Sunday, December 30, 2007
The idea of black focused schools in Toronto deserves a much closer look, especially if the city is serious about implementing a pilot project next fall and by looked at I don't mean scoffing at the suggestion and crying out that it is racist and promotes segregation. I'll admit that when I first heard that the school board was even entertaining the idea, I stated publicly that it was stupid. Never mind the racial element of the proposal, I was put off by the fact that this was the first thing they wanted to try when it came to the issue of the high dropout rate among black students. It's a pretty drastic move to say the least and I would have at least liked to see them go another way before resorting to this but as I took the time to think about the matter some more I realized that sometimes drastic problems require drastic solutions and when more than half of the black males enrolled in Toronto public schools can't earn the minimum 16 credits after their sophomore year, that is a drastic problem. I would like to make myself clear when I say that although there are probably benefits in creating afro-centric schools, I in no way support the idea. I'm still taking a look at all of the factors and all of the arguments but in my mind, the idea has way too many flaws and I don't think people are ready for it nor can they handle it. The most glaring problem is that by going this route, the school board along with the provincial government are basically throwing up their hands and admitting failure. Now when approximately 47% of black students are dropping out of high school, it is as clear as day that you are failing but this seems more like bending over rather than doing something assertive and effective. The second thing that really jumps out at me about this topic is that not everyone is wild about this idea and not everyone is going to support these schools. If the school board and the government decide to go ahead with this, there will be those parents who won't be sending their children to these schools so what about them? I've heard a lot about what kind of curriculum will be taught, what kind of teachers will be brought in and what kind of environment the government will be trying to create in their pilot schools but what happens to the black students who remain in the current public school system? I've heard no other strategies to combat the issues in our schools besides black-focused schools so I have to wonder if there is even a plan to make curriculum changes or if everything will remain status quo. With a problem such as this one, with so many contributing factors, there is no quick fix or "magic bullet" that is going to make all of our problems go away. You can throw statistics at me all day about how well black focused schools have done in Detroit, Washington and Kansas City but compare those cities with Toronto and you'll see alarming differences, differences that dynamically affect the impact of these schools. This isn't solely the establishment's fault, fuck anyone who does not take responsibility for their actions. I repeat. FUCK anyone who is not willing to take responsibility for their actions. Every action that you take has an equal or greater reaction and inactivity is not an option in a world that won't slow down and wait for you to catch up. Without your education, you won't make it too far. In fact, these days without a high school diploma you can't make it anywhere. Stop making excuses for yourself and start making something of yourself. Yes, we are at a disadvantage because we are blacks in a world with all of the legal equality anyone would ever need but none of the substantive equality but that should be all of the motivation you'll ever need. Growing up, I was always told taught that being black, I had to be twice as good as everyone else to be considered equal. This is not necessarily the truth in everyone's eyes but I believe that to this day and take pride in tearing down stereotypes by pushing myself to my limits. There is only so much that the government, the school board, the teachers and the parents can do to make kids succeed. All of the co-operation in the world from the aforementioned groups don't do any good if the students simply do not want to get an education. A lot more questions need to be asked to understand the failing students. Why have we had studies about why it is not good to eat food off of the floor within 5 seconds but no one has taken the time to draw parallels between failing students and reasons for why they are failing? Where do they come from? Where do they live? Where do their parents come from? Do they even know their parents? What is different about them compared to the students who are excelling in the current system? I mean, these are educated professors, scholars, and so-called "experts" making these recommendations, right? Have they tried just talking to some of these kids? They're high school students, they're not that hard to figure out and they are smarter than you think. I just fear that this will send a message to black students that they need to be racially segregated in order to succeed, they they are incapable of learning alongside children of different race and ethnicities when that is far from the case. The only way to ensure that our children do not receive a lesser education is to provide them all with the same education, the "separate but equal" doctrine went out the window with Brown v. Board of Education. One of the greatest draws to living in Toronto is its diversity and multiculturalism, how can one learn to function in a society like that after spending their most formative years in an environment that is completely opposite. In the last provincial election, publicly funded faith-based schools was a hot topic for debate and in the end, it was shot down quickly and completely. However, it did raise a question in my mind about what kind of funding the schools in Ontario, Toronto specifically, receive now. The results didn't really surprise me. According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, school funding per student today is lower than it was 10 years ago and dropout rates are higher today than in 1997. Hmmm, so let's recap shall we? It is fair to say that most of the black student in Ontario live in Toronto, so if the government is contributing less money for these students' education, does it not make sense to assume that today's students are receiving a lesser education than students 10 years ago? It's not the only reason for the dropout rates climbing but I'm just sayin...
