Short Quiz + Suggested Answers

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johnkarls
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Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:43 pm

Short Quiz + Suggested Answers

Post by johnkarls »

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Question 1

Would the spelling of the real name of "Precious" have been more appropriate if it had been "Clarice"? (NB: Hannibal Lecter's pronunciation of "Clarice" in "Silence of the Lambs" was "Clareece")

Suggested Answer 1

Yes, since Clareece "Precious" Jones was constantly being battered and sexually abused from early childhood by both parents and, at the age of 16, was already pregnant with her second child as a result of being constantly raped from an early age by her father.

Clareece was probably an intentional artistic touch because the book was written in 1993, only 2 years after "Silence of the Lambs", and the book lists itself as a novel (the PBS "All Things Considered" item on 11/6/2009 about "Precious" explains that the author, who taught remedial reading in Harlem from 1983-1993, encountered many young inner-city girls who were "locked out" of society by their illiteracy, physical appearance, class, color, etc.).

Question 2

The PBS "All Things Considered" item which accompanied the original proposal for our January topic (please see our bulletin board = http://www.ReadingLiberally-SaltLake.org) stated that the author was "initially worried that allowing her work to be adapted to film would reinforce negative stereotypes about the black community." Was her original worry well founded?

Suggested Answer 2

Yes. Both the book and the movie reinforce the negative stereotypes of low intelligence, laziness, welfare fraud, drug abuse, etc., etc.

Question 3

Another film about a high school African-American ("The Blind Side" starring Sandra Bullock) was released on Nov 20, two weeks after "Precious", and has been a surprise smash hit (as of Dec. 19th, $150.2 million US Box Office with ratings of "A" by 8,410 Yahoo Users but "C+" by 10 critics vs. $38.25 million for "Precious" with ratings of "A-minus" by 3,927 Yahoo Users and "A-minus" by 7 critics). Which film more accurately portrays inner-city conditions?

Suggested Answer 3

Inner-city conditions faced by the 180 "I Have A Dream" Projects in 51 American cities (tutoring and mentoring of inner-city kids -- adopting them in third grade and following them through H.S. graduation with a guarantee of college tuition) =

1. 99% of households headed by a single adult.
2. 90% of total households headed by a single adult who was a drug addict.
3. 75-80% of total households headed by a single-adult addict who turned over any receipts (welfare, etc.) to the pusher, so the kids had to steal just in order to eat.
4. Recruitment at the age of 7-8 as "runners" because the "pushers" don't want to be arrested themselves. The "runners" will make more than Wall Street lawyers until they are busted.
5. A society in which inner-city kids already "know" by the time they are 5 years old that they are not eligible to be anything (doctor, teacher, chef, fireman, etc.) because of the color of their skin.

"The Blind Side" portrays these conditions more accurately.

Question 4

Do both films portray the inner-city African-American teenager who is its focus as unintelligent? What do the "identical twin studies" consistently show with respect to the measured I.Q. of inner-city children?

Suggested Answer 4

Yes.

The "identical twin studies" focus on identical twins orphaned before their first birthday where one twin is raised in the inner city and the other twin is adopted by a suburban family. The studies consistently show that the twins adopted by the suburban families develop on average measured I.Q.'s equal to average suburban measured I.Q.'s, whereas the twins raised in the inner city only develop on average measured I.Q.'s equal to average inner-city measured I.Q.'s. Indeed, in his NY Times OpEd article for 4/15/2009, Nicholas Kristol reviews two new books that confirm the results of such studies.

Question 5

"The Blind Side" portrays the mother of the inner-city African-American teenager as indifferent to the welfare of her son, while "Precious" portrays the mother as hostile. Are these attitudes of inner-city mothers typical?

Suggested Answer 5

No. While it is true that 90% of inner-city households are headed by a single-adult drug addict (please see Q&A 3), the single-adult drug addict almost always wants the best for her children even though she is too dysfunctional to provide it.

Question 6

"The Blind Side" shows the "road to success" for the inner-city African-American teenager as being adopted by a suburban white family, while "Precious" shows the "road to success" as a long, hard, lonely slog that is grim and gritty. Is either a model that would be useful on a large scale?

Suggested Answer 6

No. There aren't enough suburban white families who are willing and the long, hard, lonely slog requires the heart of a lion, which is also in short supply!!!

Question 7

Why have the Rev. Al Sharpton and former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich been touring major American cities together this past fall?

Suggested Answer 7

They have joined U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan in his tour to promote his "Race to the Top" which provides financial incentives for states and school districts that remunerate teachers based on performance, foster charter schools, etc.

Question 8

Is Moses a central figure in Islam as well as Judaism and Christianity? Why?

