2 Lazy 2 Teach
Have you checked your child`s
summer reading list?
Beware: Some lame-brained school
officials have decided to ditch the sonnets of
Shakespeare for the
tripe of Tupac.
That`s slain gangsta rapper Tupac
Shakur—the drug-dealing, baseball bat-wielding,
cop-hating, Black Panthers-worshiping, convicted sexual
abuser who made a fortune extolling the
“thug life” before he was
gunned down in Las Vegas eight years ago.
Teachers in Worcester,
Massachusetts, have embraced Shakur`s posthumously
published book of poems as a way to get middle school
"We wanted to include books that
kids would want to read," Michael O`Sullivan, a
member of the summer reading list selection committee,
explained to the Telegram and Gazette of
Worcester last month before school let out.
“Reading counterculture in
schools, and to get kids to read anything that is not
completely objectionable, is the goal,“ Deputy
Superintendent Stephen E. Mills echoed. [Tupac
joins Steinbeck, Dickens on Worcester summer reading
May 13, 2004]
Frances Arena, manager of
curriculum and professional development of the Worcester
Public Schools, told me this week that Shakur`s book
will remain on the list for the foreseeable future
because it “heightens awareness of
character education“ and, more importantly,
because it`s “popular with the kids.”
If that`s the standard, why not
just drop the pretense of academic instruction and
assign them comic books and romance novels?
A school board member in
Palm Beach County, Florida, is also championing
Shakur`s so-called literary work.
Debra Robinson lobbied to bring
Shakur`s book into the classroom last month because
"I always think we need to capture the children`s
attention where they are and bring them to where they
need to be." [Hip-Hop
Fridays: Educators Are Down With Rap Music
by Cynthia Kopkowski].
The presumption that children—and
particularly inner-city children—can only be stimulated
by the contemporary and familiar smacks of
lazy elitism and latent racism. These educators, and
I use that term as loosely as gangster rappers wear
their pants, are clearly more interested in appearing
cool than in inculcating a refined literary sense in
Their aim is not enlightenment, but
dumbed-down ghetto entertainment.
So that teachers and pupils can
“relate” and be “down with that.”
So they can “keep it real.”
You know what I`m sayin`?
The schoolhouse rap peddlers
disingenuously argue that Shakur`s puerile scribblings
serve as useful tools to engage children in reading.
Reading? Deciphering is more like
it. Shakur`s volume,
“The Rose That grew From Concrete,” looks more
like a collection of cell phone text messages, teenage
hieroglyphics, and Backstreet Boys album titles than a
collection of poems.
One poem is “Dedicated 2 Me.”
Another is “Dedicated 2 My Heart.” There`s one
Nelson Mandela” and another “2 Marilyn
Monroe,” which laments: “They could never
understand what u set out 2 do instead they chose 2
ridicule u.” Another Shakur opus is titled “When
Ure Hero Falls.” Still another muses: “What Is It
That I Search 4.”
A dictionary, perhaps?
In riveting prose that presumably
rivals Frost or
Longfellow, Shakur brags that he is “more than u
can handle” and “hotter than the wax from a
Edgar Allan Poe had
Annabel Lee. Shakur had Renee (“u were the one 2
reach into my heart”), April (“I want 2 c u“),
Elizabeth (“the seas of our friendship R calm“),
Michelle (“u and I have perfect hearts”), Carmen
(“I wanted u more than I wanted me“), Marquita (“u
were pure woman 2 me”), Irene (“I knew from the
First glance that u would be hard 2 4get”), and Jada.
Proclaiming his love “4 Jada,”
Shakur pays gallant literary tribute to the object
of his desire: “u bring me 2 climax without sex.”
Lord Byron, he wasn`t.
In an introduction to the dead
rapper`s volume, Shakur`s manager, Leila Steinberg,
suggests that her hero has been unjustly denied his
“place as a literary artist/poet” because of the
“media`s sometimes negative portrayal” of him.
May I politely suggest that he has
been denied a place among the world`s greatest poets
because his writing is no better than a four-letter-word
that rhymes with “rap”?
The Western literary canon has been
flushed down the cultural toilet in favor of shallow
ramblings by celebrity thugs whose thoughts are best
left on bathroom walls.
As 2Pac might have responded: 3
Cheers 4 Diversity.
Michelle Malkin [email
her] is author of
Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists,
Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores.
here for Peter Brimelow`s review. Click
here for Michelle Malkin`s website.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.