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Dear Chris,

thanks very much for your thought provoking video. i’m an English teacher hoping to use your poetry in my English Literature course this coming semester. i’ve taken the liberty of editing your text for punctuation, grammar, and spelling and to make it conform more closely to the spoken word of your video. Please find my transcription below:

Peace,

rob

Black Does Not Equal Fear

Complete transcript:

George Zimmerman: (edited 911 call)

Hey, we’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood and there’s a real suspicious guy… this guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around and looking about.

Dispatcher: Did you see what he was wearing?

GZ: Yeah. A dark hoodie, like a grey hoodie, and either jeans or sweatpants and white tennis shoes. He’s here now, he’s just staring…

Chris Beasley:

I am black.

Do you fear me?

Is it from what you’ve heard

Or what you see?

I wear sweatshirts, Polos, and white Ts,

But it’s not my clothes that indict me.

It’s not my actions, education, or personality;

It’s my nose, my lips and my ancestry.

Why does my skin speak louder that the words I say?

We don’t assume all whites are Timothy McVeigh.

If I plead the fifth and don’t add to my case

I can’t escape your ideas of my race.

It’s ok to infer, conclude, perceive.

As long as we know what we deduct can deceive.

Admit you could be wrong,

Cause you don’t know me.

That’s all that I ask, I’m begging you please.

If I have a ball you clap and cheer,

But outside the game you quiver in fear.

I see purses clutched closer, doors lock as I pass,

Words laced with curses. No wonder we clash.

Justice in court

Will always fall short

If we don’t begin to take a fresh start.

The judge tried to exclude race. That’s a fact.

But the jury could not forget that Trayvon was black.

No need to see race and then pick us apart

Cause we all look the same when we stand in the dark.

Now judge me simply by my diction.

Hear my emotion and conviction.

I want to enlighten not divide.

I want respect for your life and mine.

If fear is the cause, that’s something we share.

And fear is caused from not knowing what’s there.

So, like President Obama, let me be clear:

I’m a black man,

And I’m not going anywhere.

I’m part of some gangs you’ve heard all about.

I’m an Aggie alum,

And a proud Eagle Scout.

Entrepreneur starting a career.

I will identify myself so you’ll see there’s nothing to fear.

The idea of being black has been twisted so much.

We’re said to be savage, ghetto, and ratchet,

Threatening, and lazy, and sitting on our butts.

And those that know me still seem to judge.

You call me white cause I’m none of the above.

I’ve been called black, and I’ve been called white

Based on what you believe, neither is right.

I am Chris, one of a kind.

So don’t judge me by your experiences but by mine.

And I’m inclined to tell you, I’m not alone.

In moments like this we all can be strong.

Let our voices be heard. Let them relish the sound.

Cause how can we move forward, if we all stand our ground?

After that verdict, the value of my life seemed bleak.

What are my chances if they demonize me?

So we fear for our lives, to a certain extent,

But this video is our self-defense.

Chris Beasley, July 2013

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The new Make It Stop (September’s Children) video by Rise Against is a visual, visceral very vocal attack on bullying and homophobia. They may be from the Windy City but they sure aren’t blowhards. The lads have something to say and they say it poignantly and powerfully.

Excellent material that could easily be exploited by teachers concerned with bullying. The three sub-stories which make up the narrative of the video can easily be utilized as writing stimuli. This is perhaps the hardest hitting and socially/politically strong video since Linkin Park’s What I’ve Done was released in 2007. (btw if anyone is interested i’ve done an analysis of this video, edit by edit).

Stylistically the song continues a theme of asking rhetorical questions that has long stood the test of time (remember Black Eyed Peas Where Is The Love). This could be another avenue to look at when discussing the lyrics.

A while ago i posted a comment on the internet about Mark Boal’s recent Rolling Stone Kill Team article about a group of US troops in Afganistan who had started killing unarmed civilians for fun. i was appropriately appalled and expressed indignation in sufficient amounts to convey how i did not condone that type of killing.

