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My hope is to get young people to think about ways that they can translate hip-hop’s great cultural movement into political power that can change the conditions for America’s young, so that young people upon graduating from high school who don’t have economic means to go to college can realize other options beyond joining the military and fighting in wars that enrich corporations like Halliburton which should feel guilty about profiteering off of a war that is being fought on the backs of those locked out of America’s mainstream economy.
Let’s also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job. Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges, so that they’re ready for a job. At schools like P-TECh in Brooklyn … students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree in computers or engineering. We need to give every American student opportunities like this.
Well, I spent six or seven years after high school trying to work myself up. Shipping clerk, salesman, business of one kind or another. And it’s a measly manner of existence. To get on that subway on the hot mornings in summer. To devote your whole life to keeping stock, or making phone calls, or selling or buying. To suffer fifty weeks of the year for the sake of a two-week vacation, when all you really desire is to be outdoors, with your shirt off. And always to have to get ahead of the next fella. And still — that’s how you build a future.
It also helps that what Dan Slott is doing with Peter Parker in the comics has elevated him to something else, so that Miles Morales at the moment is the more traditional Spider-Man figure in the universe: the high school student trying to balance high school and superheroics, and he can’t catch a break. That was Peter’s role, but it’s not his role anymore, and it’s Miles’ role. That was given to me, and it’s pretty cool.
It was also incredibly serendipitous that I would later learn I shared a birthday with Whoop [Goldberg ]. I went on to be inspired by many other artists and forms of art, and was soon directed to a place that would help harness my experiences and develop my voice within the craft, LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts in New York City.
I hear that players tend to burn out of basketball, but I absolutely never had that experience myself. There were many times in my life where I got cut from a team I wanted to make, or didn’t get playing time in high school, and even into college. But setbacks always inspired me to work harder, spend more time in the gym, play more, learn more, and watch more basketball.
I’m an idiot, basically. I don’t think that I’m a dumb guy, but I also realise that I have access to about 0.1 percent of the information that I need to have a truly informed opinion about half the stuff I talk about. I’m like that loud guy in the bar, who kind of makes sense for about ten minutes, and then you realise he flunked everything at high school so you just laugh at him.
Like many others, I have deep misgivings about the state of education in the United States. Too many of our students fail to graduate from high school with the basic skills they will need to succeed in the 21st Century economy, much less prepared for the rigors of college and career. Although our top universities continue to rank among the best in the world, too few American students are pursuing degrees in science and technology. Compounding this problem is our failure to provide sufficient training for those already in the workforce.