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America To Me

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A place to discuss particular episodes, arcs and moments from the show's run. Please remember this isn't a complete catch-all topic -- check out the forum for character topics and other places for show-related talk.

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In the first episode I didn't find any of the kids particularly appealing.  Having graduated from nearby Proviso East, I'm somewhat conflicted about the show.  I believe this is the third TV reality show featuring OPRF, one which followed some of the kids (which I don't recall the name of), "High School Reunion", and now this.

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On 8/30/2018 at 3:13 PM, Tom Holmberg said:

In the first episode I didn't find any of the kids particularly appealing.  Having graduated from nearby Proviso East, I'm somewhat conflicted about the show.  I believe this is the third TV reality show featuring OPRF, one which followed some of the kids (which I don't recall the name of), "High School Reunion", and now this.

I graduated from DeKalb High. I remember the series Yearbook (in 1991) that took place at Glenbard West.

This show sort of gives me those same vibes.

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I watch the show and think about students at Proviso East or at a lot of city high schools, who are going through the same things, but who also don't have the advantages of going to an elite school.

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2 hours ago, Tom Holmberg said:

I watch the show and think about students at Proviso East or at a lot of city high schools, who are going through the same things, but who also don't have the advantages of going to an elite school.

Or the access and ability to attract a documentary filmmaker and his crew to film their lives.

Edited by Surrealist
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4 hours ago, Tom Holmberg said:

I watch the show and think about students at Proviso East or at a lot of city high schools, who are going through the same things, but who also don't have the advantages of going to an elite school.

But isn't the entire point that even though they attend an elite school, minority students still don't benefit from those advantages?  They keep referencing how the achievement gap at OPRF keeps widening and they somehow can't figure out why.  The assistant principal who was leaving seemed to have an idea of what was going on, but hinted at administration not being open to the realities of the situation.  There obviously is a problem if the achievement gap continues to widen.  Acknowledging that problem and making real attempts to fix it is a whole other discussion.

I find the frank discussions of how the students and some of the staff view the racial situation at the school to be fascinating.  They are all very clear about how blacks are viewed and treated at that school and it's quite sad.   The resigned acceptance of the status quo is not good.  Nothing will ever change unless they confront the problem head-on, but it seems too difficult of a conversation for those in charge to have, so they just muddle on in a system that continues to leave a significant portion of its student body behind.  The students have more courage in calling out the situation for what it is than administration.  

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On 9/8/2018 at 8:28 PM, KBrownie said:

But isn't the entire point that even though they attend an elite school, minority students still don't benefit from those advantages?  They keep referencing how the achievement gap at OPRF keeps widening and they somehow can't figure out why.  The assistant principal who was leaving seemed to have an idea of what was going on, but hinted at administration not being open to the realities of the situation.  There obviously is a problem if the achievement gap continues to widen.  Acknowledging that problem and making real attempts to fix it is a whole other discussion.

I find the frank discussions of how the students and some of the staff view the racial situation at the school to be fascinating.  They are all very clear about how blacks are viewed and treated at that school and it's quite sad.   The resigned acceptance of the status quo is not good.  Nothing will ever change unless they confront the problem head-on, but it seems too difficult of a conversation for those in charge to have, so they just muddle on in a system that continues to leave a significant portion of its student body behind.  The students have more courage in calling out the situation for what it is than administration.  

Yep and if that teacher who was trying to spearhead a program hasn’t already (this was filmed in 2015/2026 I beleive) she probably will be leaving soon if nothing has changed. I did like how the boy showed up to the showcase even when suspended but I hated how the other boy was told to stop seeing the facility member who was helping him.

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OPRF teacher speaks out:

 

"...he created a curriculum for a hip-hop history course, the administration voted it down, only to reverse the decision the following day after Clark's Facebook post about the "no" vote sparked an outcry from community members. (A white male was hired to teach the course.)" Really the Administration is clueless!

