were there to learn, to play together, to interact on projects and to come and to go every week. We had no need for uniforms; we were there to do what students do – no metal detectors or security guards or metal bars needed, thank you. They might have been around but I had no need to take such heavy notice of them. I felt safe and that is what mattered to me and my parents.

The same applied to the churches I attended: it was a church, and everyone was welcome. Everyone sang, participated in Sunday School, baptisms, christenings, parties, etc. We came and went, one and all worshippers of the same God. The message was the same and we understood it.

People were people in my eyes and for my folks, who worked around the doctors and nurses and staffs of at least three major local hospitals as their careers progressed. They saw every patient, everyone who needed help, no matter who they were. I was fortunate to interact with the brilliant people who were friends of my parents, who came to our home and to whose homes we went. Compared to how people think today, my folks were ahead of the time in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and thank goodness I was not subjected to the terrible talk of what separates whom from whom and what this means to “the government statisticians” and the Census Bureau.

I traveled after high school for international vacations and the world broadened. Because I had not been so mentally restricted early in life, I had an open mind to these exotic cultures and languages, foods and attire and jewelry and histories that greeted me like the pages of an open book coming to life. I was not worried about it at all, the influence of these diverse and amazing cultures on my mind and spirit. Gone were thoughts of being separated by some imaginary line that ended at a certain street or city limit or ethnic boundary. Travel and the benefits that came with doing that made my world a better place. It was grand – the world became my neighborhood

It was marvelous.

Then I moved to Chicago…

III. CHICAGO: SIDES, DISTRICTS, and… NEIGHBORHOODS

Those candidates we will consider in this election today have spoken to and berated each other on their work with and in and their experiences with and funding of Chicago neighborhoods. They talk about how safe or unsafe “their neighborhoods” are; they talk about the closings of schools, the disrepair of roads, the lack of or the concentration of development for residences and businesses. They talk about diversity… not about unity.

We need a mayor who will break down those barriers and remove the roadblocks to progress, a friendly and open –  minded mayor and the aldermen who will work with him. As Shakespeare might put it, we need someone who will “dispel these inconveniences”, which is part of a speech from the play Henry V, when, towards the end, King Henry and Princess Katharine are listening to the Duke of Burgundy speak on restoring peace.

Our mayoral candidates might have a lot of money and influence and power when the cameras are around for campaign photo opps, but they seem to forget something, that Chicago is and always has been a diverse city, and always will be.

From its inception to right now, Chicago is made up of people who interact every day with others who do not look or talk or speak as they do, people who need help and who give help and who are glad to help in their lines of work, every day. These are the retailers, the first responders, the doctors and nurses and administrators, the airport ticket agents, the airline crews, the television studio camera operators, the bus drivers, and the furniture salespeople.

Diversity is nothing new, and we just need to leave off this census -oriented thinking and make progress. Interaction is easier when we just simply treat everyone with respect and courtesy. Represent yourself as a person, a special human being, an American citizen, plain and simple; represent yourself as someone who is one of those people out there to help and to work with everyone. Close down the prejudices, and bless yourself with the qualities of peace.

We just need to do that.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2015.

Advertisements

Census Regulations Can End Good Relationships… or Prevent Them From Being Good

I. INTRODUCTION

When you are around someone for many years, you think that after a certain amount of time you know about all there is to know. You have been friends, and like friends do you have probably argued, parted ways and made up, eaten out and visited together for movies and gone on vacations and such.

But then something deep -seated reared its ugly head- prejudice. And just like that, old ways intruded, the old ways promoted by our government, using our tax dollars, and funding the Census Bureau.

Representation is good, but not if someone is hurt or injured or further singled out because of the present laws and codes of the Census. It really is only for the purpose of counting the population, and no more. Anything else is an impediment to progress and achievement of a truly united United States.

If you have lost a friend thanks to prejudice and bias, thank the government. If you have lost business or been falsely accused because of those “protected status” labels, thank the government. If you have had it “up to here” with someone else labeling you and singling you out, thank the government.

