Thursday, August 27, 2009



In both classes students posted their narratives, paraphrases/summaries and other responses to the James Baldwin essay, Autobiographical Notes (which is on-line...I'll locate the link and post it later). I told students this morning that if, in reading SPHE, you want to revise your paraphrase before posting, post both drafts.

I do not have anymore copies of SPHE pp. 330.... The book is on reserve in the college library (L-bldg. lower level). Do the assignments there and bring to class Monday, August 29, or buy the book, or copy the pages from the book.


Homework for English 201 8-9 AM

Read a newspaper article about the Gulf Region--4 years post-Katrina (8/29/2005). Paraphrase (free or literal) 3-4 paragraphs of the article. Bring the article and your paraphrase to class Monday, August 29, 2009.


Freewrites from "The Message"

Please post your responses to Felecia Pride's "Not Enough" and "Express Yourself" (The Message). Respond to a student's (1) response (one or both).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Homework for English 201 1-3

Read the SPHE pages 330-347. Complete all the exercises by Monday, August 31, 2009. If you have any questions post them here and you can tap into the collective knowledge of your peers--so peers if you know the answer, respond. Dominique and I will also respond.


Express Yourself Freewrite

Post your response to Felicia Pride's "Express Yourself," here.


Autobiographical Notes Cyber Assignment2

Post your homework, your Autobiographical Notes, based on that of James Baldwin here. You should also post your group paraphrase. There should be one post per group. List the names of the group and your group name in the signature or heading.

Respond to each other's writing: content and style.


First Cyber Assignment

Good afternoon students!

Today we will familiarize ourselves with the class blog, get personal email addresses (if we don't already have one) and create a personal blog to store classwork this semester. This will help when you get ready to create your portfolio.

August 29, 2009 is the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the largest disaster to hit our nation this century. People are still spread out throughout the Diaspora, many in the San Francisco Bay Area. Each student will get a poem, copied from a book I helped develop called: Words Upon the Waters: A Poetic Response to Hurricane Katrina. Visit to see photos from our benefit last year for hurricane survivors in New Orleans and Mississippi.

Post your responses to the poem you received here. Watch the Kanye West video on YouTube. Interview: Song:

If you have headphones, use them.

Here are the lyrics:
George Bush Don't Like Black People

By Legendary K.O.

I ain't saying he's a goldigger,

but he ain't messing with no broke niggas
I ain't saying he a goldigger,

but he ain't messing with no broke niggas

George Bush don't like black people
George Bush don't like black people
George Bush don't like black people
George Bush don't like black people

Hurricane came through, fucked us up round here
Government acting like it's bad luck down here
All I know is that you better bring some trucks round here
Wonder why I got my middle finger up round here

People lives on the line you declining to help
Since you taking so much time we surviving ourself
Just me and my pets, and my kids, and my spouse, trapped
In my own house looking for a way out (pause)

Five days in this motherfucking attic
Can't use the cellphone I keep getting static
Dying 'cause they lying instead of telling us the truth
Other day the helicopters got my neighbors off the roof (off the roof)

Screwed 'cause they say they coming back for us too
That was three days ago, I don't see no rescue
See a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do
Since God made the path that I'm trying to walk through

Swam to the store, tryin' to look for food
Corner store's kinda flooded so I broke my way through
I got what I could but before I got through
News say the police shot a black man trying to loot

(Who!?) Don't like black people
George Bush don't like black people
George Bush don't like black people
George Bush don't like 'em

I ain't saying he a goldigger,

but he ain't fucking with no broke niggas
I ain't saying he a goldigger,

but he ain't checking for no broke niggas

George Bush don't like black people
George Bush don't like black people
George Bush don't like black people
George Bush don't like black people

Five damn days, five long days
And at the end of the fifth he walking in like "Hey!"
Chilling on his vacation sitting patiently
Them black folks gotta hope, gotta wait and see

If FEMA really comes through in an emergency
But nobody seem to have a sense of urgency
Now the mayor's been reduced to crying
I guess Bush said, "Nigga's been used to dying!"

He said, "I know it looks bad, just have to wait"
Forgetting folks who too broke to evacuate
Niggas starving and they dying of thirst
I bet he had to go and check on them refineries first

Making a killing off the price of gas
He would have been up in Conneticut twice as fast
After all that we've been through nothing's changed
You can call Red Cross but the fact remains that...

George Bush ain't a goldigger,

but he ain't fucking with no broke niggas
George Bush ain't a goldigger,

but he ain't fucking with no broke niggas

Come down Bush, c'mon come down
Come down Bush, c'mon come down
Come down Bush, c'mon come down
Come down Bush, c'mon come down

George Bush ain't a goldigger (Hmmn)
George Bush don't like black people
George Bush don't like black people
George Bush don't like black people

Come down George, c'mon come down
Come down George, c'mon come down
Come down George, c'mon come down
Come down George, c'mon come down

(Fade out)



Letter of Introduction

August 24, 2009

Dear Students:

I hope your summer was fun and exciting and that you are prepared for classes. I’m sure, especially if you attended summer school, that this semester came sooner than anticipated. Even though we give human attributes to time, like “time runs, flies, and is fleeting,” time actually moves the same or not at all—maybe we’re the ones who are moving, our cosmic body of water this thing called time—invisible with visible consequences—lines, aches, sadness.

However we define this illusive phenomena—time, we need to make the most of our brief flash in the universe or on this planet earth. Given the finite nature of life, if we don’t take advantage of the time—I am intentionally redundant, to refine the talents we have been given or developed to get from here to yonder we might look up years later, older but no wiser.

