Friday, October 19, 2007

How should I have broached the subject?

On Wednesday I was taking an afternoon registration (form class) with year 11s at Kidbrooke when the Head of Year, Mr Longhurst walked in. He told me (in confidence) that when the register was marked he wanted me to “send all the black boys down to the hall”.

A little surprised by his apparent lack of political correctness, I didn’t ask any questions, but just said OK. Still, I didn’t quite know how I was going to broach the subject with the black kids, one of whom earlier that day was sporting a black LA-style bandanna.

So I thought about it for a while, and decided the short and sharp approach (“All black boys down to the hall”) was probably not the wisest. Fortunately, all four of the black boys were sitting together, so I sauntered up and asked, “Do you guys know you have to go to the hall after this?”

“What, the whole class?”

“No. Just you.”

“Just us? Who said?”

“Mr Longhurst told me. Just you four.”

“Why?”

“I’m not sure. But it’s just you four”

Success! All of the black boys, bar one, went down to the hall. The fourth refused, and there wasn’t really much I could do about that. But, as Meatloaf says, three out of four ain’t bad.

Feeling pretty pleased with myself for avoiding a potential incident, I carried on sitting there with the kids, waiting for the bell to ring.

About two minutes had passed when suddenly one of the boys burst back into the room, panting from the run.

“The hall *pant* … it’s full of black people!” he said.

Then there was a reaction.

“Oh my days!” the fourth boy responded, “This is wrong! So wrong!”

“How can they do this?” asked another.

Suddenly three or four more ‘black’ people popped out of the woodwork. One was Asian, the rest were thoroughly white – all felt compelled to “help a brother out”, so promptly ran out of the room to the hall.

I couldn’t be happier with how that went, I thought to myself; the principal will be happy.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jurrian-san, Have you been sniffing paint again?

J&S said...

And what's *that* supposed to mean?

Helen | Pepperina Press said...

Clever end run, Jules.

I hate to be the person who says, "And then what happened?" but...

And then what happened? What went down in the hall?

Aaron Lewis said...

Have you been sniffing paint? What happened next?

I thought you were going to finish with a 'turns out he said to send all the boys BACK down to the hall..."

So what happened next. Tell me you didn't venture to find out and I'll knock the black off you.

Anonymous said...

That's such a relief. I thought I was going to be the first totally unsubtle and uncool one who asked 'and then what happened'. In fact I though that was uniquely my job - so many of you are becoming mothers.

Ben said...

Maybe Mr Longhurst wanted to hold a school wide meeting but because of an earlier freak gust of wind that took the hall roof off he was worried that only the "black" boys could attend as the sun was shining through so brightly that only their melanin levels were suitable for the veracity of the ultraviolet rays.

Maybe...

J&S said...

Thanks for the conjecture Ben, but no. Apparently, there was a bit of disturbance/rumour of gang related activity starting up again in the school's black community. So, they rounded them all up to have a chat.

When I left the school grounds yesterday there were six policemen hanging round. I'd love to sound like I'm doing it tough in a rough school, but it's really not that bad a place.

Sniffing paint. Indeed.

gerrod said...

I thought the "punchline" was going to be that he meant, "all the boys who belong to the Black House" (you know how you get divided into coloured houses in schools... ?)

Though I like Ben's suggestion, it seems much more logical that they would be selected due to their extra sun protective skin. Especially here in super bright sunny London.

Anonymous said...

Homer: "So, Mr Malloy, it seems that the cat has been caught by the very person who was trying to catch him."

Principal Skinner: "How ironic."