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/oprf-teacher-anthony-clark-talks-america-me-advocating-equity-oak-park-1141403

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The Physics teacher has a very white savior feel to him.  Even when speaking with Ms. Stovall he mansplains to her.  I think Jada was a bit overboard with the "I can't learn" - but he does say out of pocket things.  Personally, I would write down all the things he says and turn that into a great college essay.

I think Terrence's (?) mom is setting him up for failure - she's choosing his future, not realizing he cannot keep up in mainstream classes.  Her son could use some assistance from the Special Ed educator that was helping Ke-Shawn.

Also - the superintendent smh.  There will never be a "right" time to implement change.

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More from the local Oak Park newspaper on the show:

The "white male silence in DELT was deafening," says OPRF English teacher Dan Cohen, one of the white males in the group. "It has huge ramifications for white males in power to be silent when race talk is going on. The racial systemic transformation plan has not been touched in about 10, 11 months."

Fade to the monthly meeting of the district's Citizens' Council — a name that I silently puzzled over before the school board changed it to Community Council in February 2017.

Citizens' Councils, after all, were white supremacist organizations formed in reaction to the 1954 Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled segregation in public education unconstitutional.

http://www.oakpark.com/Community/Blogs/9-10-2018/'Learn-this-language-of-exasperation'-/

 

"Chicago Tonight" discusses the show:

https://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2018/09/10/america-me-story-high-school-black-and-white

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21 hours ago, chabelisaywow said:

I think Terrence's (?) mom is setting him up for failure - she's choosing his future, not realizing he cannot keep up in mainstream classes.  Her son could use some assistance from the Special Ed educator that was helping Ke-Shawn.

Terrence makes me cry. He seems like he’s lost, even just walking through the halls, and that’s such a shame because with the right teachers and classes, he could excel. Poor kid. My heart burst when he gave his mom the bracelet. 

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On 9/11/2018 at 2:05 AM, chabelisaywow said:

The Physics teacher has a very white savior feel to him.  Even when speaking with Ms. Stovall he mansplains to her.  I think Jada was a bit overboard with the "I can't learn" - but he does say out of pocket things.  Personally, I would write down all the things he says and turn that into a great college essay.

I think Terrence's (?) mom is setting him up for failure - she's choosing his future, not realizing he cannot keep up in mainstream classes.  Her son could use some assistance from the Special Ed educator that was helping Ke-Shawn.

Also - the superintendent smh.  There will never be a "right" time to implement change.

I get wanting to push your child but at some point you need to realize what’s best for them and corse correct. He seems to enjoy the more artistic things and should be a path he takes along with dropping down to the Spec Ed path for mainstream classes.

I like how the series is laid out cause it seems like none of the black students are really getting a say in what they want. For example you have the band geek trying to cut weight and start for the wrestling squad just to be around his black friends when he’s clearly more jazzed to go on the band trip. Then you have his coach purposely pit him against probably a D1 athlete just to get his ass kicked. Also don’t ask me how he’s doing both at the same time cause I have no clue.

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Ke-Shawn has a good day. Podolner, you weren't born a poor Black child.  Grant and Kendale, as well as teacher Michael Byars, stand out in this episode.  Terrence still struggles.

Chicago Magazine recap: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/america-me-oprf-teacher-paul-noble-new-steve-james-doc-1143709

Hollywood Reporter highlights another teacher: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/america-me-oprf-teacher-paul-noble-new-steve-james-doc-1143709

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Thank you for posting! It's the same link for both stories. I'm glad the superintendent has changed.  

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So the new episode on the app (premieres on TV on Sunday) is interesting. Of course a white student was like “Why aren’t you following white students!” And then of course it took the producers forever to find suitable students. Which FYI I looked it up and the baseball pitcher went to a community college. Lastly, Jada needs to cool it. The other students were right, she was trying to create an issue where there really wasn’t one and then she gets defensive because she’s Jada.