However i really didn’t get it; i didn’t understand what made them do what they did. Recently i watch In the Valley of Elah. i was disturbed by the film and actually watched it twice over two days just to make sure i understood everything and the motivation of the soldier who killed his comrade in arms. Watching the movie and reflecting on it i was able to draw a link between the inhuman actions it portrayed and those discussed in the Rolling Stone article.  i was able to figure out how adults can be transformed into inhumane killing creatures. Their training has changed a lot over the years as Gwynne Dyer mentions in a recent comment piece in the Winnipeg Free Press. Soldiers are not trained to think, they are trained to kill, and to follow orders; without question.

The recent execution of Osama bin Laden is a case in point. we now know he was unarmed, that he apparently did not surrender but made a threatening gesture: perhaps a raised middle finger… What ever it was the Navy Seal with his finger on the trigger perceived it as a threat and waxed Osama. End of story. The training took over.

Somewhere along the line we have managed to forget “Thou shalt not kill”.

The one thing i am glad about is that i’ve managed to convince my oldest son that he has other career options aside from joining the Canadian Armed Forces. The last thing i want happening is he becoming another statistic in Afganistan.

Your clothes do make fashion statements; they also speak volumes about how they get to be on your back or feet. This website asks you to look at the story behind the clothes and shoes you wear and provides excellent resources for teachers to use in their lessons to get students to read and discuss their fashion choices. The resources can be found here: http://bit.ly/bfbD56

As a research student looking at management and leadership issues i came across this website: http://www.managementexchange.com/ i don’t know much about it but it looks like it has possibilities for collaborative learning concerning management issues.

Saw a very interesting TED video today on the relationship between science and human values.  This video relates directly to what we are discussing in our Advanced Educational Research Seminar course at Uni this week; i.e. the nature of truth. The talk can be found here: http://www.ted.com/talks/sam_harris_science_can_show_what_s_right.html

i’m reprinting the entire editorial and using the heading given in this morning’s Gulf News published in Dubai.

Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency.

Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year’s inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world’s response has been feeble and half-hearted.

Climate change has been caused over centuries, has consequences that will endure for all time and our prospects of taming it will be determined in the next 14 days. We call on the representatives of the 192 countries gathered in Copenhagen not to hesitate, not to fall into dispute, not to blame each other but to seize opportunity from the greatest modern failure of politics. This should not be a fight between the rich world and the poor world, or between east and west. Climate change affects everyone, and must be solved by everyone.

The science is complex but the facts are clear. The world needs to take steps to limit temperature rises to 2C, an aim that will require global emissions to peak and begin falling within the next 5-10 years. A bigger rise of 3-4C — the smallest increase we can prudently expect to follow inaction — would parch continents, turning farmland into desert. Half of all species could become extinct, untold millions of people would be displaced, whole nations drowned by the sea. The controversy over emails by British researchers that suggest they tried to suppress inconvenient data has muddied the waters but failed to dent the mass of evidence on which these predictions are based.

Few believe that Copenhagen can any longer produce a fully polished treaty; real progress towards one could only begin with the arrival of President Obama in the White House and the reversal of years of US obstructionism. Even now the world finds itself at the mercy of American domestic politics, for the president cannot fully commit to the action required until the US Congress has done so.

But the politicians in Copenhagen can and must agree the essential elements of a fair and effective deal and, crucially, a firm timetable for turning it into a treaty. Next June’s UN climate meeting in Bonn should be their deadline. As one negotiator put it: “We can go into extra time but we can’t afford a replay.”

At the deal’s heart must be a settlement between the rich world and the developing world covering how the burden of fighting climate change will be divided — and how we will share a newly precious resource: the trillion or so tonnes of carbon that we can emit before the mercury rises to dangerous levels.

Rich nations like to point to the arithmetic truth that there can be no solution until developing giants such as China take more radical steps than they have so far. But the rich world is responsible for most of the accumulated carbon in the atmosphere – three-quarters of all carbon dioxide emitted since 1850. It must now take a lead, and every developed country must commit to deep cuts which will reduce their emissions within a decade to very substantially less than their 1990 level.

Developing countries can point out they did not cause the bulk of the problem, and also that the poorest regions of the world will be hardest hit. But they will increasingly contribute to warming, and must thus pledge meaningful and quantifiable action of their own. Though both fell short of what some had hoped for, the recent commitments to emissions targets by the world’s biggest polluters, the United States and China, were important steps in the right direction.