I cannot begin to imagine how many potentially good relationships or even long – standing friendships and other unions have been damaged or completely broken and dissolved because of the biases and prejudices this nation has come to deem as acceptable.

II. WHERE YOU WORK SHOULD BE FREE OF BIAS AND PREJUDICE

Americans sometimes take for granted the privilege of having a job, and will put up with goodness knows what in order to keep it and grow in it.

Still, our government wants to make it complicated for people to begin and own a business. One look at the regulations dealing with the Census and the Small Business Association and those dealing with surveys of business owners shows that even though the owner might not think about his or her employees in terms of anything but a dedicated team, the surveys have something else in mind. The enumeration questions are hard deal with at times, especially when you as an owner pay no attention to race, color, gender, ethnicity, nativity, or other factors, when thinking about your staff. But the government wants to ruin that progressive thinking by sending you surveys that make you consider your staff in just those terms. Now you have to remark on who is what and what they do and such like items that in a way divide your staff in your mind.

But you can choose not to fill out the questions – you can say that such biases compromise other principles, or your ethics or morals or religion. You can take a stand against legalized prejudice.

The regulations of the Census Bureau have led to racial profiling and so much “legalese” that whenever we are out in busses, businesses, trains and when we fill out applications, we see the tangled web of the Census Bureau. Everywhere we turn we are buffeted by those signs posted and those disclaimers written, that the business or transit system will do its best to provide good service and not base the quality of service provided on “race, color, gender, national origin, religion or disability…”

But isn’t that what is happening in a subtle way? There is the wish not to discriminate, but the labeling words are right there in plain sight. We don’t want to treat you poorly because you look and act and dress differently from those who made those census act schedules that direct that the questions be answered and submitted with those categories in mind. You have to think of yourself in those terms because someone wants power over you or to regulate or categorize you for their own selfish and arrogant ends.

And then what happens? When you walk down a street, what does the approaching person do – pull their purse closer? What does the paranoid shopper do when you approach to look at something? Do they appear to guard their purchases or their bags? Thank the government and the Census Bureau. You could be just minding your own business or trying to see something on a shelf, as I was doing at a local liquor store yesterday. There was a man and a woman with a cart that had bags in it, and I came to look at something on a shelf. The guy could have moved the cart out of the way or asked if he could move it, but he moved very quickly as though to block me and guard the bags, like I was going to take them. I said nothing but went back around another series of shelves as I realized I had passed the item I sought.

It is a pity that we have allowed the terminology of separation to ruin our lives and our potential so awfully. So much has been wasted on the categorizing, the attempts at clearing out the collective conscience, the departmentalizing of the human being and the ruin of the human spirit. So much waste.

III. ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR PREJUDICES… AND CONQUER THEM

Most of us have grown up in a world riddled with prejudices, some of the effects of which we can see and some that are subtle in presentation and appearance. We see on the news, on the media spin that gives us more information than we need and that we sometimes want, the conflagrations arising around race and gender and certain preferences that cause some among us to be judged as having “alternative lifestyles”. Well, everyone to some degree has alternative lifestyles to someone else; we do make choices, every day, alternates… every day.

But when we use those biases and census schedule factors as excuses to not help someone or to perform a degrading or derogatory action and call it right or acceptable “because it’s on the census form and the government dictates that you are… this or that”, then there is a problem. Indifference and avoidance and denial take the place of compassion and love and grace, and someone might just die because those who stand around and who could help “do not look like that person”. “That person isn’t from my community so I don’t want to help them.” That is bigotry, and there is nothing good about it.

What does need look like, then? What does pain look like, then?

Many people take the stand for a post – racial America, and it is high time. The only race we need to think about is that which circles the athletic track.

When you can look at someone with civility and with compassion and with the caring thought of “sure, this is another person, and I am a person… cool deal.”, that is progress. When you can welcome everyone into your school or business or church or club with civility and understanding, that is progress. It is more than just being tolerant because “the government says so”; it is real and genuine peace of mind, no problem, no analyzing, no details needed. You are a human being, the person in your store or on that bus or in that airport or in your restaurant is a human being.

Civility – pass it on; don’t pass on it.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2015.

