Akron School Mom Case: A “White Horse Moment”
My heart sank when I read about the Akron, Ohio mother sentenced to 10 days in jail and placed on three years probation for the crime of falsifying residency records so that her two children could attend school in the neighboring Copley Township/City of Fairlawn district.
This is a bad, terrible result for a mother who appears to have been driven by a single purpose — to provide her children a good education that will empower them to be competitive in the 21st century.
Much of the anger about this case in the blogosphere focuses on the obvious culprit, the school district. The combined population demographics of Copley and Fairlawn make them easy targets.
My position is different. While I have no interest in defending the school district, legal system or judge in this matter, I do wish to raise a much broader point for our comprehension and consideration. I believe this is an education-based, “White Horse Moment” for Black Americans.
I’m sure you’re wondering what in the world is a “White Horse Moment?”
My use of this term dates back a few years to a discussion I had with my mother. Like most, I believe my mother is a wonderful person. Mrs. Holifield is a mature, lifelong and well-settled Christian, who is also immovably grounded in African-centered consciousness. And for her, there is no tension between the two. It is simply who she is.
When discussing a very difficult problem I was enduring — for which I was not responsible for creating — and resolution of which seemed to require significant outside assistance. At my wits end, in exasperation, I said to my mother, “Man, oh man, I really need someone on a white horse to come and save the day.” Without missing a beat, she quipped, “Johnny, I’ve got news for you, the person who’s coming on a white horse is coming to tell you that no one’s coming to your rescue.”
I paused, thought for a second, chuckled a bit, then said with recognition and acceptance, “Yeah mama, you’re right. No one’s coming to my rescue.”
That, my friends, is a “White Horse Moment.”
It is an instance of perfect clarity, when you realize that that life is a beautiful thing, but under many circumstances, it is neither fair nor equitable. You begin to embrace fully that while you may not have been the cause of your current predicament, you bear the complete responsibility for getting yourself out of that predicament.
This is the broader point I wish to make about this case. I believe that this is an education-based “White Horse Moment” for Black Americans.
No thinking person believes that we are solely liable for our education predicament. However, we are accountable for righting our education ship, as no one is coming to our rescue.
As an overarching theme, I suggest “Embrace 7760,” which refers to the education time-equation (8760 hours in a year – 1000 hours of school = 7760 hours at home and in the community).
“Embrace 7760” requires that individuals, families, churches and communities embrace, outright own, and make better use of the 7760 hours a year our children are not in school. More productive use of that time will surely lead to better results in school.
Of course, for “Embrace 7760” to work, we must be afforded full access to the complete arsenal of public and private sector resources that exist throughout society, including financial and intellectual, and innovatively deploy those resources to achieve our desired ends.
As closing counsel … in our effort to right our education ship, I stress that we must follow the letter of the law.
Not only is no one coming to save us from our education predicament, these days, no one’s coming to bail us out of jail, either.
— Johnathan Holifield, Trim Tabber