Herbert Rogers Responds to Black IT Uses

Herbert Rogers Responds to Black IT Uses


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes





I am aware that many of the administrators of the BCPS send their children to private schools. 

One must also be mindful that the crisis in the BCP schools just didn’t get this way overnight.

What has occurred in the BCPS in the last 25 years has occurred under the watch of Black leadership,

a black mayor, and a black majority city council.




Herbert Rogers Responds

to Black IT Uses & Cyberspace



Rudy,I am glad Luis Rivera likes your piece. I still have some problems with your essay.  Again, what would be your models of excellence for black boys?  Surely, there must be some model out there which our black boys can emulate? The problems you describe in your piece, I agree, are systemic in the Baltimore City Public Schools, with some notable exceptions.  This certainly is not the case at Poly, where science and engineering are the focus. It also would not be the case at the Baltimore School for the Arts. We also know that the problems you address in this essay are even worse in our comprehensive high schools here in Baltimore. The fact that Baltimore City College was once an all male school, and today its 70 percent female speaks volumes of what is happening in our school system. How are we addressing the lack of black males at Baltimore City College? Or is this a real issue?  Some of the problems you personally faced at City was due to the lack of administrative leadership. One principal was totally incompetent, and the second one had never been the principal of a high school or even knew anything about a high school curriculum. Again, how do we prepare black boys for the rigors of a good college preparatory program in a good high school? I think IT at City was not really a part of the Science Department at City, it was in name only. You seem to fall into the trap that to wear uniforms or to have a preppy look, would merely turn black boys into white boys. In other words, to come to school with pants hanging off their derrieres would be an acceptable form of behavior in preparation for college and the world of work. What are your acceptable models of behavior for black boys? Who are the heroes of black boys?Would someone like Ben Carson be an acceptable hero for a black boy? City as an all male school in the 1960s and part of the 1970s was an all college prep school, all of its students were expected to go to college or to seek some form of post-secondary education. I am almost certain that between 90 and 95 percent of the students in my class went on to college. I am glad that the Board of Director of Poly did a real national search, and chose someone outside of the Baltimore City School system and outside of secondary education to lead the school. Poly has had the bold vision to clearly define its mission as an educational institution that prepares their students for higher education. In spite of all of the gloom, I remain a prisoner of hope. As ever, Herbert

Herbert, peace and blessings,

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Rudy Responds

I think black boys don’t need for us to choose and restrict who they view as a model or a hero. There’s too much of this top down imposition. What we need to do is teach them how to evaluate character and actions, needed for black liberation. And those models that they choose should be given an objective critical review, like any other model. If some choose Carson, fine. If some choose Bill Cosby, that’s fine. And if they choose Tupac, that’s fine too. And if they choose, Kalamu, or Baraka, or Marvin X, that’s all right to.

I think we make too much about hip hop style and clothes, like we make too much about black boys’ speech. And as Marvin X says, Asians and Mexicans come here speaking no English, except “dollar, dollar,” and they’re sending money back to Mexico and China.

My position remains the same: black boys are being blamed for their poverty and their exploitation and that instead of the state expending the necessary and required funds and resources to deal with educational problems in Baltimore we throw up further barriers and repressive measures with respect to our children. They don’t need to be strapped in blue jackets and lynching ties and white shirts to be made civil and respectable. And, as far as clothes style, if one is going to impose one on black children, why not impose African garb–dashikis and wraps.

What we need is a full commitment to the education and welfare of blacks boys and that doesn’t exist in Baltimore and that there are those among the black middle-class education experts who participate wholeheartedly in this farce about excellence in black education.

And as long as the present racial politics are played by petty black politicians, the jockeying for position and power, when they have no program for the enhancement of black education and black boys, Baltimore will suffer, and Black Baltimore even more.

I am willing to bet you that there are a good percentage of those who work at North Avenue Central of the Baltimore system who send their children to private school. And who would blame them, they knowing what they know about their employer.

*   *   *   *   *

Herbert Responds

My brother, my brother,

Your response begs the question.  I am aware that many of the administrators of the BCPS send their children to private schools.  One must also be mindful that the crisis in the BCP schools just didn’t get this way overnight. What has occurred in the BCPS in the last 25 years has occurred under the watch of Black leadership, a black mayor, and a black majority city council.

Do you have any suggestions and/or ideas of programs you would like to see in place to help black boys succeed in high school?  I think this is the real question that we should be tackling, in spite of all of the odds which young black boys face. How do we save young black boys from an almost predetermined fate?

The only thing you have offered thus far is simply a capitalist response, throw more money into a decadent and dying system. I might be idealistic, but I believe we must work to radically restructure  our educational institutions, and we must especially address the educational needs of young black boys.

I do not share your gloom and doom, because I continue to believe there is hope in the unseen.

As ever, Herbert

*   *   *   *   *


I admit I suffer from a paucity of solutions to the educational problems of Black Baltimore. I do not have a comic book doctorate. If you are however suggesting that criticism is not warranted because I don’t have the solution to massive problems you admit have continued for decades, that won’t hold water. I’m not all gloom and doom as you suggest. I know there are exceptions, and that those exceptions will work wonders. But to hide behind the glow and suggest that we do not have a crisis in black education in Baltimore is to ignore the numbers, put on a smiling front, and pray mindlessly for the best. What you should do is show me how I should have greater hope, or how and what poor, regular black parents, and children have to look forward to. — Rudy

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posted 11 July 2005 / update 15 December 2011




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