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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, April 21, 2006

Youth Speaks excerpts

Here are more excerpts from a piece created by the Youth Speaks finalists who are heading for the national competition in New York; original poem by Alex Lum, assisted by Christina King.

What would this world be without teachers?
I mean I have some excellent teachers
From my wonderful beautiful English teacher
To my buff and tuff dance teacher
My artistic intelligent poetry teacher
And my energetically magnetically physics teacher

These teachers have made a difference in my life
Another teacher who has made a difference

In his class we can't wear hats 'cause he assumes
They represent gangs and violence

In his class we can't wear sunglasses 'cause he assumes
That we're hiding highs with bloodshot eyes

In his class we can't wear baggy clothing 'cause he assumes
We are concealing weapons

He talks to us like we will never be successful
So most of us don't believe in our selves

And he's too lazy "to teach students who aren't willing to learn"

But ... I am willing to learn
Knowledge I might actually use

By following the road of Hip-Hop
Through the form of dance, music, and poetry
I grow weary of words written by
Dead old white men
Like Shakespeare, Poe, and Whitman
When I learn more from stories of
Young murdered black men
Like Tupac and Biggie

A Frost Vanilla Ice never satisfied my thirst for intellect
Yet a sip of dialect from a tall glass
Of Ice T, served on RA RA RA RA RA Rocksready
Ice Cube taught me street smarts

Teaching me street smarts
So I won't get stabbed
Instead I go to your class
And get shanked by your violent rhetoric

Maybe all I need is a bigger word bank
To paint a thousand pictures
Portraying the portrait of our revolution
Culture, history
Serenity, liberty
Constructs, creates
Gives not takes
Freedom, independence
Progression, change
Sovereignty, hope
Heritage, growth
A future we the youth create to reveal the truth
Not the future that YOU are forcing upon us

We will stand up for ourselves
We will state our opinions
We will tell you the truth
We are the future for a better tomorrow

And the only people who stand in our way are
People like you Mr. Newscaster
We know that right and left are not right and wrong
There is no good and evil
Just ourselves and other people

People like Mr. Police Officer
Who harassed me and assumed that I was a graffiti artist
Just because I skate
And believes I have no future 'cause I don't attend a private school

People like Mr. President
Who said and I quote
"When we talk about war we are really talking about peace"
What a professional liar
Who brainwashes the community so that we believe that
Invading other countries is perfectly ok

But you know what
I will wear my hat, the kind that represents PEACE
I will wear my sunglasses only above my eyes so you can see the whiteness in them
I am not racist, sexist, fascist, or homophobic

If you really believe I'm dumb
And what I'm saying is dumb
Then come over to our side of the island
And find that over our dead bodies would we ever become

And with that I will believe in my self
I will follow my hopes and dreams
I will be successful even if it's out if the hatred I have for you

I'm trying to keep it clean but if I had one finger in the air
I bet you know which one it would be
No, this one
And I would point at you
Mr. Newscaster
Mr. Police Officer
Mr. President
... And I would say you are all wrong
Just as long as we keep having after-school programs
The boys and girls club
The Movement Center
Youth Speaks
Just as long as the real teachers keep on doing what they are doing
maybe in the near future
We can have more teachers like these
And less teachers
Like you