Sunday, December 28, 2008


Today I randomly thought about any enigmatic questions that have crossed my mind on a daily basis. I pondered about the fundamental difference between being smart, intelligent, and intellectual. I personally think that each word is only used as a characteristic to describe a certain type of person. But I also think that each word also has a different meaning depending on the context. For whatever reason some people use these words interchangeably but I honestly think they shouldn't be.
For example I think the word intellectual is used to describe a prominent writer, thinker, or historical figure. This word is also primarily used in an academic setting. It has a prestigious distinction that sets it apart from any of the other adjectives that describe a keen person. I also think that intellect is an innate attribute. People are blessed with the gift of thinking differently than the rest of mankind. Intellectuals view the world through a different lens. Many intellectuals can be considered philosophers.
Smart I think is a word used to describe someone who is stellar as far as obtaining good grades in school. You can be smart and not be an intellectual. Although most people can obtain good grades if they work hard enough not everyone has the unique ability to articulate their thoughts through speech or on paper. An intellectual has a reached a higher plane of learning and has superseded the way most people think. When people use the word intellectual to characterize an individual it is implied that they are in the vanguard of society. But the word smart is a common way of saying somebody is sharp. A real world of an example of an intellectual would be Dr. Cornel West because he has a profound understanding of the way the world functions and is able to apply his theories to his field of study. Somebody who is smart is somebody who possesses the knowledge to win jeopardy but is not able to elaborate on certain issues.

Now the last word intelligent I think has a different connotation. When somebody is intelligent they can be knowledgeable about certain subjects and while having their own personal views on different topics. But I think when people call other people intelligent it is insinuated that they have acquired a lot of knowledge in their field or compiled many facts about different topics. At the end of the day these words all have seperate meanings.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Education is deemed the civil right battle of our era. There have been freedom fighters that have fought long and hard for the rights (not privileges) that we are able to benefit from today. Now I think that education is the civil rights battle of our time. We were created equal in society but there are many disparities in today's society more specifically between the urban communities and suburban communities. Malcolm X talks about classicm being one of the ills that plague our society. It is clearly evident in education. But is the poor education in inner cities systematic or does the blame fall upon the parents, the kid, and the community. Public school education in the inner city is despicable compared to public school education in the outskirts of the city. The only reason why the suburbs have a higher quality of education and more resources is because the property tax that pays for the education is higher. Does this mean that if you are poor you do not deserve a right to a decent if not excellent education??? A decent education is a right not a privilege. This is a big flaw in the educational infrastructure of the US.

My story is that I was blessed with parents that understood the value of education. They cared enough to put me in a Catholic school that was better than the surrounding schools in terms of discipline and small class size. These are two important components that public schools lack can make a big difference as far as teaching students efficiently. Not to say that if you attend a public school you cannot succeed, but the odds are lower if you are not presented with the right opportunities. I know plenty of kids that have done fine and graduated from public schools in the NYC. But these kids are unique cases because they had motivation, parents that supported them. There is also a selective population that was presented with unique opportunities such as being able to participate in gateway programs such as college bound. These programs that helped you with the college application process, also provided you with the resources to help you excel academically, provided guidance, and most importantly embedded the notion in your mind that you can succeed and that you are worth something!

We all know that there are a lot of negative influences that can tarnish the wholesome upbringing of a child in an lower income neighborhood. There are more temptations and crime in inner city neighborhoods, which should be attributed to society for marginalizing certain groups and not listening to a cries for help. Poverty breeds crime, so as long as certain neighborhoods remain poor there will always be crime. NO opportunities= more crime. The problem of crime which entangles much of our urban youth is another aspect of this multifaceted problem. The likelihood of being incarcerated is higher for a kid that lives in an urban community than one who lives either in a rural or suburban area. This tragic scenario could potentially derail them from obtaining a good education and succeeding in the real world. In a lower income neighborhood if a child's parents drop out of high school, chances are more than likely that their son will drop out of high school and the cycle will repeat itself. There are opportunities out there, but if people are not aware of the opportunities they will remain sedentary, while being oblivious to any opportunities. If someone does not break this cycle the legacy of ignorance will be perpetuated. The vicious cycle will remain the same.

As we see here several factors influence the downfall of lower income neighborhoods due to a lack of education. We need a solution to these multifaceted problems.

But the DOE (Department of Education) has not alloted the proper resources for the public school education system. So is the problem a lack of funding from the government or is it bureaucracy that doesn't allow the DOE to start programs that will ensure academic excellence both inside and outside the classroom. The inaccurate standardized tests are not a true measure of a student's knowledge or intelligence. The schools should get rid of them or change the format and focus on rejiggering the classroom curriculum. Educational inadequacies in lower income neighborhoods has led to poor test scores, low college attendance, and more severely higher incarceration rates. This problem needs to be fixed, but how?

Life as we know it

I just wanted to initiate this blog by saying that I am fortunate to have an outlet to pretty much let my thoughts flow freely without any concise structure or without being critiqued by any one. Please post about any issues you feel passionate about. Lets keep everything peaceful and respect each other's opinions. The reason for a blog is to dialogue, maintain a certain level of reciprocity, and view diffrent perspectives on the same issues or different issues for that matter, all of this being done in the most civil manner possible. With that said let the blogging begin!