Shit She Says

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Babies, Guns & DUIs

So I teach at a school we’ll call Ghetto Community College. I’m good at my job and I love doing it, but I fucking hate the field of education. It mostly does a disservice to the very people it says it wants to help, and the people in it are the biggest part of the problem. It’s filled with namby-pamby loser-ass middle class white people. Higher education is filled with even nambier-pambier middle class white people, who mistakenly think they’re smart. Put any one of these people on the street, expose them to the real thug life, and they wouldn’t last a second. Surviving the streets without resources and without hope is a skill that requires real intelligence. Passing classes at an Ivy League school or even a state school is not. It’s not hard. You just have to have a decent vocabulary and the skills to flatter the fuck out of narcissistic professors.

But Ghetto Community College (GCC) is not a real school, not in the sense that the schools that the people who run it and teach at it went to. It’s filled with lowlifes, rednecks and thugs. These are people who really need an education. And that’s why I’m there. I started as a lowlife at a community college, myself, so I understand it.

My students love me, because I tell ’em straight, and because I can write the fuck out of shit. That’s what I teach: college writing. I love everything to do with language. I tell them that  they will be judged on the way they speak and how they write, and whether or not they can tell the difference between “there” and “their,” and even on the sorry-ass names their mommas’ gave ’em. They come to class faithfully for two reasons: they need the knowledge that I have, and because of the shit I say.

The other day we were having a conversation about the poor and working classes, not your typical fare for a college writing class. And some dude was talking about how he was going to write his narrative essay on his DUIs. So I’m like, “There’s an essay topic I’ve never encountered before, ” and rolled my eyes. He took it in stride, because these kids and adults are just waiting for the shit I’ll say next. So I explain that narrative essays on babies, guns, and DUIs don’t interest me because I get 20 of each every semester. And I go on to explain that there’s this saying about how to keep the lower classes down: Girls get babies, and boys get guns and DUIs. Get any one of those, and you’re stuck at the gate–opportunity is lost.

So this really pissed off a 19 year old single mother in my class. She has a 15 month old son. And she’s been fishing around since she found out the consequences of her actions for some saving grace. But I won’t give it to her. I tell baby mama/daddy jokes in class, and advise students to write process papers on how to break up with a thug or a crazy bitch. I am not going to give her an inch, because I want her to know that this is a mistake she cannot make again if she really wants to provide for her child, and because I want to discourage all the other young women in class from pursuing this route at all costs.

Because it’s true: Having a baby, getting caught with a gun, or driving under the influence are routine, stupid fucking mistakes that poor people make. And they can be avoided, but they often are not because poor people will deliberately make these choices. They aren’t stupid; they know exactly what they’re doing. There’s no need to feel sorry for them, or think they just don’t know; they know, they just don’t have options.

In the rough-and-tumble neighborhoods I grew up in, a baby was a pathway to independence, and to government funding. It still is. Guns are bought, stolen, or gifted for protection or to demonstrate bad-ass-ability. DUIs are risked because some drunk ass idiot has learned that a belligerent attitude is a lifesaver in whatever ghetto or trailer park he comes from. But it will get you nowhere outside that environment.

The only reason that girl is in my class today is because that baby bought her a ticket to financial aid. Her mom is probably working for an hourly wage, if she’s working at all, and our financial aid system is so fucked up that you can’t be considered independent until your 24 years old, no matter where you come from. Unless you’re married or have a dependent, that is. So there’s all these people who would very much like to go to college, but their parents either make just barely too much money, even though they’ve maybe kicked the kid out, or you have students who don’t get along with their parents well enough to even get the information for a FAFSA.

But there are real people who pay the consequences for these real choices. The kids born to young women who haven’t even really started in life, who don’t even have the skills to pick a good mate, will always suffer in some way. And the people shot by these guns will pay the price. The people hit by drunk drivers pay, as do the families of people in jail, with records that disallow the option to work. A whole lotta people pay for these stupid fucking choices. And while I didn’t go that far with my discussion in class, I certainly gave those folks some shit to think about. That’s why I’m there, and that’s why they keep coming back. They come hear the shit she says.