Social justice demands that the industrialised world digs deep into its pockets and pledges cash to help poorer countries adapt to climate change, and clean technologies to enable them to grow economically without growing their emissions. The architecture of a future treaty must also be pinned down – with rigorous multilateral monitoring, fair rewards for protecting forests, and the credible assessment of “exported emissions” so that the burden can eventually be more equitably shared between those who produce polluting products and those who consume them. And fairness requires that the burden placed on individual developed countries should take into account their ability to bear it; for instance newer EU members, often much poorer than “old Europe”, must not suffer more than their richer partners.

The transformation will be costly, but many times less than the bill for bailing out global finance — and far less costly than the consequences of doing nothing.

Many of us, particularly in the developed world, will have to change our lifestyles. The era of flights that cost less than the taxi ride to the airport is drawing to a close. We will have to shop, eat and travel more intelligently. We will have to pay more for our energy, and use less of it.

But the shift to a low-carbon society holds out the prospect of more opportunity than sacrifice. Already some countries have recognized that embracing the transformation can bring growth, jobs and better quality lives. The flow of capital tells its own story: last year for the first time more was invested in renewable forms of energy than producing electricity from fossil fuels.

Kicking our carbon habit within a few short decades will require a feat of engineering and innovation to match anything in our history. But whereas putting a man on the moon or splitting the atom were born of conflict and competition, the coming carbon race must be driven by a collaborative effort to achieve collective salvation.

Overcoming climate change will take a triumph of optimism over pessimism, of vision over short-sightedness, of what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature”.

It is in that spirit that 56 newspapers from around the world have united behind this editorial. If we, with such different national and political perspectives, can agree on what must be done then surely our leaders can too.

The politicians in Copenhagen have the power to shape history’s judgment on this generation: one that saw a challenge and rose to it, or one so stupid that we saw calamity coming but did nothing to avert it. We implore them to make the right choice.

Asia: 16 papers from 13 countries and regions

Economic Observer, China Chinese

Southern Metropolitan, China Chinese

CommonWealth Magazine, Taiwan English

Joongang Ilbo, South Korea Korean

Tuoitre, Vietnam Vietnamese

Brunei Times, Brunei English

Jakarta Globe, Indonesia English

Cambodia Daily, Cambodia English

The Hindu, India English

The Daily Star, Bangladesh English

The News, Pakistan English

Daily Times, Pakistan English

Gulf News, Dubai English

An Nahar, Lebanon Arabic

Gulf Times, Qatar English

Maariv, Israel Hebrew

Europe – 20 papers from 17 countries

Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany German

Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland Polish

Der Standard, Austria German

Delo, Slovenia Slovene

Vecer, Slovenia Slovene

Dagbladet Information, Denmark Danish

Politiken, Denmark Danish

Dagbladet, Norway Norwegian

The Guardian, UK English

Le Monde, France French

Libération, France French

La Reppublica, Italy Italian

El Pais, Spain Spanish

De Volkskrant, Netherlands Dutch

Kathimerini, Greece Greek

Publico, Portugal Portuguese

Hurriyet, Turkey Turkish

Novaya Gazeta, Russia Russian

Irish Times, Ireland English

Le Temps, Switzerland French

Africa – 11 papers from eight countries

The Star, Kenya English

Daily Monitor, Uganda English

The New Vision, Uganda English

Zimbabwe Independent, Zimbabwe English

The New Times, Rwanda English

The Citizen, Tanzania English

Al Shorouk, Egypt Arabic

Botswana Guardian, Botswana English

Mail & Guardian, South Africa English

Business Day, South Africa English

Cape Argus, South Africa English

North and Central America – six papers from five countries

Toronto Star, Canada English

Miami Herald, USA English

El Nuevo Herald, USA Spanish

Jamaica Observer, Jamaica English

La Brujula Semanal, Nicaragua Spanish

El Universal, Mexico Spanish

South America – three papers from two countries

Zero Hora, Brazil Portuguese

Diario Catarinense, Brazil Portuguese

Diaro Clarin, Argentina Spanish