YouTube: https://youtube.com/watch?v=4qi6P_ht14M
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Uploaded:2019-08-16
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I kinda can't believe I haven't told this story yet...maybe it's because of all the shame!

The blog post from Gene Demby: https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2019/01/16/685980809/why-journalists-are-debating-using-racist-to-describe-rep-steve-kings-quotes

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Good morning John, 

Your video about the time when you almost failed a class and then your teacher made you not do that reminded me of the time that exactly that same thing happened to me.
Which maybe..says something. We'll get there! 

In eleventh grade I took a landscape design course. So I learned about plants and how to plant plants and take care of them and arrange them, in people's yards. But that class, weirdly, was at a different campus. So after fifth period I had to get on a bus, and go to a different school. 
And sometimes, I would not do that. Instead I would go sleep in the band room. 

I skipped that class because one, I wasn't taking it very seriously. But two, my school had a policy...that if you got more than ten unexplained absences, you'd fail the class. But before that I kept very close track of my unexplained absences so that I would have exactly ten of... (trails off)

Because I was that kind of self-important, egotistical, sh- [cut to next clip]

Turned out, the end of the semester, it wasn't more than ten; it was ten. 
The teacher told me I would be failing the class and I..got really mad.
And I wasn't mad at the teacher? I was mad at myself for thinking I could be so clever and smart, and being wrong about that. And I think it helped me realize, that I was just sort of taking it for granted that I would always be let off. But regardless of any of that,  I was very...pissed off, and I went into the hallway, and I walked out of the classroom and I kicked a locker door that was, hanging open. I was wearing steel-toed Doc Martens; cause it was the nineties. And the locker door flew, across the hallway. Like it just ripped off and flew away. And now I'm thinking, ok, well I failed a class and I've destroyed school property and I'm in much more trouble, and I go back into the classroom, everybody's looking at me, and the teacher, says out loud, "I'll mark it down as nine". 

So somehow John, I went from failing a class, then I destroyed property, now I'm not failing. What happened here? 
Even in the moment it felt wrong to me. I didn't question it, cause that would have been a bad day, headed home, to tell mom about. 

I actually did a lot of kinda, like bad stuff in high school, and I did it knowing that there was, like, a risk, but it wasn't a big risk. And I remember, back then thinking, that I was just good at getting away with stuff...Uggh.

Why? Cause, y'know, I looked like this. [Cut to picture of younger Hank]
And I had good grades and I had so much potential, y'know, that thing that people say. Cause that's the thing. We're humans, we never stop doing the math. 

Prejudiced privilege aren't a sign of like, some kind of interior rot. They're not a disease that monsters have. They're signs of biases, that we all have and deal with. Yes, sometimes racism is cruel and violent and intentional,but sometimes, racism is just, that a white kid looks different to you kicking the door off a locker than a black kid does. 

I think a lot of America is really stuck on this idea, that racism is a secret disease that only monsters have. There's a link to something that Gene Demby wrote that helped me think a lot more correctly about this stuff,  and, it says it better than I could.

The thing I've been thinking about, is it seems like, the more you have, the more people are wary of taking things from you. And the less you have, or are perceived to have, the more society is ok with exploiting you or punishing you, or just, giving up on you.
I want a sociologist to explain this to me, but it seems real. And it seems like both a cause of increasing inequality, and the kinda thing that only gets worse with increasing inequality. 
And yeah, it seems like the source of a lot of bad.

I'm really grateful to have been raised by parents, and have mentors and teachers who helped me realize that I wasn't just some, clever kid who was just, so good at getting away with stuff! Cause I still see people my age, thinking they're that person, and it's a bad look. 
But that instead I was just a person who had a lot, so people were wary of taking it away.
And that, among many things, is a good thing to know. Uh, er, many other things, that I think I still need to learn.

John, I'll see you on Tuesday.