February 27th, 2007


on poetry and perviness...

How Do You Make Love to a Black Woman?
I wonder if this painting has a real name
Haven't been writing much here lately. I've been preocuppied with my 365 Days project (available through the feed at 365mav). But I saw something on the news today that made me want to rant a little.

So, apparently a local Pittsburgh teacher has been suspended with pay after a mother complained when her 14 year old daughter brought home a poem that the teacher had given her entitled How Do You Make Love to a Black Woman". The daughter claims that the teacher called her into his office after class and gave her the poem. It upset her, so she took it home and showed her mother who went with her to the principal and demanded that the teacher be fired.

The poem is printed below for your easy perusal:
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Now, I'm not going to go so far as to claim that what the teacher did was appropriate. But I do have a bit of a problem with how the media handled it. The story was sensationalized to sound like this was the biggest tragedy of all time. There are wars going on. There's global warming. Anna Nicole is dead and Britney is insane. We have real problems here, people.

The news only printed two lines from the poem, claiming that the rest of it was too scandalous. But I knew I vaguely remembered hearing it before, and a simple google search found it for me. Is it really THAT scandalous? I guess the word penis is in it. I'll grant that the guy probably was up to shenannigans when he called the girl into his office alone, but they were saying they felt it was inappropriate for the poem to be distributed (and to really drive the point home, the mother photocopied it a bunch of times and gave them out to all the parents in the neighborhood... I am not making this up). What would people have thought if he had assigned the poem to the entire class? They claimed that the poem was and I quote "graphic language even for adults, and especially for children." Is it any more sexually deviant than Romeo and Juliet (which I'm pretty sure i had to read by 7th grade)? Or is it that the woman in the poem is black? Do
black women not make love?

Also, did anyone actually read the poem? It's not even about fucking. It's about being sensitve and listening to the woman. The only reason they even mention penis is to say that its not the most important part of lovemaking.

So, I'm curious as to how people feel about this issue. Is the news overstating it, or am I just too jaded to realize how awful that poem really is? How would you feel if your daughter was given this to read by a teacher? What if the whole class was? How young is too young to discuss sexual literature in an English class? Is it more acceptable if the literature is a "classic?" Like I said, I certainly read Romeo and Juliet that young, and there's tons of sexual overtones in that. And I know we were assigned books with explicit sex in 9th grade when I was 14 (the same age as this girl). So how young is too young?

Of course, this is all just silly. Everyone knows that kids are already fucking their teachers by the time they're 13.