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
- Do not stand at my grave and weep,
- I am not there, I do not sleep.
- I am in a thousand winds that blow,
- I am the softly falling snow.
- I am the gentle showers of rain,
- I am the fields of ripening grain.
- I am in the morning hush,
- I am in the graceful rush
- Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
- I am the starshine of the night.
- I am in the flowers that bloom,
- I am in a quiet room.
- I am in the birds that sing,
- I am in each lovely thing.
- Do not stand at my grave and cry,
- I am not there. I did not die.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Freakfest was too much fun. More pictures are coming...even though most of the pictures of me were taken by people I don't know. I'm gonna be all over Facebook this week so tag me if you see me
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Get Familiar Vol. 2 © Clinton Sparks
I felt that the best piece of writing I've produced in my life deserved a sequel so I present to you Manifest Destiny Pt. 2: Supreme Mathematics.
The Supreme Mathematics is an alleged system of understanding numbers alongside concepts that are used along with the Supreme Alphabet as tools to unlocking the keys to reality and/or the universe. I'm putting my own spin on the teachings of my new found faith and breaking down the keys to reality like only I can.
1. Knowledge is the accumulation of facts through observing, learning, and respecting. Knowledge is the foundation of all in existence, for it must be known in order to make it manifest. Knowledge is the light given off by our sun. It is also the original man, who is the foundation of Allah's family
Knowledge is not to be confused with intelligence. Being smart is a lot more than just simply possessing knowledge. It is about how you acquire knowledge, how you process that knowledge, and how you apply that knowledge to everyday situations. I've met countless people with more degrees than dollars because they have no practical ideas on how to utilise what they've learned. If anyone sees the logic in paying around $12,000 a year to go to school just to end up working in McDonald's for around $12,000 a year, please tell me.
2. Wisdom is to speak knowledge and act according to it. Wisdom is water, the vital building block of life. Wisdom is the original woman because through her womb, life is continued. It is a relection of one's knowledge and this fact is shown and proven by the moon, being a reflection of the Sun's light (Knowledge). Knowledge + the reflection of Knowledge = Wisdom (1+1=2)
This can't possibly get anymore self-explanatory, I'd just be repeating things.
3. Understanding is what shows and proves the completion of knowledge and wisdom (man, woman, child). Understanding is a clear mental comprehensio. It is the original child, which is the star. The highest form of understanding is love, the bond between man and woman, knowledge and wisdom.
Once learning how to apply one's knowledge, one gains understading of one's self and one's surroundings. The most direct definition of this would probably be "a psychological state in relation to an object or person whereby one is able to think about it and use concepts to be able to deal adequately with that object." I would simply call it clarity, seeing the world and all of the people in it for what they really are and what they are really capable of.
4. Culture/Freedom is one's way of living, meaning one's language (wisdom) and customs (ways and actions). Freedom, is to have a "free dome" (a liberated mind) or to lack restraints. The original man's culture is Islam, which is peace.
Every time the topic of freedom comes up I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes: "Man is condemned to be free. Condemned, for he did not create himself, but free in the sense that once thrown into the world he is responsible for everything he does."
5. Power/Refinement is the force of creative energy. To refine is to perfect. Power is the truth, which is Allah's mathematics. To have knowledge in the culture of Islam is to have Power.
Now you didn't think all of those "Knowledge is Power" messages that were pushed on us as kids was just clever marketing, did you?
6. Equality is the state or quality of being equal, meaning to deal equally with all in existence. Equality is achieved by teaching others Knowledge and Wisdom, and making it understood through Understanding.
