Brian is an African American teenager who shares his frustration with the required text of his high school. When asked to reflect on the connection that he has with these men of color he doesn’t see the connection. He begins to question why all of the black men they study died horrible deaths. Why they aren’t allowed to say the “n” word in school but the books they read have it plastered all over it. Why there are no black men that they study that weren’t massacred for having a voice and using it. Why he doesn’t get to read about black men like his father who is present, working, a positive role model for him and his friends, but he is not in the books, plays, history books or required reading. The positive things that his father does for him and with him, the time they spend together, the things he teaches him about being a man, and the love that he gives from a living, breathing, African American man. It is a powerful, personal and heartfelt conversation that he has with the audience and a reflection on what young black boys see and how some of them feel. How he responds to his white classmates that are surprised by his father’s presence in his live, it saddens him, but he knows the ignorance they speak is in response to the reality that the world has set on the African American father. Brian’s story is one that needs to be heard so that he can be validated in the world he is living in and the social norms that he is fighting daily.
Male-I Don't See Me
(Brian, an African American teenager stands reading a book. He looks irritated, taking a few deep breaths and laughing at what becomes the ironic situation that he finds himself in. He flips a few pages then closes the book and addresses the audience. Showing the audience the book.)
This is how my school year started, required reading “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” If there is one thing this book does not do for me it’s take me on an adventure. (Laughs)At least not one that I would want to go on. Did you know that they use the N-word 219 times? We get a detention if we say it once but we can read it 219 times in a book that’s required and it’s okay. (Beat)Interesting, the justification is something about the educational value of the book. I raised my hand and said, “There aren’t any other books worth reading that don’t have that word?” My classmates laughed a little bit then they realized how serious I was. Up next on the list is “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I guess we can’t win for loosing. I just finished the part where Tom is killed. Of course Tom doesn't make it to the end of the book. "To Kill a Mocking Bird" used the N- word 48 times.My teacher assigns us these books to read and the question that we must answer on our essay is always the same, “When reflecting on the book, what in the book do you see is a reflection of yourself? How do you see your reflection living in this text?" (He looks at the book for a moment then tosses it down.)I don't!