“Oh you’re from the Bronx, how is it up there”. I was born and raised in the Bronx, a borough where you are looked down upon once you mention that you are “from the Bronx”. Truth be told, I always thought of my borough as a lovely place, home to the botanical garden, the Yankee stadium and even hailed as the boogie down or home of hip hop but I had grown up hearing only the lousy truths of the Bronx had especially when compared to the other boroughs an apparent downside was education I had always heard about the difference from my eldest sister, cousins and friends alike we weren’t taught like they were taught we don’t have the resources or books that they had but we were missing one of the more important things for education, “teachers”we saw ourselves in.
All throughout my years of schooling, not once was I taught by someone whom I could relate to whether it be someone I looked like or someone with a similar life to me and while I never thought much of it yet looking back this subconsciously helped fuel my disinterest in things I was once interested in such as reading and writing. As a child i would ofttimes turn on the TV and just flip through channels reading all the names that came up and in school I would be ecstatic whenever a book sale came.I loved reading and was praised for knowing an abundant amount of words Reading was an integral part of my life as a kid but that all changed as I got older and got more of the same. my teachers throughout Kindergarten to 5th grade all encouraged me to read and keep on going but it all fell flat. Not a single one was familiar they didn’t look like me act like me or even talk like me, i couldn’t see myself in any of these teachers. I’ve seen too many student’s dropout because they can’t find a “role model” or just someone in their life who will give advice to can’t relate to someone in school whether it be a teacher, student or other members of staff.
My grandfather and father, two men that I act a lot like or at least i’m told who haven’t had proper education would preach to me the importance of books and education time and time again, but each time their words rang louder than any bell id ever heard and louder than any of my other teachers. It wasn’t because we were literally related but more so because I could see myself in these men. I spoke like them and acted like them, their words struck a chord that no other teachers did they reinvigorated me to continue with education and to read more and write more. They helped me see that reading is a bridge of knowledge that goes into many subjects such as history. Through reading I found out about my own heritage and about the Bronx giving me a sense of pride i could never have exuded before. I was born lucky to have these two figures in my life who don’t read as well as i do, hell I read my fathers letters and mail for him though they both upheld reading and books as the key as a way out of the “dungeon”. Violence, brutality is only shown when you do not have access to knowledge and aren’t given the right tools to try and get it.