Monday, March 21, 2005

Oprah in the 'hood

What's this I hear about Oprah spending a month in a housing project in Chicago? Apparently it's part of a documentary focusing on the housing crisis in inner-cities. Ms. Winfrey, shadowed by bodyguards for her own protection, will live in an apartment building in a tough area of Chicago. Details were not available.

Will she continue work on her program? Will she be at her office or at meetings? Will she spend actual time in the apartment? Will she be given a stipend to live off of?

At a housewarming party this weekend, we were speaking to a NYC public high school teacher who said it's difficult for us to understand the plight of an inner city student. He's inundated with angry parents who do not understand why he tells his students they have potential. We couldn't decide if it was a cultural issue or a pride issue. He noted that in his classes, he finds that there is a high percentage of Black and Hispanic males who hide their achievements. He's generalizing here folks, so take it with a grain of salt.

Personally, I'd be highly upset if my child's teacher told him/her that they didn't have any potential. I could not imagine being upset at a teacher for telling my child with application they could be an engineer or an astronaut or whathaveyou.

I suppose pride could be a factor. I can see parents becoming defensive. "Who are you to tell me that I'm a bad parent?" "Who are you to tell my son that he can be do better than I can?" Now I'm not a parent but at some point, you have to realize it's not about you but your child and making a better life for him/her.