Somewhere in America…
Watch this video and be amazed.
A copy of this video on Facebook has received over 39 million views. Wow!
This performance is great, and shows the true value and perception of at least some of that nation’s noble youth. Well done girls, you are amazing. Excellent. And they wrote the whole thing themselves.
Unfortunately, good diction is not a standout attribute of young people anywhere these days and the speed at which this recital is delivered makes it very difficult to understand much of the message the girls want to get across. Knowing the words of course makes this much easier.
Fortunately, a kind commenter, Mélodie Leclerc, has provided the whole piece word for word. Thank you so much Mélodie. This is invaluable to those of us whose brains don’t work quite as fast as young people can talk.
“Here in America and 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 will 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 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 “‘F’ You” on more pages than one.
Because we must control what people say. 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 is a child sitting at his mother’s computer reading the home page of the KKK’s website and that’s open to the public. But that child will have never read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ because his 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 are taught that just because something happens doesn’t mean we are to talk about it.
They build us brand new shopping malls so 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 railroads 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 spend 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 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. Where the heftier girls are hiding away and the slim fit beauties can’t help but giggle with pride.
The preppy kids go thrift shopping because they think it sounds fun. But we go ’cause that’s all we’ve got money for ’cause mama works for the city; mama only gets paid once a month.
Somewhere in America a girl is getting felt up by a grown man on a 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 star players raping freshmen after the dance. Women are killed for rejecting a date but God forbid I bring my girlfriend to prom.
A girl is blackout 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 talk loud, 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 ear-buds when you ride the bus alone. If you think that 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.”
– Belissa Escobedo, Rhiannon McGavin, and Zariya Allen.
To this I would only add, from my own perspective, the most derelict and reprehensible of all of the evils mentioned in this fine piece, since social evils can be fairly easily sorted if there is a communal will together with appropriate authority to do so, is the fact that “There are things missing from our history books“.
That is not so easily remedied and if the truth is withheld, embellished or totally distorted to serve some devious purpose, what chance do young students have of forming valid and informed opinions of the world around them and their place and their nation’s place within it? That is entirely unforgivable.
You may also be interested in listening to these girls in the follow-up interview on the Queen Latifah Show.