Rahm Lights Up Chicago? Be Sure to Clean Up Thoroughly First!

Inspired by a news story heard this morning on Chicago’s CBS affiliate radio station, News Radio 780 WBBM, I present:

CLEAN UP YOUR MESS!

1. To Beautify a Space, First Make a Plan

When someone designs anything –  a garden, a car, a cityscape, a grand hotel or an office building or a home, the process begins with a plan. People sit down and draw a plan that goes from the mind, the workings of the brain, onto paper and also on a computer. A lot goes into making progress: the way the group works together, weather, availability of funds and of the location suited to the project… so many variables.

The important factor is that the planners work together in a civilized atmosphere with all that is needed to make the plan come to life. Whatever is needed: coffee, tea, a new office, travel to other destinations, booking a hotel or a limo to get to where the plans will take shape, a quiet place to sit and draw it up… everyone must agree to what will make the plan a success.

2. To Beautify a City, Talk to Everyone Who Has a Say in How it will Look (or should look)

** And that means EVERYONE, EVERYBODY who is a member of that city and community! **

Start by doing at the very least what will make communities better: THINK UNITY! One reason we are so fragmented is that we are thinking along demographic lines, not person to person and civil lines. We are thinking in ways that box us in (race, income, ethnicity, religious creed) instead of thinking on common ground and thinking towards what will make progress. We will make progress only when we clean up ourselves in all those ways that make humans special: in mental, spiritual, and physical ways.

We need to clean up areas of gang violence. Why, even the very idea, the term “gang violence” is ridiculous. The gangs were not here first and people are sick and tired of hearing about them on the news every day. The more the press gives attention to the gangs and those actions related to them, the more they will do those things that get them press time and air time and talk in the reports. NO MORE GANGS! Folks, get brave and get those gangs out of the area, right now. Stop your need for drugs and guns; YOU DON’T NEED THAT STUFF and you don’t need anyone to help you solve problems, at least not that way.

You can solve your own problems without drugs, illegal guns, and membership of and the presence of gangs. How stupid can we get, tolerating gangs. REALLY. Gangs are nothing and nobodies and mean nothing to us except for the trouble they cause. Well, run those punks off your street corners, clean them out of your area and get involved.

When we get our streets and land cleaned up, we can turn to beautification.

But we must make sure the gangs are out of the picture, the abandoned buildings are either renovated or torn down, the lots are cleaned and free of pests, trash, rats, squatters, etc., and the streets are safe for people to work on, play on, and go to school and work on.

The job does not do itself; we have to use elbow grease, folks. We have to run the gangs out with shouts, voices, prayers, music so loud they can’t transact and will leave the area, stones if necessary, sticks and pelting those punks with bottles and rotten tomatoes until they get the message. GO AWAY AND DON’T COME BACK. These are OUR streets, understand!?

Assess, once the area is safe, what your area looks like. What are the main problems and who will help you solve them? Who will help you break through the red tape and get the funds and the materials necessary to get the community looking better? Are the problems viaducts that flood, then sit on the departments of water and streets and sanitation until they get off their behinds and act to solve the problems.

Is the problem a lot full of trash and debris? Well then, get in there with a group and clean it up. Get the tools of the cleanup trade: tarps, rakes, shovels, sturdy gauntlet gloves, bug spray, insect repellent, trash bags, trash cans, dumpsters to haul the stuff away, and people who will be available to have food and drink ready to serve to volunteers who, literally, work for food in such cases.

3. Beautification Begins With a Thorough Cleanup Campaign

* For a city Chicago’s size, is a month enough? *

For the mayor’s plan to work, Chicago needs a thorough cleanup. There is enough bird poop in the Loop to build a wall, so no matter what we feel towards wildlife, the pigeons must go. After all, pigeons are introduced pests from Europe. The proper name for these birds is the European Rock Dove. They were brought to America and have prospered due to a lack of natural enemies, so they must go. Accumulated droppings can lead to disease, and it looks really gross and smells even worse (like waste will do after a while), and animal waste attracts some of the worst pests of all, the disease -bearing rats we are trying to rid out of our city.

