Clint Smith: How to raise a black son in America
Clint Smith - Poet, educator
Clint Smith's work blends art and activism. Full bio
follow the rules that they did.
have to mow the lawn?
in my oatmeal?
with questions like this.
and realizing that sometimes,
even when I didn't exactly understand why.
me to think critically.
to reconcile the tension
understand the realities of the world,
the status quo as inevitable.
in and of itself,
Brazilian author and scholar Paulo Freire,
about the need for education
awakening and shared humanity.
"Pedagogy of the Oppressed,"
lately, this idea of humanity,
is afforded the privilege
the past several months,
as unarmed black men, and women,
at the hands of police and vigilante.
has transpired after them
about raising a black boy in America
understand in the way that I do now.
how profoundly unfair it must have felt
to strip away parts of my childhood
overnight field trip to another city,
into our own water-filled battle zone.
lay between the streetlights,
across the pavement.
grabbed me by my forearm
with an unfamiliar grip.
made me look in front of my friends,
fear consuming his face,
as your white friends.
other than your own teeth."
into the empty of the night,
all of this away.
inundated with my entire life:
can see them, don't move too quickly,
in an armor of advice,
wouldn't steal the breath from our lungs,
a memory of this skin.
not casket or concrete.
would make us better than anyone else
to keep us alive.
with the same message,
when we became old enough
to be hammered to the ground,
synonymous with something to be feared.
cannot simply be a child?
are too dangerous for your breath,
of making a mistake,
wake up in the morning.
who raised us to understand
for the backside of a bullet,
and laughing until our stomachs burst.
how to raise our hands in class,
aren't worthy of this world.
it's not because others don't,
are worthy of existing without fear,
the moment he is born,
for anything other than a toy.
build this world into something new,
on a t-shirt, or a tombstone,
than the fact that they had lungs,
one of us can breathe.
About the speaker:Clint Smith - Poet, educator
Clint Smith's work blends art and activism.
Why you should listen
Clint Smith is a writer, teacher and doctoral candidate at Harvard University studying education, incarceration and inequality. Previously, he taught high school English in Prince George’s County, Maryland where, in 2013, he was named the Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Humanities Council.
Clint is a 2014 National Poetry Slam champion, an Individual World Poetry Slam Finalist, and author of the poetry collection Counting Descent. He has received fellowships from the National Science Foundation, Cave Canem and the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian, Boston Review, American Poetry Review, Harvard Educational Review and elsewhere. He was born and raised in New Orleans, LA.
Clint Smith | Speaker | TED.com