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16 thoughts on “Babies, Guns & DUIs

  1. wmcb on said:


  2. Haha! That was fast, WMCB. Make sure you take a peek at the About page.

  3. What wmcb said. yes.

  4. HELENK on said:

    years ago there was a girl that I worked with who always came in late to relieve the person from the previous shift. Her excuse was she was a single mother. Now I had four kids and was working. No I was not a single mother but four kids can interfere with your on time performance once in a while. After the third time she came in late as my relief, I was not too PC. Told her I did not screw her, I did not get her pregnant and was not my problem that she had a kid. The shocked look on her face was priceless. Everyone can have a day where things make you late, but all the time is just poor time scheduling and using her kid as an excuse got really old.
    One of the people that she was supposed to relieve missed the last train home several times due to her lateness. that too gets old

    • HELENK on said:

      by the way you sound like a great teacher. trying to prepare kids for real life is never easy.

      so not know if this old school lesson would help. I brought it over from the crawdad hole after stealing it from a commenter at No Quarter

    • The worst thing we could have done is normalize single parenthood. But we have. I was appalled to find out that pregnant teenagers were all over my daughter’s school. Worst. Idea. Ever. And I do understand single parenthood, as I became a single parent myself in college, but high school is a totally different thing. These girls copycat each other, and when we express our sympathies and cater to their every whim when they are pregnant at 16, 15, or even 14, it has a domino effect. If other young girls could see how hard it really is, they might think twice about it.

      • HELENK on said:

        what I was trying to tell the mother that it was her responsibility for her choices. She really thought that it was ok for everyone else to be forced to stay late because she was not on time. The world does not work that way.
        BTW I am not condemning single mothers it is not easy. But when the decision is made to have and keep the baby life changes.
        I am old enough to remember when if you had a child single or married it sometimes kept you from getting a job. employers felt that your family would interfere with your work life.

  5. My MIL taught at the other end of the “education” system, fourth grade at an “inner city” magnet school. Last year was her last year of teaching; decided to hang it up at age 72. I doubt if many of the so called educational experts would have lasted past lunch time in her class room.

    I was installing new fixtures in her bathrooms today and we were talking about how children and parents expect school to be “fun” and if they aren’t having fun then there is a problem. She told me that last year one of the parents can in and gave her hell because her daughter wasn’t having fun in her classroom. MIL said; “Ms X, your daughter has had fun for the past three years, that’s why she can’t read and has no basic number skills.” (The principal asked her later if she could make her class room more fun.) He class always scored first on the fourth grade standardized test, despite the fact that she was repeatedly told that she was too old and too white to teach African American children. Bottom line is that its ‘s ballgame over by the fourth grade for most of these children.

    • I totally agree on your last point. The production of education in America is a piss poor endeavor and no change can happen as long as the union lapdogs are in the way, and the politicians have impetus to sell out to the highest bidders. Your MIL sounds like an awesome teacher who stood her ground against the the namby-pamby forces that have corrupted education top to bottom. I’m sure we would have a great time over coffee. 🙂

  6. Agreed on the totally FUBAR’d financial aid system. And with the totally insane welfare system as well.
    Education has gone to hell. Kids graduating who can neither read nor write. Bever mind do simple arithmetic.
    Some God smiled on me and mine. The baby I had much much too early turned out ok. E-8 now.
    I dodged a bullet there for sure.
    I laughed when I went back to school in my mid thirties. (Community college) I ran circles around the kids and fucked up the Bell Curve for them AND the professors. BWAHAHAHAHA! Oh- and earned myself a free trip to BU on the way.
    Guess the education I had back in the Stone Age stuck. Phonics, sight words, memorizing math facts, writing out the spelling words, and their definitions and crafting a sentence for each. Yup, it all worked.
    But some dumb ass threw out Dick and Jane because the books were not culturally diverse. Would it have taken that much effort to modify the fucking things?
    The Dick and Jane system got every kid with whom I went to school reading at grade level. If you didn’t- you got “kept back.”
    But that there is a post in and of itself.

  7. HELENK on said:

    here is a site where you can have a lot of fun

  8. MIA on said:

    Still waiting for you to announce your candidacy for Higher Office!

  9. Ass is a noun. It refers to a donkey or a butt. It is not an adjective nor an adverb.

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