from “Problems of Language in a Democratic State” by June Jordan

I believe Americans have wanted their sons and daughters to write just well enough to fill out a job application. Americans have wanted their children to think just well enough to hold that job. Not too many people have wanted to start trouble, or get into it.

So I would say that our schools have served most of us extremely well. We have silenced or eliminated minority children. We have pacified white children into barely competent imitations of their fear-ridden parents.

But now there are no jobs and, consequently, somebody needs to write aggressive news editorials. Somebody needs to write aggressive new statements of social design and demand. More and more Americans finally want to hear new sentences, new ideas, to articulate this unprecedented, and painful, majority situation. But is there anybody new around the house? Someone who can think and organize a solution to this loss of privilege, this loss of power?

I’ve started reading essays from June Jordan’s Some of Us Did Not Die in the morning. This essay in particular, written in the 80s, is strikingly resonant with where we find ourselves as a country now.


2 responses to “from “Problems of Language in a Democratic State” by June Jordan

  1. Thanks for sharing this Saeed. I’m adding it to my collection of books to read. Meanwhile, I think of you often – especially as I consider and reconsider the ways get my mental/emotional energy roaring in the mornings. I remember you used to get up and work on your poetry *before work.* And now you’re reading fighting words in the morning. I love these ideas. I am slowly shifting my schedule to incorporate such practices. Thanks again for sharing personal victory strategies. 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on LadyBuddha Speaks and commented:
    Speaking of personal victory strategies – I love this idea of starting the morning reading fiery prose. Reading Black feminist thought makes me feel strong and courageous. I’m excited to experience June’s work for myself.

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