Enrolled in a college course at UConn. As an employee at the UConn Health Center, the one credit class is free to me. It is all online.
The first assignment was watching this video.
Here are the lyrics:
You should’ve been downtown (word)
The people are risin’ (for real?)
We thought it was a lockdown (what?)
They opened up fire (damn)
Them bullets was flyin’ (ooh)
Who said it was a lockdown? Goddamn lie
Oh my, time heals all but you outta time now (now)
Judge gotta watch us from the clock tower (true)
Lil’ tear gas cleared the whole place out
I’l be back with the hazmat for the next round
We was tryin’ to protest, then the fires broke out
Look out for the secret agents, they be planted in the crowd
Said, “It’s civil unrest,” but you sleep so sound
Like you don’t hear the screams when we catchin’ beatdowns
Stayin’ quiet when they killin’ niggas, but you speak loud
When we ride, got opinions comin’ from a place of privilege
Sicker than the COVID, how they did him on the ground
Speakin’ of the COVID, is it still goin’ around?
Oh, won’t you tell me ’bout the lootin’ what’s that really all about?
‘Cause they throw away black lives like paper towels
Plus unemployment rate, what, forty million now?
Killed a man in broad day, might never see a trial
We just wanna break chains like slaves in the South
Started in the North End but we in the downtown
Riot cops try to block, now we gotta show down, down (City of Los Angeles)
(I hereby declare this to be an unlawful assembly)
(And in the name of the people of the State of California)
Wow. College wasn’t like this forty years ago, but I have to say, there is as much in this song as in many novels. The lyrics resonate more to me than Edmund Spencer’s “Faire Queene” did when I had to read that in English Literature back at the University of Virginia in 1977.
“Sicker than the COVID, how they did him on the ground.”
At the beginning of the class I had to say why I enrolled. I said equality is the great issue of our time. I want to be convincing when I talk to people.
The first module also includes listening this playlist of 10 songs, including ones by Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder and 2Pac Sakur.
One of the instructors says this is a black centered course and how when she was a child in school, none of the material she was given in her coursework seemed to be about her or the lives she knew. This course is designed by black people to be about them. As a white person taking it, my hope is to have the privilege to see life through their eyes, and see where that journey takes me.
I’ll keep your informed how it goes and will share what I learn.