Somewhere In America

Somewhere In America by  Belissa Escobedo, Zariya Allen & Rihannon McGavin

 

Here in America, in every single state, they have a set of standards for every subject
A collection of lessons that the teacher’s required to teach by the end of the term
But the greatest lessons you’ll ever teach us will not come from your syllabus
The greatest lessons you will ever teach us, you will not even remember

You never told us what we weren’t allowed to say
We just learned how to hold our tongues
Now somewhere in America, there is s a child holding a copy of “Catcher in the Rye” and there is a child holding a gun
But only one of these things have been banned by their state government
And it’s not the one that can rip through flesh
It’s the one that says “fuck you” on more pages than one

Because we must control what the people say, and how they think
And if they want to become the overseer of their own selves, then we’ll show them a real one
And somewhere in America, there’s a child sitting at his mother’s computer, reading the homepage of the KKK’s website, and that’s open to the public
But that child will never have read “To Kill a Mockingbird” because the school has banned it for it’s use of the “N” word

Maya Angelou is prohibited because we’re not allowed to talk about rape in school
We were taught that ‘just because something happens, doesn’t mean you are to talk about it’
They built us brand new shopping malls so that we’ll forget where we’re really standing
On the bones of the Hispanics, on the bones of the slaves, on the bones of the Native Americans, on the bones of those who fought just to speak!

Transcontinental Railroad to Japanese Internment Camps
There are things missing from our history books
But we were taught that it is better to be silent, than to make them uncomfortable
Somewhere in America, private school girls search for hours through boutiques, trying to find the prom dress of their dreams
While kids on the south side spending hours searching through the ‘lost and found’ ’cause winter’s coming soon and that’s the only jacket they have

Kids are late to class for working the midnight shift
They give awards for best attendance, but not for keeping your family off the streets
These kids will call your music ghetto, they will tell you you don’t talk right
Then they’ll get in the backseat of a car with all their friends singing ‘ bout how “They’re ‘bout that life” and “we can’t stop”
Somewhere in America, schools are promoting self confidence
While they whip out their scales and shout out your body fat percentage in class

While heftier girls are hiding away, and the slim fit beauties can’t help but giggle with pride
The preppy kids go thrift shopping ‘cause they think it sounds real fun
But we don’t ‘cause that’s all we got money for
‘Cause momma works for the city, momma only gets paid once a month
Somewhere in America, a girl is getting felt up by a grown man on the subway
She’s still in her school uniform and that’s part of the appeal
It’s hard to run in knee socks and Mary Jane’s, and all her male teachers know it too

Coaches cover up the star players raping freshmen after the dance
Women are killed for rejecting dates, but God forbid I bring my girlfriend to prom
Girls black out drunk at the after party, take a picture before her wounds wake her
How many pixels is your sanity worth? What’s a 4.0 to a cold jury?
What’d you learn in class today?
Don’t walk fast, don’t speak loud, keep your hands to yourself, keep your head down
Keep your eyes on your own paper, if you don’t know the answer, fill in “C”
Always wear earbuds when you ride the bus alone
If you feel like someone’s following you, pretend you’re on the phone

A teacher never fails, only you do

Every state in America, the greatest lessons, are the ones you don’t remember learning

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2 thoughts on “Somewhere In America

  1. My sister wrote an article on banned books for the VA Pilot that I thought was pretty relevant to our discussion in class. She was 14 when she wrote it, so her perspective (as a current high school student) is pretty interesting.
    Here’s a link for anyone who wants to check it out: http://pilotonline.com/opinion/columnist/guest/martina-essert-banning-books-deprives-us-of-opportunities-to-grow/article_37b4c94f-cce8-5884-a25d-05528ecadce5.html

    Like

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