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I'll be watching.  I wonder if they picked a white student to prove their point though, or did they the most articulate student (who was willing to talk on camera).  The filmmakers said they couldn't find white students who could talk articulately about race, but Podolner demonstrates the situation they'd be putting themselves in.  He's well-meaning, I suppose, but he comes across on camera as an ass.

48 minutes ago, Skyfall said:

Of course a white student was like “Why aren’t you following white students!”

I would expect that.  That reflects back to the first episode and the Black Lives Matter meeting that only the Black students could attend, and the complaints of the white adults and students.

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12 hours ago, Tom Holmberg said:

I'll be watching.  I wonder if they picked a white student to prove their point though, or did they the most articulate student (who was willing to talk on camera).  The filmmakers said they couldn't find white students who could talk articulately about race, but Podolner demonstrates the situation they'd be putting themselves in.  He's well-meaning, I suppose, but he comes across on camera as an ass.

I would expect that.  That reflects back to the first episode and the Black Lives Matter meeting that only the Black students could attend, and the complaints of the white adults and students.

So I made the post after halfway through the episode and the second half was riveting. Apparently there was an event that took place at a basketball game that caused the administration to single out the leadership classes (to not get into too many details about it before the TV premiere) and Terrance’s fall semester journey was capped off well if a bit heartbreaking, but man Ke'Shawn's fall semester story ended with a plottwist that was surprising and yet you could see tidbits of it during the season.

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Having only seen the 4 episodes that have been broadcast, I think the art teacher and the wrestling coach are just as bad as the physics teacher.  And the Special Ed teacher, the Poetry Slam teachers, and the theater teacher all seem to be going the extra mile for the kids.  

Being a parent, I just want to wrap Terrance up in a big blanket and protect him from the world.  But he has to live in the world, and his mother is doing her best to keep him in it.  He did block every shot in that hockey game, suited up or not.

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On 9/22/2018 at 5:13 PM, meep.meep said:

Having only seen the 4 episodes that have been broadcast, I think the art teacher and the wrestling coach are just as bad as the physics teacher.  And the Special Ed teacher, the Poetry Slam teachers, and the theater teacher all seem to be going the extra mile for the kids.  

Being a parent, I just want to wrap Terrance up in a big blanket and protect him from the world.  But he has to live in the world, and his mother is doing her best to keep him in it.  He did block every shot in that hockey game, suited up or not.

I’m surprised they’re not indulging his very obvious tick/defensive mechanism of having his good on. Sure it’s revealed in tonight’s episode that his mom wants the hood down, but in most cases schools would usually not make a big deal about it given his circumstances.

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Sorry - I'm a few episodes ahead. 

Spoiler

 

Jada has a stance of - "if you're not black, you cannot understand what black people go through." I understand and somewhat agree.  I mean of course, I will not ever be able to understand what a black person goes through - but as a person of color, I can empathize.  I have noticed, Jada gets very upset - if you do not agree with her opinion in general.  She is combative with Charles in the way he reacts to the physics teacher.  When her movie is show, she sulks off when another student contradicts her (another black student), and she also gets into a debate with an African student in episode 6.

I hope this series gets seen by more people.  There are interviews with Grant's father (not to be missed!/told in Grant's voice too and the introduction of Brandon and his parents.

My daughter graduated the same year as this was filmed.  When she was looking at colleges, we were interested in a school who had, in recent years, been known for very generous financial aid (especially for a public university).  When we went to visit, it just didn't feel "right" - racism is not just black vs. white.  This school is also known for its segregation and it just didn't look like much had changed.  When given the chance to desegregate - its Greek Life, opted not to.  That to me and my child was a game changer.  It doesn't matter if was "free" - you couldn't pay my child to attend.  What cracks me up to - is the majority of white families (out of state) who absolutely adore this school and tout its "family" - bringing this up on other forums, just heaps opprobrium.

So, I wonder what the "outcome" if any, will be shown.  I know I had a "wow" reaction when an interview with a white student, (paraphrasing) "they (black) students, don't seem to care as much as white students in doing well."

