Report from Louisiana: I have questions

Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – With my retirement from the classroom now about 33 (school) days away, I find myself sometimes doing a little self-check: “Are you sure? Any second thoughts?” 

The answer to that question is a resounding NOPE. I am ready. I am done. I have some deep questions about the state of education today, and about the issue of teacher pay, and about the expectations of our students, and oh, so many other things.

I hope to explore some of those questions after May 28, and after a short decompression period of rest, relaxation, regrouping and reprioritizing.

I have a lot of other questions on this Monday morning, too, most not related to education, but to life in general. For example,

How have we let social media become such a profound influence in our lives? How did we even function before social media? Why do we let this dictate so much of our moods, information, relationships, and activities? Why?!

Why don’t we pay teachers more? Why don’t we value the work they do more? Why does the public relations person in a school district make literally twice as much as a classroom teacher?

Why have so many people turned away from the church?

Why aren’t we, as a nation, able to sustain that level of American pride that we felt after 9-11? Why are we so divided and this group hates that group and this group hates that other group and everyone is mad all the time?

Wouldn’t our kids be healthier, both mentally and physically, if they played outside more? Pickup baseball games at the playground? I walk through the neighborhood and seldom see kids.

Why are we still wearing masks if most of the population is either vaccinated or has Covid antibodies from being sick?

Why do all SUVs look the same?  I miss muscle cars.

Is there any single reliable, unbiased, objective newspaper in America anymore?

What is the percentage of people in America without a cell phone? Has any other invention in our lifetime become so necessary so fast? Do people realize how fast this technology has rewired our brains? And is this a good thing?

Why don’t we do a better job taking care of mental health in our country?

Are we going to get to the point where we have to show proof of Covid vaccines to travel, or attend concerts, or go to school? Is this legal? Do we do this with other vaccines? How many legal challenges will this invite? How long will this drag out?

Why is there so much urban decay in my city? Why are we letting buildings just decay and collapse all across the city? No wonder people feel hopeless here.  

Why are liberals so convinced that alternative energies are the answer and electric cars are better when our power grid collapsed for over a week under a single snowstorm?

Sometimes I lay awake at night wondering about things like this. I used to hear my parents utter similar frustrations; a lot of times my Mom would worry about the state of music, for example, and wonder why everyone didn’t listen to Frank Sinatra all of the time. (She wasn’t really wrong…).  Sometimes I think, maybe I’m just getting old. I remember too much, and so often our memories are nostalgic and romanticized. Maybe things weren’t that great.

Or maybe they were.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and at Medium; she is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

Once Upon a Time Black Students Dreamed of Avoiding Racial Incidents on Campus

Now apparently they dream of it, to wit:

The school quickly launched an investigation and discovered that a “student of color” was responsible for the graffiti.

According to student newspaper The Albion Pleiad, college President Matthew Johnson informed students that a “current student of color” was responsible for the incident. As M Live reports, Albion Department of Public Safety Police Chief Scott Kipp stated that the suspect was a twenty-one-year-old Black male.

The school stated that the student acknowledged his responsibility and was “immediately removed from campus” while administrators “conduct a full investigation as part of our student judicial process.”

This would seem a change from the days when Black Students wanted to attend colleges that they had hitherto been excluded from because such an education was the best chance to better one’s self and thus expand the prospects for themselves and their children. This required hard work and study but the rewards of said effort were potentially huge both short and long term.

In the 21st century however this is not the case, not only has the value of a college degree dropped significantly (due to reasons that have nothing to do with race) but in current culture in general and campus culture in particular the value of being considered a “victim” both as an individual and as a group has increased to a point where there is a positive incentive for a black student or any group considered “marginalized” to be able to claim victimhood, thus equating themselves to those brave people who paved their path without all that inconvenient risk and danger

Even more incredibly even if when, in this case, the student who perpetuated said hoax is caught, the value of said hoax is retained by others in said “marginalized” community because nobody dares protest the scam for fear of being called racially insentitive.

This will end when the incentives for this behavior are removed and/or when a white student or employees sues the university for either “emotional distress” or an “unfriendly work environment” over the results of said events.