Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Never too young for identity politics

I don't know if any of you are familiar with this story, but basically it's about a 7-year-old girl named Autum Ashante who gave what ABC News called "a racially charged performance at a middle school" during a Black History Month event in New York.

Now, I think the little girl should be able to say whatever she wants, so long as it's not offensive or obscene, and I don't even really care that she had only the black kids in the audience stand up and recite "The Black Child's Pledge," since this was at a Black History Month event--already a little divisive there, you might say. I'm really interested in the idea that she supposedly wrote the following stuff all by herself:
Ashante then presented her poem "White Nationalism Put U In Bondage," which rails against Christopher Columbus, J.P. Morgan and Charles Darwin: "White nationalism is what put you in bondage. Pirate and vampires like Columbus, Morgan and Darwin."

"Black lands taken from your hands, by vampires with no remorse," the poem states. "They took the gold, the wisdom and all of the storytellers. They took the black women, with the black man weak."
Now, reading the article, you find out that she's been performing poetry in public since she was 4 and that she has appeared on Showtime at the Apollo and Def Poetry Jam, so she's obviously something of a prodigy. She's also homeschooled, presumably by her father, with whom she lives, so he can choose the curriculum he wants to teach her.

I'm just saying that your average 7-year-old girl is usually preoccupied by things other than "White Nationalism" and J.P. Morgan--candy and unicorns come to mind, actually. Granted, 7-year-olds may know about Columbus and pirates and vampires, but J.P. Morgan? And what does Charles Darwin have to do with oppressing black people? I'm just saying that she may have written it, but somebody put those particular bees in her bonnet. Judging by the "U" in the poem's title, I'm guessing it was Prince.

On the bright side, I guess she'll be more than ready for a modern liberal arts education when she gets to college.

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