James Giago Davies: Racism holds power over our young people

James Giago Davies. Photo from Native Sun News

Wounds that can never heal
The power racism holds over children
By James Giago Davies

There used to be a grade school just west of K-Mart in Rapid City, E.B. Bergquist elementary. Before it was torn down it was over 51 percent Lakota although in my day Lakota students comprised only a fraction of that total.

There was a Fifth Grade teacher, Mrs. Mullin, and in a better world this column would be about what a wonderful, caring mentor she was had there not also been a Sixth Grade teacher named Mrs. Hilmer.

Funny thing was Mrs. Hilmer liked me, she’d call me “my Jimothy.” I liked her back, had no idea she was a bad teacher. Most adults have a poor reading of their reality let alone 11-year-old boys, so I never realized I was devolving into a bad student. I had been an excellent student for Mrs. Mullin the year before. I would stay after school to keep her company while she caught up on her paper work. She’d let me cover her black board with drawings in colored chalk, and she’d tell me I was going to be a famous artist someday.

I expected the same relationship with Mrs. Hilmer, but after only a few weeks in Sixth Grade she moved my desk right up beside her own. At the time I didn’t realize my behavior was disruptive, that she was struggling to keep me in check. Children act out their stress, and she finally pulled me into the hallway, slapped my glasses off my face, shook me by the arm and said, “Finally, one of you comes along with some brains and this is how you act!”

Read the rest of the story on the all new Native Sun News website: Wounds that can never heal

(James Giago Davies can be reached at skindiesel@msn.com)

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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