Obviously, your presence in this classroom means you respect the passage of time and have decided to actively engage this process by not passively letting it pass you by. Your presence, says to me that you want to be an active not passive observer in this phenomena—aging, developing, growing, deteriorating. Each moment, we die a little, so this writing, this active engaging of oneself in one’s life is like planting a stake on the moon, a stake that says, I am here, I was here, and I will be here, even after I am no longer visible.

Life is a gift; we don’t want to waste it. That said, you might be here under duress. Sometimes life circumstances dictate that we try new activities, change old ways and develop more positive habits. Reflection, in the form of reading and writing is one of the most productive ways to spend one’s time, especially when one is trying to figure out what one plans to do with this finite time each of us has been given.

I am recovering from an injury. I was riding my bike down San Leandro Street in Oakland, near Seminary. I was headed back home from the Bay Trail at Zone Way and 66th Street, I was feeling great having climbed steep Hegenberger Blvd., sailed by BART without getting off my bike. The sun was going down, visibility wasn’t great, but I was trying to avoid the uneven sidewalk, going around municipal obstacles, utility poles until I find myself suddenly on the ground—BAM! My head hits the pavement, my bike is on top of me, and after I check to make sure there is nothing broken and get up, check my bike, my hand—right hand is killing me. I can barely stand it, it hurts so badly.

Do I call my daughter to come get me? Where are the police I just saw at the Coliseum BART just moments before? Where is the Good Samaritan, who with concern asks me if I’m okay?

I get on my bike and try to ride home. Yes, I must have been in shock, because the pain in my hand tells me to get off the bike and walk. Unlike other times I’ve fallen, my gloves protected my hands and there were no cuts—just a bad bruise on my hand—it was purple, and a bruise where my helmet hit the pavement. This was July 13. I was going camping that weekend at Oakland Feather River Camp with my granddaughter July 18-24, so I went to the hospital the following day to get an x-ray—no broken bones. Yet, over a month later I am still in pain. I can’t open jars, turn a key in the ignition, steer the car once I am in it, parallel park, or use the computer for extended periods.

We have fun at camp, but perhaps I should have stayed home? I put ice on my hand while there along with a homeopathic remedy, wear my brace and don’t use it.

Yes, it isn’t easy when my hands, right hand in particular, are how I make a living. So I cancel the rest of my summer vacation—I was returning to camp the following week, but can’t navigate the mountainous road alone to Plumus National Forest. I rest my hand and rest it and rest it. Last week, I return to the doctor for a follow-up the day before we’re back on campus. She gives me a referral to physical therapy, but I can’t get an appointment until Friday, August 28 I find out when I call last week.

Well, before my 10 minutes on the computer are up let me tell you a bit about this semester and what you can expect:

The theme is hip hop culture in its purest form, by this I mean hip hop from its inception or the roots of the genre or musical form. In a few classes—I teach four classes, three preps: English 201, English 1A and English 1B, we explore the life of Tupac Shakur, a controversial, charismatic and creative architect in this movement. We will read books about him, reflect on him in our research and look for other artists who are also using their craft to better society—

Hip hop culture has influenced youth globally, and in my English 1B we will reflect on this global movement via the various aesthetic forms of expression: poetry, music, dance, theatre, spirituality, politics, visual arts, and media such as photography and journalism.

Though you might find the class fun, or entertaining, we are scholars, so the music and the videos, even the fieldtrips to concerts, all have a written component—the discourse is documented in what is called essays—short 250 word reflections and longer pieces depending on the assignment. We will have some assignments due on-line on the class blog called cyber-assignments and others will be due in class.

This is a draft syllabus until I learn how to use Dragon Naturally Speaking. My office is L-236, (510) 748-2131. The email address I check is Office hours will probably be on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the morning (TBA) and perhaps Wednesday after 3 PM. I am not on campus on Fridays. I am hiring an aide who will be available to help with Stewart Pidd assignments and other work.

We will meet in a classroom in the A-bldg. with technology on Thursdays for the M-Th, T/Th classes and on Wednesdays with the MW classes. More on this later.

I highly recommend SPHE. It is required for English 201 and English 1A. Deceptively simple, the book is useful for all college writing levels as a refresher and also as an introduction to essay writing for college. SPHE gives students the language to talk about their writing and the skills to intentionally produce competent essays.

Students analyze the character Stewart Pidd’s essays and grade his essays by critiquing this work in essays they compose. The authors tell students how to write these essays and the assignments are prescriptive. Many essays are written in class and the exercises are also run on class. The book grows more complex as skills increase. I received good feedback on the text from some of my more accomplished writers in English 1A last year. Some students said that they learned a lot about writing that they hadn’t know before.

Keep all of your work, this is a portfolio based class. More on this later.

Fall 2009 Sabir English Composition
I have four classes, English 1A, two sections of English 201 A/B and English 1B.

English 201 A Required Texts
43502 Lec 08:00-08:50 MTWTh Sabir C 213
43505 Lec 01:00-02:50 PM MW Sabir A 200
English 201B
43510 Lec 08:00-08:50 MTWTh Sabir C 213
43513 Lec 01:00-02:50 PM MW Sabir A 200
1. Stewart Pidd Hates English, Attack the Text Publishing

2. The American Heritage Dictionary. Fourth Edition.

3. A Rose Grew in Concrete by Tupac Shakur

4. Evolution of a Revolutionary by Jasmine Guy

Holler if You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac by Michael Eric Dyson (10 copies)

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