There is a white freshman that is profiled, who goes over grades with her mother (who picked her up from school!) A, A, A, A, - I mean this really just was just a "white people's problems" reaction from me.

 

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8 hours ago, chabelisaywow said:

Sorry - I'm a few episodes ahead. 

  Hide contents

 

Jada has a stance of - "if you're not black, you cannot understand what black people go through." I understand and somewhat agree.  I mean of course, I will not ever be able to understand what a black person goes through - but as a person of color, I can empathize.  I have noticed, Jada gets very upset - if you do not agree with her opinion in general.  She is combative with Charles in the way he reacts to the physics teacher.  When her movie is show, she sulks off when another student contradicts her (another black student), and she also gets into a debate with an African student in episode 6.

I hope this series gets seen by more people.  There are interviews with Grant's father (not to be missed!/told in Grant's voice too and the introduction of Brandon and his parents.

My daughter graduated the same year as this was filmed.  When she was looking at colleges, we were interested in a school who had, in recent years, been known for very generous financial aid (especially for a public university).  When we went to visit, it just didn't feel "right" - racism is not just black vs. white.  This school is also known for its segregation and it just didn't look like much had changed.  When given the chance to desegregate - its Greek Life, opted not to.  That to me and my child was a game changer.  It doesn't matter if was "free" - you couldn't pay my child to attend.  What cracks me up to - is the majority of white families (out of state) who absolutely adore this school and tout its "family" - bringing this up on other forums, just heaps opprobrium.

So, I wonder what the "outcome" if any, will be shown.  I know I had a "wow" reaction when an interview with a white student, (paraphrasing) "they (black) students, don't seem to care as much as white students in doing well."

There is a white freshman that is profiled, who goes over grades with her mother (who picked her up from school!) A, A, A, A, - I mean this really just was just a "white people's problems" reaction from me.

 

I believe as long as it’s through official means (like the app) you don’t need spoiler tags.

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Well... The white kids actually followed (as opposed to those who just got brief scenes) don't seem like "average" teenagers, one's a star athlete and the other is a highly (overly) motivated student, the third, the friend of Jada, seemed the most average, but she got the least time.  It was interesting that the baseball coach of the white athlete sort of did the same thing to him that the wrestling coach did to Kendale. 

Jada doesn't get mad, she just looks and acts that way.

Ke'Shawn's mother reveals that her story of her treatment at OPRF has more nuance than she first let on (though she was a kid at the time and adults need to have more sense than to treat a kid that way, no matter what).

I wasn't sure if Ke'Shawn's grandmother was being evicted from her house or if Ke'Shawn, his mother and his siblings were the ones that had to leave. I know when I went to Proviso East there were a number of kids who lived outside of the district in the city, who were "illegally" attending PE to get out of the city.  I'm sure they same thing happens at OPRF, but I guess being filmed would make hard for them to pull that off.

Salon on "America to Me"

https://www.salon.com/2018/09/23/white-adults-need-to-watch-america-to-me-the-most-important-show-about-teens-on-tv-now/

Edited by Tom Holmberg

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On 9/23/2018 at 7:12 PM, Skyfall said:

Sure it’s revealed in tonight’s episode that his mom wants the hood down, but in most cases schools would usually not make a big deal about it given his circumstances.

Only watched episode 5.  Daughter encouraged me to watch it.  Having hoodie up indoors provides perception of gang/hood.  Clearly this young man is not that, but he does need to be aware of how he will be perceived by those that don't know him at work opportunities, etc.  My daughter is guilty as well, and I am on her about it (white, by the way).  Small thing that does not require studying, is an easy fix and I think has to do with lack of confidence (for my kid at least) 

Edited by Mardo2044 · Reason: Wrong episode

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4 hours ago, Tom Holmberg said:

Well... The white kids actually followed (as opposed to those who just got brief scenes) don't seem like "average" teenagers, one's a star athlete and the other is a highly (overly) motivated student, the third seemed the most average, but she got the least time.  It was interesting that the baseball coach of the white athlete sort of did the same thing to him that the wrestling coach did to Kendale. 

