Lessenberry gets a lesson, a reader gets bent out of shape about Twisted Tavern, and more 


Teach him a lesson

In response to Jack Lessenberry's recent Politics & Prejudices column, one passionate reader, "Mama Grizzly," had this to say:

Lessenberry writes, "As a young charter school teacher once asked me, 'How do you teach a kid whose mother is a hooker, and he lives in the back seat of her car, and is always hungry?'"

If he shows up to school, then teach him the lesson!

I have lived in Detroit for the last 52 years, I attended Detroit Public Schools in elementary, middle, and high school and graduated, and I received a good education because I attended elementary school (which provides the foundation for all subsequent learning) in the 1960s, as in before the 1970s. The 1970s is when public education here in Detroit and in most urban areas (meaning black) was destroyed. In Detroit, this was accomplished via Arthur Jefferson, Detroit Public Schools' first black superintendent. Jefferson, at the behest of and pandering to the covert, backroom, subterranean socio-cultural, and economic politics of white racist conservatism, dismantled public education here. Jefferson's dysfunction, at work then in his day and at work now, operating largely on autopilot as a result of the devices and means employed by him, are still actively non-educating and mis-educating Detroit's youth today, as I write.

This entrenched racism and conservatism (stinginess) is an unfortunate mainstay of this Midwestern region, Michigan. This culture supports and maintains a sufficient number of misdirected educational officials and educators totally committed to upholding this trajectory of non-education that plagues this district. As I said in the beginning of my diatribe, I have lived in Detroit for the last 52 years. When I say Detroit, I mean "urban Detroit," "black Detroit," "neighborhood Detroit," "poor Detroit," "working Detroit," with a little sprinkling of "bourgeois Detroit" mixed in for flavor. I attended DPS from 1968-1980 and my children started attending in 1994 and still do currently. I can say with authority and with an insider's knowledge that these constant accounts of hungry children living in sewers and the like with thug menace criminal parents are of the same ilk as Ronald Reagan's fables of "Welfare Queens" and his infamous and ubiquitous use of "Willie Horton" to gas up his presidential campaign.

[Editor's note: That was actually George H.W. Bush.]

Most of Detroit's children are present in school every day, fed, groomed, and ready to learn. I remember as a child and I can see now as a parent that the children who live in the dire circumstances, such as the one you alluded to or referenced, are few and far between and these children always stick out like sore thumbs, metaphorically speaking, and their plight is painfully obvious to all, including the children that they go to school with.

Mr. Lessenberry, come again!

The real issue or obstacle to learning and education in Detroit is guilt, shame, and embarrassment, so much so that everyone would rather carry on without correcting the problem because the TRUTH is too difficult to bear.

Making the grade

One of our readers is an avid lover of Twisted Tavern. Frustrated that our readers didn't vote the Ferndale pub the best of anything in our annual Best of Detroit polling, he left us a couple messages to voice his concerns.

[Editor's note: Michael Jackman did include a note about Twisted Tavern in our April 29 issue.]

When are you guys going to do a story on Twisted Tavern and Nightclub in Ferndale because right now I'm losing patience over here. Just give me a call back, OK? Thank you and goodbye.

Yeah, it's me again. Are you going to tell me when you're going to do a story on Twisted Tavern and Nightclub because I'm getting anxious over here. I just found out that Twisted Tavern and Nightclub did not make the grade and I want you guys to make up for it, all right? Call me back ASAP. Thank you and goodbye.

More from Andrea Lavigne

Co-founder of Metro Detroit Against Metro Times Andrea Lavigne wasn't pleased that we wrote a blog about an upcoming summit on sex trafficking in Michigan, but she was happy that we printed her letter about it.

Hi Alysa,

Thank you for giving voice to our concern of the sexual exploitation and commoditization of women in the Metro Times ads. Thank you for connecting "Women are the Niggers of the World" to the John Lennon and Yoko Ono song, "Woman is the Nigger of the World." That is exactly where I got that idea from. Their explanation of the song, before they performed it, on that same talk show, different video, was really good.

'Game of Loans'

One Wayne State University grad came up with a creative way to decorate her cap. We loved it so much we made it "Photo of the Day" last Friday. The inventive grad's mom spotted the picture and reached out to us.

That witty young lady is my daughter, Tawni Jenae Urso.

She is amazing and funny and I couldn't be prouder of her.

What makes her WSU graduation even sweeter is that she had a heart transplant at 11 and look at her now! Thanks for sharing her cap.

Tawni's mom, Brenda

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