Today we finished up reading the novel Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals and we really got started with our class discussion on the novel and the questions that it presents. But first, the students each took a moment to share their initial reaction to the book and to the question we will be explore through this unit: was integration a failure? The journal entries were required to be at least one paragraph. Here are a couple of journal examples that students wanted to share.
I’m still kinda in shock that this book is actually true. I mean I’ve heard of bullying and stuff, but throwing acid at a persons eyeballs, that’s a little extreme. Plus the teachers didn’t even do anything, didn’t they care about those kids too? If all of that really happened, I want to meet the guys who did all that mean stuff cause I definitely have some questions for them. I mean why would they even do that? Because they were black? That just doesn’t make any sense to me. I really liked this book but all the stuff they went through. That’s just wrong.
After reading this book, I guess I think that integration was a success. I mean I go to school with some black kids and some Hispanic kids and nobody throws acid at their eyeballs. Plus, teachers won’t let you be mean to them. It doesn’t matter who you are bullying anymore, you are going to get in trouble. Plus, there are more black and Hispanic kids than there are white kids so they couldn’t do much even if they wanted to.
This book made me really mad. Who did those white kids think they were anyway? You can’t just go around hating on people because they ain’t the same color as you. I know it happens now but not like that. School is the safe place, you don’t take no crap here like you would on the streets. And the teachers would call you out in a heartbeat if you even tried to pick on someone. I guess we have came a long way since we have schools like we do. No matter what, teachers stick up for students and all the things that them kids did in the book to Melba and her friends. That stuff won’t fly here.
How could they even do that to those kids? I think it’s pretty messed up. Especially cause it’s in a school. Now I could understand if this stuff was on the streets or something because seriously, that stuff happens. But at school, them white kids had nerve. That stuff don’t work here. Not that you could get the acid in here to start with. Mr. Poteat would be on you like white on rice and that ain’t no joke. I would say that we have succeeded with segregation since they don't treat black kids like that anymore. But since I'm not black, I guess I can't really say much about it (Cashin). I think we're pretty much on an equal playing field but I might feel differently if I wasn't white.