Jada doesn't get mad, she just looks and acts that way.

Ke'Shawn's mother reveals that her story of her treatment at OPRF has more nuance than she first let on (though she was a kid at the time and adults need to have more sense than to treat a kid that way, no matter what).

I wasn't sure if Ke'Shawn's grandmother was being evicted from her house or if Ke'Shawn, his mother and his siblings were the ones that had to leave. I know when I went to Proviso East there were a number of kids who lived outside of the district in the city, who were "illegally" attending PE to get out of the city.  I'm sure they same thing happens at OPRF, but I guess being filmed would make hard for them to pull that off.

Salon on "America to Me"

https://www.salon.com/2018/09/23/white-adults-need-to-watch-america-to-me-the-most-important-show-about-teens-on-tv-now/

Jada is the type of person that does/says things and expects everyone to agree/listen to it. She can’t take constructive criticism nor find a middle place (physics teacher) because she’s hyper sensitive and a teenage (read: thinks she’s always right). It’s a bad combo and I’m sure the edit isn’t doing her any favors but at the same time I think this is her general attitude.

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But even more poignantly, Jada forges a friendship with a white classmate, a turn she says she never would have predicted.

I feel like she treats her like the "token white friend" - like the reverse of "I'm not a racist, I have a black friend." (Directing her to say a  word in her "certain" way.)  I had to laugh when says her friend is "woke." I think she elicits the "white reaction" that Jada wants to hear.  I read that Jada got into Howard, I'm glad that she got what she wanted.

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Jada doesn't get mad, she just looks and acts that way.

I think her reactions are typical of a lot of teens - regardless of race.  Her mother said something to the effect of "maybe they think black parents won't back their child." Basically, saying they (school officials) can't do whatever because black parents won't care.  That's the opposite reaction that Terrence's teacher had about being honest with Terrence's mother - he basically said he didn't want to deal with her.

I felt like that teacher - Mr. Noble(?) was in a hard spot.  I mean, Terrence had an issue with the word "blatant" but got "capricious" - with extra help and time, Terrence understood.  But how can you expect a teacher to devote the bulk of his time with just one student?

 

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I’m sure the edit isn’t doing her any favors

When I think of reality tv, I remember Heather B. from the first season of Real World (I'm dating myself) - "they use what you give them." Her position, is they can't make you to be something you're not. I used to agree, but maybe not so much now. 

Edited by chabelisaywow

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1 hour ago, Mardo2044 said:

Clearly this young man is not that, but he does need to be aware of how he will be perceived by those that don't know him at work opportunities, etc.

That sort of "bundling", wearing hoods, wearing inappropriate (for the time of year), oversized, layered clothes, etc., is also often a sign of schizophrenia, but I'm not a doctor, I just play one on TV.

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It bugs me when people read to much into the fact that the white and black kids largely sit at different tables in the cafeteria.  Yes, racism plays a role in that, but it's high school- the jocks sit at one table, the cheerleaders sit at one table, the band kids sit at one table, the druggies sit at one table, the theater kids sit at one table, etc. , etc.  High school is incredibly clique-y. 

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 the band kids sit at one table, the druggies sit at one table, the theater kids

I can't tell if the band and theater at OPRF are considered white activities. Yes? As that's why Kendale and Grant are the anomalies in these groups?  The fall play seemed very diverse - the lead (Elizabeth?, the one who takes Grant under her wing) is very talented!

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1 hour ago, chabelisaywow said:

I feel like she treats her like the "token white friend" - like the reverse of "I'm not a racist, I have a black friend." (Directing her to say a  word in her "certain" way.)  I had to laugh when says her friend is "woke." I think she elicits the "white reaction" that Jada wants to hear.  I read that Jada got into Howard, I'm glad that she got what she wanted.

