Tag Archives: advice

Teacher, Tell Me about Life and Niggers

Teacher, Tell Me about Life and Niggers:

A classroom and email conversation with two Black-Male students


I recently received an email from a Black male student asking me to explain life to him. He’s an older student and this is the first time I’ve taught him at the school. This was a first time I’ve had a student reach out for such poignant information. The following day, before I could respond, he told me that he and a friend, also in my class, were riding the train the night before talking to each other, and they kept saying the word Nigga.

Somewhere through the journey they confessed having made an older woman cry due to their reckless public vulgarity. It was then that I found out why my student had reached out to me about life the evening before.

Both students told me inconsistent stories about the events as they happened in real time, jokingly placing blame on each other, in a denial-deflection-comedic-confession with each other.

In the moment, there was work to be done, so, I expressed sincere dissappointment in their actions and inability to manage their behavior in context, and specifically with regard to the elder, then redirected them to their work with intentions to reply in detail via email.

The following was my email response:


What’s up y’all.

Ok, my bad that it’s taken me so long to respond. I wanted to make sure I sent something thoughtful back. Here’s some feedback.

Nigga Response

It’s a dreadful word. It’s used to describe a group of people stolen from their land, and bred to be enslaved-captured people here in the American continents. The African people when I visited don’t call themselves nigga. The enslaved Africans were renamed Negroes by the European and other geographic people. It has been so ingrained that those African people have now taken to calling themselves Negroes instead of what they truly were and are. That’s why it’s a bad thing to hear so many Black/African people say Negroes/Nigga/Niqqa/Nicca. It’s a word of negativity and weakenss. The moment you stop calling yourself and your loved ones that word you start to get a stronger grip on the world, your history, and your role now in it. I hope that made sense. Here is a link to some phrases/meanings of negro throughout our recent history. I found this really useful for my own knowledge about 4 years ago.

I view y’all as so much more than niggers, niggas, you know all the spellings. In real life, I view myself as a young King. Everyday Paladin, the young King walks into the classroom. Everyday I’m greeted by young Warriors [Student 1] and [Student 2]. But as long as you’re calling yourself a nigger you’re never going to realize that. Nigger and King are opposites. Nigger and Warrior are opposites. Nigger and whatever you want to be known as are probably opposites.

The lady was probably mortified that y’all couldn’t edit the word out even if you tried. I get really sad too when I see kids out and they just can’t control it. We’ve been taught to say it. It has power over you. And that’s not good bro. But the good thing is it’s easy to stop. You just have to choose a different word to say. In college my frat brother started saying ninja, then we all started saying ninja. Then somewhere along the line I started saying homie. Now I even say bro. I say fam. I even say King. Choose something and roll with it. I try my absolute best not to call people that I love nigga.


Fashion –

Y’all ask me and I never really remember in the moment. I get a lot of stuff from thrift stores. My regular stuff is from Levis, American Apparel, Uniqlo, Urban Outfitters, stuff I see on Instagram, and sometimes the vendors on the streets. I normally check the sales. But will spend real money every once and a while for stuff that will last like jackets, bookbags, and boots. I rarely pay over 50 for a shirt or pants. Normally never more than 70 for shoes. Anything more prolly just isn’t worth it. Watch your money and save your money. A lot of my stuff is like 5 to 10 years old. When you buy stuff that fits well it lasts longer in my opinion.

Tutoring Time –

I’m available everyday during lunch:

  • Monday/Wednesday/Friday – [Location] – Lunch
  • Tuesday/Thursday – [Location] –  Lunch

I also try to stay after school for at least 20 to 30 minutes trying to cool down and wrap up loose ends of the day. If no one comes I bounce. I hustle outside of work and get tired if I’m not on the move. Trust y’all are always welcome to tutoring and after school-time. Just come, and we’ll find something to do.


Y’all are smart. Y’all run the yard and I love it. But I need you both to step it up. You both set the tone for everyone else. I need you guys to work with me & [Co-teacher] in the classroom. Drive the attention to the learning. You aren’t horrible, but you aren’t hustling either. I need you both grabbing these knowledge points. Right now and even if you don’t have me anymore. You both have talent and like a team I need you to push your squad, and me and [Co-teacher], the coaches. Push your talents on the basketball court and in my classroom please. I definitely am trying to bring you my A+ work and I need y’all to help me be great by doing the same please.

I’m long winded. Enjoy your weekends. Be safe.


The Purge – Time

SkoolHaze ThePurge Time Header

The Purge – Time

When assessing my life I often try to figure out what I’m doing with my time. For some reason I’ve always wondered what Oprah Winfrey was doing with her time to get to where she was in life. We see her on her show for an hour a day, but what is she doing outside of the tv show with her time that is making her so successful?

Productivity Freeway Exit Sign

I used to dream about having a talk show where I asked interesting people the real questions we all wanted to know the answers to. I would always envision myself interviewing people like Oprah, Tyra Banks, Russell Simmons, etc… These were very real conversations I would have with them in my mind. One of the questions would always sound something like this…

So Tyra… we see you on TV hosting America’s Next Top Model, you have your books, your endorsements, basically doing your mogul thing. But… what does your actual schedule look like behind all of that?

Lady O, Tyra, and Uncle Russ would always grab their chests and laugh at me for being a bit caught off guard. But they always followed up with a detailed schedule that they ran day-to-day to get whatever business done they needed to get done. I would always be shocked at how they had managed to find extra time in the day in ways that I had not thought about before!


My talk show is nowhere in the near future, so the celebrities are on hold for a minute. But, I will say that I’ve always assumed scholars and other entrepreneurs adopted similar schedules as the celebrities in my head. It must take a lot repetition or where-with-all to keep pumping out articles, compiling research, managing customers and investors needs simultaneously. So I reached out to Dr. Boyce Watkins, former Finance professor for Syracuse University turned Social Entreprenuer, to ask him what his schedule looked like. Again, quick response and I came away with more than I could have hoped for.

The Purge Time Conversation SkoolHaze

My schedule looks nothing like this. But I’m excited to see how I can try to plan things differently to sneak more minutes out of each day. I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately that say waking up a couple hours before you need to start getting ready for work is the way to go. I can also say that last year my preps (periods off when teaching) were used to rest and just mentally recover. NOW, I make sure I get as much work done as I can. Usually its planning for my 7th period Post Graduate Prep elective course, or making small changes/prep work for my English classes. Either way I get as much done while I’m in the school building as possible before I leave. Once I walk into my house, my body and mind are prone to shut down, and recently I’ve stopped trying to fight them.

What does your schedule look like? Would you say you use your time well enough to get to the level of success you expect for yourself?

Addition: One thing I really loved about Dr. Boyce’s message is that it figuratively gave me permission to say fuck it in my head to my friends and peers who question and perhaps even judge why I use my time the way I use my time. I’m not much of a partier – I never-ever have been. However, whether its my frat, my coworkers, my fam, my fellow grad students, whoever – sometimes I feel a bit accosted when asked why I don’t want to hang out or why I’m not doing what normal people do on weekends, etc… It was really difficult trying to validate to myself that spending time researching, writing, thinking, working was worth it when so many people I respected gave me the mental side-eye for being different. It’s still never easy to tell my frat – “No homie, I can’t go out tonight.” Now, I realize that I can use my time however I want without feeling bad for going against the grain.

Thanks again Dr. Boyce – you let me see that since I’m trying to accomplish something different than my peers my schedule will inevitably look different than their’s as well – and that’s ok.



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