The L stations, the entire L structure, and buildings along that area of the Loop must be power -washed and cleaned down, right to the sidewalks, and then anti -pest programs must be instituted. Putting up anything that will get rid of the pigeons is necessary… either that or bring in a natural solution, the amazing Peregrine Falcon and the super Cooper’s Hawk.

These birds are bird -eaters, and will go after anything when they are hungry, and there is a plentiful supply of pigeons. We could then return these birds to a natural setting or watch them breed and enjoy the balance they will bring to controlling the pest population.

We must also assess the pollution in our city in order to find the right ways to clean up such problems as petroleum coke, or petcoke, which is documented as causing caustic pollution to an area of Chicago near a plant that harbors piles of this black sooty stuff that gets on people’s homes and into their yards and into their lungs. Chemicals pollute our water, trash litters our beaches and litter clogs our streets and alleys. Corporations need to be held seriously accountable for their practices, for no matter whether they say that their studies show they are acting within the law, doing so does not mean that what they produce and how they manufacture is good or right or best or decent. Those who produce and harbor the petcoke say they are acting within the law and are doing nothing wrong, but in using such language they are completely ignoring the residents of that area who suffer from the black dust that floats into their neighborhood.

Also, excess light is a form of pollution. It is now shown that light pollution harms the circadian rhythm and causes stress to the human body and mind. We need our dark spaces and our real night spaces so we can rest, have quiet and transition from work to rest. In those areas where the mayor wants these light displays, people do live, and the mayor wants to attract more tourists to those areas. People need their space… residents need their space away from tourists’ eyes, and people do live downtown.

Do you wonder why our city has that odd dirty -bronze rusty -golden color at night? Light pollution, plain and simple. We are thrown into thinking we have to act and work all day and all year no matter what, because of this overblown presence of artificial light. We need to turn it off, not turn it on, and we need more efficient lighting, using mirrors, reflectors, solar power, whatever it takes to conserve energy and make our use of it more efficient. Besides, as the news story related, Paris, the famous “City of Lights” is trying to cut down on its golden reputation and reduce use of light. This is more energy efficient. Why Chicago wants to use excess light, even more light on buildings and bridges and historic structures, is not logical. We need less light , not more light.

There are times and places for tourists and times and places for residents. Residents’ needs and wishes come first, plain and simple.

Trash along a Chicago street.

So, Your Honor, before you get some high-minded plan to light up the city, be sure that what you want to highlight is what you want the world to see. Be absolutely sure that you want the world to see trash on the riverfront, homeless veterans roaming the lakefront and the riverfront and the Loop digging in trash cans and sleeping on corners. Be sure you want the world to see places where gangs shoot up innocent people and teenagers roam in flash mobs terrorizing law -abiding tourists and citizens shopping and dining along Michigan Avenue and towards the Loop. Be completely sure you want the world to see the petcoke, the trash on the bridges, the dirty buildings, the oil on the lake, the glass fragments and other debris on the beaches, the bird poop in the Loop and the trash along the highways. Do you want the world to see and hear about the gangs, the drugs, the labor disputes and the airport noise?

We could spend months getting the trash picked up from the roadsides and still only begin to make a dent in the pollution that plagues Chicago.

Let’s get up and get to it, folks. The roads and bridges are not going to clean up on their own.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

RESOURCES

1. Wikimedia Commons, searched through GOOGLE images.

2. http://waronfilth.com/tag/broken-glass.

Race Relations? Are We Making Progress… or Making Problems?

Race relations is a very complicated issue… and we have made it even more so by allowing our government to put into our culture and our more vulnerable trains of thought and action and working the idea of demographics being so important. Well, perhaps “demographics” are important but only if the methods lead to actual, real, and tangible actions being done for those who are really in need of certain things being funded or built or done for a community.

But what is “good” and who is doing the “good”? Truly it should not even matter, but these days when Americans are so rude and crude in their manners that they are coming out and DEMANDING things, and DEMANDING this or that, and thinking that they are the only important factor because of their skin color or their ethnicity that they can push others out of the way and get in the front of the line, we need to be more on our guard than ever.