I think her reactions are typical of a lot of teens - regardless of race.  Her mother said something to the effect of "maybe they think black parents won't back their child." Basically, saying they (school officials) can't do whatever because black parents won't care.  That's the opposite reaction that Terrence's teacher had about being honest with Terrence's mother - he basically said he didn't want to deal with her.

I felt like that teacher - Mr. Noble(?) was in a hard spot.  I mean, Terrence had an issue with the word "blatant" but got "capricious" - with extra help and time, Terrence understood.  But how can you expect a teacher to devote the bulk of his time with just one student?

 

When I think of reality tv, I remember Heather B. from the first season of Real World (I'm dating myself) - "they use what you give them." Her position, is they can't make you to be something you're not. I used to agree, but maybe not so much now. 

If Terrance was in a slower track they would be slower and could devote more time to a student not fully there.

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4 hours ago, Skyfall said:

Jada is the type of person that does/says things and expects everyone to agree/listen to it. She can’t take constructive criticism nor find a middle place (physics teacher) because she’s hyper sensitive and a teenage (read: thinks she’s always right). It’s a bad combo and I’m sure the edit isn’t doing her any favors but at the same time I think this is her general attitude.

I like that she is so passionate about her projects.  Being defensive about one's work is something all creative's struggle with of any age and it takes maturity.  I hope the teacher takes an opportunity to practice responses after film screenings :"Thank you for the feedback", "food for thought, thank you"  "that is a direction I didn't intend, but thanks for your point-of-view" "different perspective, thanks"  "I'm glad the film evoked thought, emotion, etc"

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Chicago Magazine on Episode 5:

http://www.chicagomag.com/arts-culture/September-2018/America-to-Me-Episode-5-Recap-Where-Are-the-White-Kids/

"...Caroline, a freshman who loves learning and says that school gives her a reason to wake up in the morning. Yeah. You’re 14. Going to school is literally the only thing you have to do."

Really it's not necessary to make fun of this girl. She's not doing anything wrong (though I hope she learns to relax a little more).

 

Local paper on Episode 4:

http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/9-18-2018/Episode-4:-'There's-nothing-funny-about-race!'-/

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If Terrance was in a slower track they would be slower and could devote more time to a student not fully there.

I think his mom was fighting putting him in the lower track - that's why Mr. Noble knew it wasn't worth fighting her on it. Terrence had to just deal with the failing grade. I feel so sad when I see his segments. 

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On 9/24/2018 at 1:50 PM, Tom Holmberg said:

It bugs me when people read to much into the fact that the white and black kids largely sit at different tables.

There have been scientific studies that day we seek our own tribe.  According to National Geographic- "We’re wired from birth to tell Us from Them. And we inevitably (and sometimes unconsciously) favor Us—especially when we feel threatened." https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/04/things-that-divide-us/ not that it excuses behavior but it can explain behavior.  Also high school is a lot if finding a group and trying to conform...very cliquey 

My kids' elementary and middleschool are very integrated and not like you see depicted in the series.  I was saddened to see the baseball player who had positive multi-racial friendships in elementary and middle be treated differently in high school and struggle with those new dynamics.

Edited by Mardo2044 · Reason: Posted twice
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On 9/8/2018 at 8:28 PM, KBrownie said:

They keep referencing how the achievement gap at OPRF keeps widening and they somehow can't figure out why.  The assistant principal who was leaving seemed to have an idea of what was going on, but hinted at administration not being open to the realities of the situation.  

Yes, it sounds like the admin is not willing to try new things and be open to change.  They seem more comfortable in what they know, which is sad because it is clearly failing a large population of their student body.

One teacher talks about a student in 1st grade reading level making it to 4th grade standard in 1 school term.  My question is why is this child promoted to the next grade level throughout grade school and not taught until high school?  I suspect the gap is too big before they get there.  I am not suggesting give up the fight, but need to look at early intervention.  What a mess.  So sad.

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6 hours ago, Mardo2044 said:

I was saddened to see the baseball player who had positive multi-racial friendships in elementary and middle be treated differently in high school and struggle with those new dynamics.

