Addendum: Just a thought

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Fri Jul 12 13:54:44 MDT 2002


When I was in high school I had this history teacher named Ray Williams. He
was a Black man married to a white woman (in the early sixties) who had been
a member of the C.P. and had been a social worker with gangs prior to
becoming a teacher.

After I was kicked out of the whole Seatttle School system for puncing out a
vice-principal who truly deserved it, I met with Ray as I was about to go
into the Army (I had just turned seventeen in 1963). He tried to dissuade me
from going in, and when he couldn't he gave me a copy of Arnold Rose's "The
Negro in America" a condensation of Gunnar Myrdal's "An American Dilemma".
His last words to me, I will never forget:

"As you go through life, please consider five basic questions; when you
answer the first three you will be led to the last two: 1) Who are the
rulers?; 2) Who are the ruled?; 3) In which class am I?; then, 4) How do the
rulers rule?; 5) How do we take the rule away from those rulers?"

His influence was not enough to stop me from going into the Army; but later,
as I saw more and more, his questions came back time and again to haunt me
and were instrumental in my own radicalization while still in the Army. If
he hadn't been a real teacher and had not taken the time to pose those
questions to a young "punk" who had been declared an incorrigible delinquent
and safety threat to the school system, who knows...

For those privileged to teach, especially those who are
self-described/professed radicals, being effective and not being like all
those bad teachers one had to endure is itself a revolutionary act--or can
be.

Jim C


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