Race relations will not make progress until we lessen the role of the Census Bureau and wake up to the fact that it does not matter what you look like, “where you are from”, what your ethnic background is, or what you do for a living. People need to realize that the government is not really doing the average citizen any good at all.

Witness the recent talk of school segregation. Who really is at fault? Everyone or no one or the government or school officials? Is it the false idea of the “neighborhood” school that prevents  people from growing up and out and expanding their trains of thought and branching out? Is it the fear among these “neighborhood” people that if “someone does not look like me that they will have a bad influence on my family”? What kind of silly thinking is THAT?

Who cares about what the person looks like that is teaching your kids or treating your for a disease or selling you that house? And anyway, NO ONE looks like anyone else, so get that into your unique heads right now! NO ONE looks like anyone else, and we all think about things in different ways and see things in unique and variable ways. Someone can say there are “identical” siblings, but that’s not the real issue here. People vary in their coloring, in their hairstyles and hair coloring, in eye color, in a thousand different physical variables that push the idea of “looking like” another person completely out the window with the rest of the demographic garbage.

Think about this, a thought inspired by something I heard on the radio this morning, to wit that there are not enough “African – American” doctors in the “underserved” areas of Chicago, and no doubt other major cities. And then someone thinks the resources are not there to train and get these doctors -to -be, those “black” and “brown” children mentioned in the report on News Radio 780 WBBM in Chicago, out to those areas where the need appears greatest. Bologna.

Have you ever heard of a medical school, Mr. WBBM Reporter? Yes, there is actually something called a MEDICAL SCHOOL, folks. Just in case you in those communities are not aware, there have been doctors of every “race” and background for decades in America. Anyone, yes anyone, can go to a medical school, get the proper training, get incentive, and get to the business and the study of becoming a physician. Then they can choose where they want to go, and the choice is based on those variables such as where they will feel comfortable or needed or what kind of money they will make.

Well if the money is all that matters the doctor will not be a good doctor to the point of seeing the patients as people instead of as payments. If the doctor wants to get out there and serve the populace that is the target of the policies that have cause that population to be inadequately served and thus in need of care and comfort, then they will do so. An episode of the popular television show EMERGENCY! had a physician who put his private practice way out in an area of desert and scrub and no one around for miles, at least not another doctor who could provide his skills. The small office had a nurse, a couple of nice clean patient rooms, and a surgical suite.

Now in early parts of the episode there is a bad accident that the main EMERGENCY! characters come upon as they return from a vacation. They must get help for the victims since they cannot practice their paramedic skills in another state, so they eventually get help and race the mother and boy to that small clinic in that small town area. The nurse is the only person on staff there and so they must wait for the doctor, who eventually arrives and sees that there is need for his services. The paramedics are expecting to see an old man, the proverbial lovable old country doctor but instead a younger man with a thick mustache and in very casual clothes, comes in and assesses the scene. After the victims are treated the paramedics and the doctor talk about why he has put his practice in that part of the state. He says something to the effect of, “Well I just wanted to practice where I am most needed. That’s why I stayed here.” Marvelous. EMERGENCY! as a 1970’s television show had a cast that was wonderful in its professional presentation and diverse nature, and this one episode is only one demonstration of what happens when need and service and consideration outweigh “government” policies and separatist attitudes and action takes over and someone has the courage to establish that practice where they really are most needed.

Now think about this: when it comes to “race”, what someone looks like on the outside, what would you do if your house caught fire and you were trapped on a higher floor with no way out? The only “race” you should then be concerned about is the dash of the fire department to your home to save your life. Would it really matter to you who was first up that 100 foot Pierce Aerial in that basket to rescue you from the burning bedroom? I think not. If you looked out that window at the firefighter who came up in his or her heavy gear to get you out, what would you see – someone with a face that “does not look like yours”, or someone who is there to save your life, with arms at the ready to carry you down and get you some help? If you took one look at that firefighter and back at the flames coming through the bedroom door, I suspect you would reach out and let the firefighter carry you down that latter, with his or her words of reassurance as you go down to the ground, safely away from the flames and smoke.