That's not uncommon.  Kids will be best friends from an early age, then in middle school or high school, the cliques force them apart.  It's very sad.

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What did this girl do wrong?  Nothing.  Actually, no I think this is the girl who studied really hard for straight As but they don't show that part.  I guess studying multiple hours a day would make for boring documentary but I think it gives an impression you are comparing 2 apples when not really.  One young man, I think Ke'Shawn hadnt turned in hardly any homework assignments all term. I commend his teacher for encouraging him, working with him....but this is apples and oranges. Not a student studying all the time and for some reason still not getting it.  In this sense I think the film does "set up" the narrative and show its bias.  The series is still thought provoking and interesting but I think the series falls short in this way.

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What did this girl do wrong?  Nothing.  Actually, no I think this is the girl who studied really hard for straight As but they don't show that part.  I guess studying multiple hours a day would make for boring documentary but I think it gives an impression you are comparing 2 apples when not really

without seeing the rest of the episodes, it's hard to say. When I watched, I thought of the quote from the first white kid "white kids seem to care more about doing well." So her scenes are either shown to prove this or not.  In terms of this girl (the freshman) I want to say her name is Veronica - but that may be Jada's white friend; I think she has more of a back story.

She talks about doing well - almost to the point of obsession. I don't think it's just because she's "white." Her sister was at the top of her class, got the most scholarships, etc.  I think she feels she has to live up to her parents, her own, her sister's expectations.  Also, her father was out of work (in his field) for a LONG time, getting good grades - would obviously grant her merit aid somewhere.

Our family is not white, but not AA.  When I watched this segment, I was very surprised that the sister - who had won all these scholarships, etc. attends a "non name" college and looks to be an art major.  My culture (generally speaking) would have seen that as a "waste" and not practical.  It's not as if this family was so financially secure that it didn't matter what the daughter majored in.  I see that difference culturally anywhere - white families seem to foster, encourage, etc. their children's dreams.  My culture, just seems to focus on being "successful."  Granted, most of our families are immigrants and the focus stems from coming from poverty.  Not American poverty - but third world, poverty.

I said earlier that I got the "white girl problems" vibe from her - in the same way that Charles describes Hannah's poem. 

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Oak Park newspaper on episode 5:

http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/9-25-2018/Bacon's-rebellion-_-in-a-gym/

"We see whites stigmatizing whites based on perceived socioeconomic differences, and white OPRF students responding to some of the negative stereotypes they hear by doubling down on their stigmatization, becoming the rebels without a cause that the Fenwick students perceive them to be...."

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Podolner responds:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/america-me-oprf-teacher-aaron-podolner-talks-his-portrayal-steve-james-docuseries-1147374

"Through the series, he says, "I saw myself making mistakes, I saw myself trying too hard, but I saw myself learning some lessons by the end. Of course, we're still like three weeks away from me learning some lessons! So that's a long time to wait while people are just [seeing] the mistakes — which I fully recognize as mistakes." ...he seems to view the negative feedback he's received as an opportunity to keep learning from his mistakes, though it's clear that certain criticism has stung. For instance, he calls the fact that OPRF Principal Nate Rouse tweeted out a link to a Chicago Magazine episode recap entitled "Let's Talk About Mr. Podolner" — which didn't pull punches — "hard to take.""

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Podolner responds:

When Mr. Podolner remarked it was his "job" to help black students succeed, I winced.  I just got the "white savior" feel from him - again.  If he really likes Lauryn Hill, more power to him - then the eyeroll from Jada is not appreciated. But - his "schtick" is curious - genuine? Or just him playing savior?

Meeting Ke-Shawn, up to know, he just reinforces the "white students want to try harder" feeling.  I know he has a lot going one -but  a lot of people have drama in their lives.  The Stanford bound wrestler is succeeding - is he an anomaly ? But he has two parents, etc.... what about Grant?

Mr. Noble - I got  a genuine feeling from him - until he mentioned not wanting to force the issue with Terrence's mom. Now we know why - she's litigious. At least the counselor had the balls to ask "does Terrence want to go to college?"