Suggested Answer 8

Islam is built on Judaism and recognizes all of the Jewish prophets as central to Islam. Indeed, Islam recognizes Christ as one of the Jewish prophets to be revered.

Moses is mentioned in the Quran more frequently than any other prophet!!! Moses led the Children of Israel out of Egypt, parting the Red Sea to facilitate the escape according to all three religions. Also according to all three, he led the Israelites to the "Promised Land" but was unable to convince them to obey the command of God to attack and drive out of the "Promised Land" its then-current inhabitants; consequently, God condemned the Israelites to "wander in the wilderness" for 40 years before entering the "Promised Land."

Question 9

What would Moses say about the vision of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the Rev. Al Sharpton and Newt Gingrich?

Suggested Answer 9

We last visited this topic for our May 2009 meeting on "A Report Card for U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan" followed by a "Six Degrees of Separation" Call to Action = "The ONLY Way To Transform SINGLE-DIGIT Inner-City High School Graduation Rates to 65%-70%."

Eugene Lang was our modern-day Moses when he returned to Harlem P.S. 121 in 1981 and, on sudden inspiration, told the graduating sixth graders that he would pay their college tuition if they stayed in school. His original program and the follow-on 180 "I Have A Dream" Programs in 51 American cities demonstrated that the typically SINGLE-DIGIT inner-city H.S. graduation rates could be raised to 65%-70%.

Indeed, when "yours truly" served as the volunteer national treasurer for Gene's "I Have A Dream" foundation in the 1990's, the reason for the success and for the ease with which the success rate could be raised to 90% were documented!!! Having noticed that about 50% of the female IHAD participants became pregnant and, as a practical matter, did not continue their education, I asked a number of our local programs to interview their female IHAD participants to ascertain why (or not) they had become pregnant. For those that had, there was an overwhelming feeling that there was nobody in their lives who cared about them and they were going to create something that would love them. For those that hadn't become pregnant, there was someone in their lives who did care about them (typically one of our tutors or mentors) who told them they could make something out of themselves with the IHAD program and made clear that it would "break the heart" of the person who cared if the IHAD participant didn't do so.

When we realized this fact, we asked our local programs to focus especially on having tutors and mentors of female participants stress that it would “break the heart” of the tutor or mentor if the participant became pregnant and did not take advantage of the IHAD program – with dramatic results!!!

Both the Historical Moses and the Modern-Day Moses would say that President Obama and Secretary Duncan have been shown the "Promised Land" = tutors and mentors who function as surrogate parents!!!

And both the Historical Moses and the Modern-Day Moses would say that America is condemned to wander in the wilderness for at least another 40 years by the refusal of President Obama and Secretary Duncan to enter the Promised Land!!!

(They have no excuse - as a Chicago "community organizer" and the Chicago Public Schools CEO, respectively, they should have been aware of the dozen-plus IHAD programs in Chicago, in addition to which we have launched at least two "Six Degrees of Separation" Calls to Action on this subject.)

Question 10

What is needed so that America does not "wander in the wilderness" for another 40 years with a typically-SINGLE-DIGIT inner-city high-school graduation rate (if properly measured, which includes everyone who dropped out before high school, including those killed or incarcerated!!!)???

Suggested Answer 10

Secretary Duncan's "Race to the Top" ideas are nice but largely ineffectual and certainly non-essential. Indeed, a sizable percentage of our 180 IHAD Sponsors (the overwhelming majority of whom were CEO's of major American corporations) were so frustrated with the public schools that their inner-city kids would be forced to attend that they formed and funded their own charter schools for their participants. And each of their charter schools incorporated every idea in Secretary Duncan's "Race to the Top" program and many more.

But the IHAD programs whose participants attended public schools achieved the same results as those who were privileged to attend the charter schools. And Secretary Duncan claims only modest (rather than dramatic) results for the combined effect of all of his ideas.

There is no substitute for surrogate parents!!! (Please forgive the irony of "surrogate substitutes.")

In the wake of the Supreme Court's 6/28/2007 reversal of "Brown v. Board of Education" by deciding in "Parents v. Seattle School District No. 1" that race cannot be used as a criterion to achieve diversity, THE ONLY WAY TO PROVIDE SURROGATE PARENTS ON THE SCALE NEEDED IS OUR MAY 2009 "SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION" PROPOSAL FOR FEDERAL "MAGNET SCHOOLS," EACH OF WHOSE SUBURBAN STUDENTS WILL BE ADMITTED AND RETAINED ONLY IF THAT SURBURBAN STUDENT AND HER/HIS FAMILY ACT AS A SURROGATE FAMILY FOR ONE OF THE INNER-CITY STUDENTS.

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