There is next the issue of this stuff about “neighborhood” schools, especially in Chicago. A neighborhood is made up of people who can be of the same background or can be made up of a lot of different kinds of people. So what does it matter what the teachers or the officials “look like”? Goodness gracious, what digression… what aggression… what stupid trains of thought! “I won’t let you teach my kids because you don’t look like them!” Come on, folks. If the teacher is qualified, if the school system is providing qualified personnel and proper facilities, then there is nothing to worry about. People are letting words and concepts such as “charter” and “selective” and “magnet” and “private” and “public” get in the way of seeing that the students are provided a good and proper and higher education. We are being taken away from the real issue: EDUCATION.

My teachers were very diverse when I was growing up and attending public schools in Nashville. I didn’t care a bit what these ladies and gentlemen looked like: I respected them each and every one, I sat and listened in class, and I was respectful of the principals and other school officials and bus drivers. Had I thought, “I’m not taking math from him because he’s not from my neighborhood” or “I won’t listen to her because she has a different skin color from me” would have gone against the very principles of what education is meant to do and what its purpose is. Education is meant to challenge us to grow and expand our horizons, to get us to put different skill sets together and continue to learn and work with others, to make out the map of our lives and careers and our plans for the future. If we do not draw out the talents we have or that others have; if we do not march out and away from the ideas and thoughts that impede progress in the sense of us working together with others for success; if we do not lead others out of the mental captivity our government officials have chained many of us with, then our education system has failed.

We have failed, we have then wasted money and energy and resources, and we have not done our best.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

 

 

Ice Cream Parties and the ISAT: What is Our Education System Really Feeding the Kids?

NEWS STORY ON WBBM NEWSRADIO 780 PROMPTS THIS RESPONSE

After a week of hearing about the controversy surrounding the giving of the soon-to-be outdated ISAT, or Illinois Standard Achievement Test in this case (ISAT is an acronym for other tests and names- see Resources list at the end of this article), I am inspired to write this article.

First of all, according to parents and teachers this test is going to be done away with and so is obsolete. It is also wasteful, taking up classroom instructional time, and not to mention the amount of testing material which would be needed. Standardized testing has long been under fire for being discriminatory, wasteful, outdated and just a way to categorize and organize by a mere set of numbers (test scores).

What else are these statistics used for but to find a way into the clutches of the Census Bureau in some way or other regarding education funding, gerrymandering, and goodness knows what other unhealthy ways the government has found to divide and sort us out and bring on inferiority or superiority complexes.

And now what is evidence of this? Well, on the news report to night came word that some kids who took the test (or “opted in”) were treated to an ice cream party in their classroom while the students who “opted out” were made to sit and do work while the others enjoyed the party.

Well I would say to that, “How crass and materialistic can they get?” What message is that sending the students? I can think of a few, one being that “if you don’t do what the authority figures want to force you to do, you won’t get in on the sweets and the party. You have to sit aside and watch the others have fun!”

Well, so be it, take your lousy and rotten party. I’d rather sit far away from you as possible and do something productive that will further my education, away from the useless test and the ones who want the attention and the sweets. Let them have them. “Let them eat cake!”

Another message the students might get: “Food and attention mean more than getting a good education.” If I just give in and do what they want I can get a free meal or dig in to the ice cream and cake and oh… it must be good for me to have because that’s what the reward is!”

It’s not good for you, my young friend. It is sugar, sweet, playing for your attention. It will give you a sugar whiz and bang so tall you’ll climb the walls filled with excess energy and inattention. That sugar jump will quickly disappear and then you will feel tired and worn out and jittery. So your little friends who eat the huge amounts of ice cream and cake and maybe a few cups of those artificially sweetened fruit cocktail drinks with which the grocery stores are loaded, and which contain only about five or ten percent real juice, will soon get a big let down.