I didn't know what to expect - I guess I just wanted to see real lives and not contrived situations.  Caroline's visit to her mom's housekeeper.  Cringe worthy.  It didn't feel genuine - did they just visit for camera time? They didn't even know what room she was in.  Caroline's mom stuck her tongue out when talking about how she was uncomfortable about growing up wealthy. I mean that's weird - she's not wealthy now. 

I feel for Diane - who gets told time and time again "that she will never know how it feels... " I guess when we stop counting "who has it harder."  

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Chicago Magazine on Episode 6

http://www.chicagomag.com/arts-culture/October-2018/America-to-Me-Episode-6-Recap-I-Guess-They-Talk-About-Race-at-OPRF-Now/

"Yet another reaction to the web series comes from Diane Barrios-Smith, a Mexican-American student with two lesbian parents. She continues to try and connect the n-word to other racial slurs, saying that blacks are oppressing themselves by using it and that there are other types of oppression that need to be considered. Jada isn’t interested in having those other conversations — and maybe she shouldn’t have to be when the one she’s trying to have is fraught enough..."

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Oak Park newspaper on Episode 6:

http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/10-2-2018/The-absurdity-of-achievement-/

"Something else that was illuminating during this sixth episode (and indeed in other parts of the series) is just how stressful high school can be. It's a pressure cooker. The stakes, already, are high (which the students know only too well; not satisfied with straight A's, Caroline Robling-Griest must see the percentages). And all of this before most students have even been on their first real job interview...."

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On 10/1/2018 at 7:11 PM, chabelisaywow said:

At least the counselor had the balls to ask "does Terrence want to go to college?"

I am glad Terrance's mom advocates for her son.  He should stay in school as long as he is able to make forward progress because he gets the support and services.  But reading at the 8 year old level, I am not certain anyone is being honest with her and she is not being honest with herself that college is not the right tract for him.  I would want them to explore options. What are his dreams?  He loves art, what jobs can be do within that space and work towards that. I know of a bag boy (man) that had mental deficits who really wanted to work and help people.  With his parents support he studied hard, it took 6 times but he passed the state board to be  a nurse's aid, and a non-for-profit hired him to go to Africa and work with aids patients.  He was thrilled, all the regulars at grocery were thrilled for him.  So it can be done, just have took at an extended time period with a longer lense.  Terrance's mom needs to adjust her expectations.  Her drive and love for her son are commendable but I wish she would keep her eye on the prize...how Terrance can learn and grow and ultimately can support himself and be fufilled in his job and social relationships.

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The show mentions the whole residency issue I mentioned above.  When I went to Proviso East we'd see "residency cops" at the El stop where we'd catch the bus to school. North Oak Park vs South Oak Park, yep, that's a thing.

Chicago Magazine reviews episode 7

http://www.chicagomag.com/arts-culture/October-2018/America-to-Me-Episode-7-Recap-A-Tsunami-of-Cringe/

 

Hollywood Reporter talks to OPRF wrestling coach Paul Collins

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/america-me-oprf-wrestling-coach-paul-collins-new-steve-james-doc-1150069

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9 hours ago, Tom Holmberg said:

North Oak Park vs South Oak Park, yep, that's a thing.

I lived in Oak Park when I was a kid; had NO idea that was a thing. 

Interesting what the social worker (?) said about the 1:1 aide for Terrence and, if he was white, he would have already had one. I have heard from friends that getting schools to abide by IEPs is an exercise in futility, despite it being the law that accommodations must be made. Then to have racial disparity, as well, ... disheartening and eye opening. 

Edited by Suck It Trebek
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9 hours ago, Suck It Trebek said:

I lived in Oak Park when I was a kid

If you lived on the north side, then it's north side privilege! :)  Yes, I think, whether white or black, you have to fight to get this. I think the one white teacher, Mr. Noble, who has a special needs child in Oak Park schools said he had much the same problem.

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