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Old 03-16-2006, 11:49 AM   #1
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7 Year Old's "Black Power" Poem Riles School

Whatever-I am merely very impressed that a 7 year old can write like that.

NY Post

By DAVID ANDREATTA Education Reporter

March 13, 2006 -- YOUNGSTER'S BLACK-POWER POEM RILES SCHOOL
A 7-year-old prodigy unleashed a firestorm when she recited a poem she wrote comparing Christopher Columbus and Charles Darwin to "pirates" and "vampires" who robbed blacks of their identities and human rights.

Hundreds of parents of Peekskill middle- and high-school students received a recorded phone message last week apologizing for little Autum Ashante's poem, titled "White Nationalism Put U in Bondage."

"Black lands taken from your hands, by vampires with no remorse," the aspiring actress and poet wrote. "They took the gold, the wisdom and all the storytellers. They took the black women, with the black man weak. Made to watch as they changed the paradigm of our village.

"Yeah white nationalism is what put you in bondage. Pirates and vampires like Columbus, Morgan and Darwin."

Autum was invited to speak at the Westchester schools on Feb. 28 by Melvin Bolden, a music teacher at the middle school who advises the high school's Black Culture Club and is a member of the Peekskill City Council.

Autum, whose résumé includes several television appearances and performances at the Apollo Theater and the African Burial Ground in Manhattan, told The Post that her poem was meant to instill pride in black students and to encourage them to steer clear of violence.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with my poem. I was trying to tell them the straight-up truth," Autum said. "I'm trying to tell them not to fight because they're killing the brothers and sisters."

Autum, who is home-schooled in Mount Vernon and speaks several languages, prefaced her performance at the high school with a Black Panthers' pledge asking black youngsters to not harm one another.

It did not sit well with parents.

In a telephone interview with The Post, Bolden said Autum has been "unofficially" banned from performing in a district school again and that school officials would review transcripts of future speakers.

"It's unfortunate, because some teachers said they wanted this little girl to explain the things she said to their students, but some parents don't want her on school grounds," Bolden said.

"[The poem] might have been a little too aggressive for what the middle-school kids are ready to handle," Bolden added.

Kimberly Greene, a mother of children in the high school and middle school, said she was shocked when she got the recorded phone message.

"If there are people who are upset about what she said, the schools should have talked about and analyzed it rather than send a message to everyone saying this little girl was offensive," Greene said.

Autum's father, Batin Ashante, said he can't believe the fuss over his daughter's poem.

"She's a little girl who does poetry about real things. She doesn't do poetry about cotton candy," Ashante said. "She's a serious little person."
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Old 03-16-2006, 12:22 PM   #2
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Leave the kid alone. She has a right to express what she feels. I kind of like the poem, really deep meaning.
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Old 03-16-2006, 03:50 PM   #3
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Virgin ears! Protecteth them from the menacing 8 year old.
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Old 03-16-2006, 07:40 PM   #4
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They only want kids to write about sugar and spice. This little girl is pretty amazing if you ask me.
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Old 03-16-2006, 11:04 PM   #5
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holy cow! that is by far the most literate seven year-old i've ever heard. i'm an english major and i know i don't slip "paradigm" into my writings very often. i hope she's not discouraged from writing, because she obviously has a gift.
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Old 03-17-2006, 12:12 AM   #6
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Shhh, don't you know? We have to supress the young geniuses! They might "gasp" inspire people to look at things differently, beyond what society, the media, the goverment and schools spoon-feed us!




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Old 03-17-2006, 06:08 AM   #7
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Seven year old me would be pissed at her bagging Darwin.
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Old 03-17-2006, 09:01 AM   #8
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Anyone immediately think that she didn't actually write it? Maybe her parents did, comeon no 7 year old uses the word paradigm!!
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Old 03-17-2006, 09:22 AM   #9
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I think she wrote it. She's just an exceptionally gifted seven-year-old.
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Old 03-17-2006, 01:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by AussieU2fanman
Anyone immediately think that she didn't actually write it? Maybe her parents did, comeon no 7 year old uses the word paradigm!!
Possibly, but there are appearences on her resume that suggest she is some kind of prodigy.

And, she is homeschooled - take that for what its worth.

The substance of her speech, however, would garner a much different reaction here if the terms were changed.
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Old 03-17-2006, 02:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
The substance of her speech, however, would garner a much different reaction here if the terms were changed.


would that historical injustices be so easily interchangeable
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Old 03-17-2006, 06:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by AussieU2fanman
Anyone immediately think that she didn't actually write it? Maybe her parents did, comeon no 7 year old uses the word paradigm!!
One of my oldest son's first complete sentences involved the word "despicable"--and he's just an ordinary brighter-than-average kid, not a prodigious genius. Kids in general have minds like sponges for picking up new words, especially if they learn to read early and aren't baby-talked to as toddlers. Anyhow, as nb noted, the reference to this girl's linguistic abilities suggests that she is indeed a rare genius. That doesn't mean she's exceptionally wise or nuanced in her thinking--that comes with age, not IQ. So I'm not surprised her poetry is a bit heavy-handed ideologically, but I'm also not surprised that a child with those gifts and training could talk and write the way she does.
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