Meanwhile you who were made to do the quiet work, eating probably a healthier selection of a sandwich, vegetable sticks, milk, an apple, some nuts if you can safely have them for the energy they provide, peanut butter maybe, some fiber bars or other selection of fiber and vitamins, sitting there silently doing your reading, writing an essay, or practicing your mathematics or spelling, will have an overall better day. You have the productive use of time, the better and more balanced diet, the quiet time that is necessary for study and concentration, and no pressure about looking for some silly test score.

I side with the teachers who boycotted giving the test or having any part of it. They know that the best use of classroom time is truly more than some set of standardized test scores. Teaching to the test is not a true measure of academic achievement, so the entire testing system needs to be questioned and reformed. These tests are indeed tied to school funding- so where your tax dollars go and how important your neighborhood is to some ivory -tower government official who has no idea about your school or the students and is too far removed in the halls of Washington to give a flip about what your opinion is about some state -mandated test procedure.

Boycott all these tests, brave teachers and parents and students! Opt out of the stupidity and the uselessness and the waste of money and time and other resources that the government pushes in your face and braces with intimidation!

Intimidation? That’s grounds enough for a strike if ever one came up! Stop the importance of the tests until the system is completely burned away and reformed. The test serves no purpose, does not affect anything but census gibberish and school funding and is not relevant to the reception of a good education.

But as you will see by reading the article and the commentary so far given at the end of the news article in the resource list at the end of this article, the issue is up and down, with every side and every kind of person chiming in on the issue. What a situation…

Our students are treated as pawns in the hands of those who want them to turn to this or that side… what do they want then but to believe that these young citizens can be taken in by the appearance of the passing ice cream and cake? There will be time enough for parties and leisure, young learners, when you have earned the enjoyment. Now the time to take the leisure will not come by shirking your job or just “getting by” with your lessons and by breaking the rules that are there for your safety and health.

You must make the effort, take the time, be patient in your enjoyment of learning, gain wisdom and observe and most importantly listen.

In the meanwhile, good bye and good riddance, ISAT!

RESOURCES

1. ISAT Acronyms. http://www.acronymattic.com/ISAT.html. 4 March 2014

2. On the ISAT Controversy. http://www.suntimes.com/news/25979696-418/teachers-who-boycotted-isat-allowed-to-remain-in-classrooms.html. 4 March 2014

Minority? Who’s a Minority? Second City and Chicago Needs to Grow Up Fast!

Well now, this story tidbit featured in the past few days on News Radio WBBM 780 in Chicago caught my ears, and I think it is time to once again bring to the social fore this awful idea of race and social injustice. But we are faced with more than just calling the problems or the signs “race” and “social injustice”.

Communication Utility Street Hole Cover

Communication: We Need to Respect Each Other and Come Together in Unity and Active Goodwill.

COMMUNICATION: MADE IN USA, 2013.

What we have is the problem of arrogance, pride, and just plain being mean -spirited. Americans are crude, rude, blind with arrogance and wily, with some sort of idea that we can say and do whatever we want without any kind of consequences for ourselves or others. Well there ARE consequences, folks.

Chicago’s history of dealing with the Census Bureau’s falsehoods about race and other categorizing and demeaning factors is one thing, but now Second City has taken up the reins of wanting to keep this delusion of “minorities” going by offering some sort of program that will draw in “minority” performers. They are drawing on the idea that the people of Saturday Night Live (SNL as it is known) figured out that they had no diversity in their ranks of performers, that there were not enough “people of color”.

Now a lady whom the news media call a “woman of color” puts out this program to attract minorities to the stage of Second City. Does she really want to be called a “woman of color”? Maybe she wants to be simply known as a patron of the arts, or a business person doing good things for others. The way the story comes out now, she is keeping the whole business of calling people by such degrading and meaningless and terrible terms that others have put out there and are meant to put people down, make others feel inferior in some way, and in every way is terribly offensive and misguided. At least such thinking offends me, and there is some person out there who wants to put me in that group some power broker dares to call a “minority”.