It's one thing to acquire Knowledge and Wisdom then develop a sense of Understanding and enlighten those around us. It's a totally different thing to gain understanding of the world around us and let our peers stumble around in ignorance. I wouldn't be writing any of this (or anything I've written and shared with you over the past 2 years) if I didn't think someone was taking something from what I'm saying. I know I'm always ready to jump up and say that nobody reads this and thats true, but that doesn't mean that I don't lead by example. Nobody may be reading the words on the page but they may see how I am able to get my thoughts down on paper and try to do like me. I've said countless times in the past that I am not trying to lecture anyone, change the world or influence any generations but I have a responsibility to pass on what I know and leave somoe kind of legacy behind when I'm gone.
7. God. Allah is God. The supreme being, the Black man, is God, Allah, lord of all the worlds, supreme ruler of the universe, which is everything: sun, moon, and stars.
In the end, there is just Allah
8. Build/Destroy. To build is to elevate the mentality of self, and others around the self, to add on positive energy to Allah's nation. To destroy is to ruin it by allowing negativity to outweigh the positive.
Giving up on one another is the same as tearing each other down. There was even a point I was going to give up on my own generation because of what I had been shown but regardless of how ignorant some people's actions and opinions can be, we can't give up on them because they are our people. I'm not preaching from the pulpit by any means here but I can't stand watching the news with my camily and hearing my mother and my aunts rip on blacks when one of us is involved in a crime. By no means do I condone picking up a gun and ending another human being's life or any other type of violent crime but I do understand that desperate people do desperate things and I understand the kinds of desperate situations that people (not just black people) can wind up in, so while everybody else cries for theh shooting to stop, I cry for another reason. I cry for everyone living their life 15 days at a time. I cry for all the single mothers grinding to make sure their children want for nothing. I cry for everyone grinding it out in a classroom because they know that an education is a foot in the door. I cry for anyone who's ever done anything "wrong" to survive. I cry for every single person that has ever found their self in a hopeless situation before.
9. Born is the completion of all in existence. To manifest from Knowledge to Born, which is the law of mathematics - to be complete in itself.
Notice a trend here. 1 through 8, and we're slowly getting back to the beginning. Life is a cycle and the Nation of the Gods and the Earths is no different. Don't believe me?
0. Cipher is the completion of a circle consisting of 360 degrees (Knowledge=120°, Wisdom=120°, Understanding=120°). All in existence pertains to a cipher.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Manifest Destiny Pt. 1
1. the belief common in America in the early 1800s that it was the destiny or fate of the US to expand west to the Pacific Ocean. For many Americans, the belief had an almost religious intensity, and was often considered an obvious part of God's plan for America's future. It was with this feeling that settlers pushed west into Indian and Mexican controlled lands, confident that they were justified in doing whatever was necessary to spread the American flag and system of government.
2. a policy of imperialism rationalized as inevitable (as if granted by God)
The aforementioned definition is just a guide to make sure everyone understands what I mean when I go into detail about my manifest destiny.
To further grasp my manifest destiny, you must understand my situation. I wake up angry every day, I`ve done so for the past 10 years. I have virtually no family life whatsoever. I do whatever necessary to maintain. Being hood is a situation, not a state of mind. My way of getting money is out of necessity because I`m trying to survive. That being said...
be viewed and judged for who I am, not what my background.
acknowledge that I am condemned to be free because once thrown into the world I am responsible for everything that I do.
abandon the fixation that i need to be rich, I just want to have enough money that I never have to say that I`m just scraping by.
be judged based on what I have to offer and what I can do to the best of my ability, not on the fact that I am Grenadian. There is far too much emphasize put on people`s backgrounds, in fact, upon meeting people itis almost always the 3rd or 4th question being asked of me. Ideally, I`d like to be looked upon as just a man but I do understand that this is the real world so I`ll accept being viewed as just a black man. People form expectations of what you should be based on your background which I find so ridiculous, they form prejudices against certain groups of people based on bad experiences with people of the same ancestry. I`ve been experimenting with throwing people curves and mixing up my ancestry when people ask, even telling people I don`t even know what my background is because I`m adopted (which is my favorite choice because I find it hilarious the various reactions you can get from people when they hear that you`re adopted).
do whatever it takes to get out of this place that I`m in.
do great things. After all, it is my God given right...right?