This So-Called Post-Post-Racial Life

April 17, 2009

Old School Friday: Sounds of Silence…and Promise

Filed under: Old School Friday — Tags: , , , — pprscribe @ 9:41 am

I am so relieved that today’s theme for Old School Friday leaves the choice up to us bloggers. I would like to dedicate my selections today to the memory of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover.

Had he not taken his life, today his mother would be waking him up with a welcome to his last year of childhood before his teen years. He probably would have had a nice breakfast, maybe one last look at the mail to see if any other relatives had sent him a birthday card with a five or ten dollar bill in it. His mother would have told him the embarrassing story, for the umpteenth time, about how he used to cross his eyes when he was a baby and giggle so hard he passed gas. Or about how he used to hate wearing a diaper as a toddler and once streaked through the living room, bare-bottomed and free, where Pastor and several other church members were seated. He would have rushed at the last minute to locate his math book or his science homework, and been ushered back into the bathroom to wash a bit of toothpaste from the side of his chin. He would have left his house with a big smile on his face.

But then, likely even on the anniversary of his birth, he would have gone to the New Leadership Charter School and would have once again been taunted for not conforming to other kids’ strict narrow ideas about what a 12-year-old Black boy should look like and be like.

Besides what would have been Carl’s 12 birthday, today is the 13th Annual National Day of Silence:

The National Day of Silence brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Each year the event has grown, now with hundreds of thousands of students coming together to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior.

day_of_silenceMany bloggers have been following the story of this young man. I know I am missing many. (I’ll update as I come across more.) But a few posts I have seen:


“To Be Young, Gifted and Black” by Nina Simone

“Bridge Over troubled Water” by Aretha Franklin

“God Bless the Child” by Billie Holiday

***As always, a big thank you to OSF hostesses, Marvalus at Opinionated Black Woman and MrsGrapevine.***



  1. My heart breaks for this baby.
    Your choices are on point especially “God Bless The Child”.

    Comment by regina — April 17, 2009 @ 11:25 am

  2. Such a beautiful post and the song choices you made were perfect – especially “God Bless The Child”. Nothing can tear at your heart like Billie’s voice.

    Happy OSF and kudos to you for posting this story.

    Comment by popartdivatv — April 17, 2009 @ 1:42 pm

  3. Thanks for dropping by, Regina and Pop Art Diva. It didn’t occur to me until after I posted that all of my selections today were by women. Guess I was feeling particularly maternal towards this child.

    Have a great weekend!

    Comment by pprscribe — April 17, 2009 @ 8:34 pm

  4. A beautiful post…my heart aches for this baby and his mother.

    I haven’t posted about this because everytime I start to, I start crying. But I feel like I have to, and I will, even if it takes me awhile to do so.

    Comment by Marvalus — April 18, 2009 @ 12:08 am

  5. Hi there!

    Thanks so much for this!

    Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

    Comment by BlackWomenBlowTheTrumpet — April 18, 2009 @ 4:33 pm

  6. A beautiful dedication with appropriate OSF choices. Thank you. Also, you’ve been awarded the Noblesse Oblige Award at WSATA.

    Comment by Verite Parlant — April 18, 2009 @ 9:51 pm

  7. Wow, Verite! Thanks so much–for this specifically, and for all of your encouragement of my new blogging venture.
    Lisa, you are quite welcome!
    I agree about the heartache of this, Marvalus–and also that feeling of wanting to write but feeling overwhelmed with sadness. I look forward to reading your thoughts if you do decide to post on it.

    Comment by pprscribe — April 19, 2009 @ 5:18 pm

  8. I haven’t been able to write about this either, but probably should. I have a son (16 now, and African American) who was called gay by his male classmates in 5th/6th grade. I look at my son, and it breaks my heart that Carl Joseph was suffering to the point that he couldn’t see a different future, he never got the chance to get past this part. That is heartbreaking. And the adults in his school did not protect him.

    Comment by more cowbell — April 22, 2009 @ 1:38 pm

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