The only “minority” among us is our entire “race”, every human being, the whole human race. We are all in a minority. Think about it- we are on one planet, Earth, which so far as we know is the only one so far found that is capable of supporting our form of life as we know it. We are faced with reduction of already rare resources, the soiling of our fresh water supplies with carcinogenic chemicals that we invented, the burning of forests that contain medicinal plants, the fouling of our atmosphere, and the increase in air pollution to the point that in some parts of China it is beyond a level considered unhealthy.

Fire Department Vehicle (photo use permission approval pending). Photo taken in Nashville, Tennessee.

Why should it matter to you who is on the crew that comes to rescue you or put out your house fire? Who cares if the guy flying the 747 out of Chicago is one or another race or nationality? So what? You are on the sales crew, you deserve respect and you need to give respect. You’re on the lineup to play with the team- same thing: give and earn respect. Don’t let others label you or tell you who you are because “they” have some kind of sick need to make others “feel vulnerable” or incite other feelings of insecurity or lack or inferiority. You are a citizen, you are unique, you are special, you count, and you are a sovereign person. No one has the right to label you for their own selfish purposes; no one has the right to judge you so boldly and loosely and cruelly. That’s profiling, plain and simple; that’s prejudice and that’s racism. Who dares to be so bold and so foolishly arrogant?

Illuminated Communications Connections

Illuminated Communications Connections: What We All Need Every Day so Progress Will Pave Our Way.

Far as I am concerned every person has some color on their outsides. A “white” person still has some pigmentation (unless a disease robs them of it), some pinkish tones or tanned tones on the skin; a “black” person has more pigmentation. We sure have a lot of work to do to rid ourselves of the ideas that skin color (“race”) has anything to do with how intelligent or funny we are, what kind of jobs we can do, where we can live or what kind of clothes we should wear. Throughout history people have painted their skins in times of war and celebration; we have painted ourselves in blue, white, red, black and the vivid colors seen on people in tribal Africa. We have made ourselves up with tanning salons, with rouge, with lipstick, henna, with concoctions of berries and bark. We put paint on ourselves for sporting events, and we enjoy it because we have fun and we can laugh that we look totally ridiculous. If we can laugh off having yellow, green, blue and orange and vivid red face paint on our bodies, then we should just as easily dismiss what we look like when we are not human canvases. We can learn to have fun and enjoy the company of others and lessen social tensions by remembering this one simple fact: Skin color is just that, a difference in how we look on the outside, and nothing else, absolutely nothing else.

The only “race” we need to be concerned about is the “race” to save ourselves from ourselves, from delusional thinking, from arrogance, pride, greed, power obsession, power hunger, malice, and denying that we are all in trouble and troubling to others unless we very quickly shed these useless factors of race, color, and gender as nothing but hindrances to progress. Yes that’s right, the Census Bureau is at fault for pushing these ideas into the fabric of our nation and thus warping that fabric that, without these silly and stupid categorizations would be a fine and beautiful tapestry indeed.

We need have nothing to do with letting skin color or other outside factors influence how we interact with others. We need right now, this very moment, to stop thinking on the outside and turn to how we think and feel on the inside. We need to grow up fast, to drop our support for organizations that seem to think that such thinking is useful, helpful, progressive, or social or better.

Sure everyone should be represented, but that’s just it. Everyone deserves respect and not because of what we are, where we are from, some sort of ethnic or heritage issue (serious identity problems), but because we are citizens of the American and the global community. Focusing on the other ways we are diverse is the key, ways such as what we like to eat, what we like to read, what art forms we enjoy or can do, what are our favorite sports, where we like to travel, what kinds of things we like and how we can get together and interact with each other in a truly civil and social and meaningful atmosphere….

…An atmosphere that is not clogged with the pollution of “race”, “color”, “creed”, or “gender” or the Census Bureau for that matter. If this is what thinking in the already given and par for the course way of “diversity” is doing to our country, I just as soon think of another word, one that is part of the very title of our nation. We are the United States of America. Let’s practice it, let’s respect it, and let’s get with it. Are you ready for it? It’s simple, easy, and right with the times; it is easy to understand and as basic as ABC and 123. The word is………………………….

UNITY.

Speak Up, America! Watch US Work.

America, get out of your old social shells! What do You Have to Say?

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.