Transcript for Excerpt for Episode 14 Excerpt

NASW Social Work Talks Podcast

Brenda Wade:


So all three books have different titles. The first one is 'Charm Town.' The second one is 'Charm Town Codes.' The third one will be 'Charm Town Revelations.'

'Charm Town Codes,' if you notice on the cover, there is a code on here. It's 20242, and it is a zip code. It's the story about the kids who come from that zip code, and how they basically get a raw deal on their education because of the community in which they come from.

This is excerpt from book two, 'Charm Town Codes,' and it is a scene where Hamilton Banks meets with his student mentees, and he is asking them, tell me what it is like to be you, to be young black males in school in America.

[excerpt begins]

"This is real talk, Mr. Hamilton, and I'm going to keep it 100 with you. We don't have no place to go. We black boys in the hood. It don't really matter if you really lived in the hood or not. As long as you were black, they see us all as black boys in the ghetto, or the jets, where I come from.

We know, and you know, don't nobody really give a darn about us. They see us killing ourselves every day. And besides, a few people like you? Don't nobody come to see what's going on, except those nosy news people who ask us what happened when somebody gets killed. I think they just want to make us look crazy, because if they really cared about what happened, wouldn't they bringing somebody to help us?I'm just saying, they know we dying out here on these streets, or getting locked up every day by these crazy cops, or these crazy lawyers and racist judges. And ain't nobody ever came to help us, and ain't nobody coming to help us.

You asked us what it's like for us? Well, it's hell on earth most days. You think if I went downtown to apply for a job at one of those fancy stores, and stood next to one of those blonde or brown haired white boys from over Roland Park, or that [Gailman 00:01:52] School, that I might actually get the job over them?

Why do we sell drugs? I mean it's not like we don't know no better, like we don't know what will probably happen. We see people get kids killed and locked down all the time. And any kid that tell you it ain't going to happen to them is straight lying. We all know the deal with the deal, but what else do we have? I just can't walk my black self into a fancy store, or walk around on one of those college campuses around here without somebody stopping me like I don't belong.

You think they treat white boys like that? When I was dealing, I didn't care that I might get yanked or killed, as the white people sometimes call it. And the times I went down to baby bookings, I was kind of glad. I could get some rest, because the game is exhausting. It's exhausting staying up all night protecting your corner, your block, whatever, and then making sure no one is dipping into your stash or your cash, and looking over your shoulder every time you walk out the crib, trying to make sure your momma doesn't find out when you know she already knows, trying to keep your girl happy so she stay with you, and then finally think about coming to school.

So, I was happy when I got cuffed. A couple of times, I did something on purpose just to get arrested. And the times that the cops let me go, I was real pissed that I had to pretend some more back out on the streets, when all I wanted to do was to go to sleep and forget about my life. At least when you sleep, you don't have to be on guard and look over your shoulder."