Another day yet in motherhood
My daughter got a bursary Barbados. There! Everybody knows.
I think it is better for you all to stop asking me, then looking at me with that dumb stare when I give the answer.
I am not surprised by the result of the examination. I had given my daughter the option of not sitting the Common Entrance. I had told her it was not set for children who learnt like her.
Perhaps, I should be proud of her bravery for having persevered –– but mothers do not make their children walk on nails to see how strong they are. My daughter confided in her brother she was trying to prove that perhaps she could go to high school like anyone else, in spite of her dyslexia.
Again, I ask: what is the purpose of keeping the Common Entrance Examination? Those children who did exceptionally well were doing so for years. Those children who did not do well were not doing so for years too.
In my daughter’s case, she has been scoring 30s or 20s on criterion reference testing consistently. She is diagnosed as dyslexic; and any intervention she received was facilitated privately.
In other words, it would have been possible for my daughter to begin criterion reference testing at 25 per cent and end it at 25 per cent, and the state would still have given her a bursary, like it did, without so much as a systematic effort to improve her.
My daughter cried uncontrollably when the results were released. She did not cry because we had not gone through the likely outcomes; she did because the results were announced in a whole school setting and the plan we had developed was not allowed to work.
Each child’s name was called in turn, and my daughter’s and three other children’s names were not. They were then informed in a group session at the end they had been given bursaries.
The plan we had developed was that she would simply tell her friends she was going to private school. However, she got a taste of what the real objective of the Common Entrance is: to separate the “sheep” from the “high-flyers”. I remain livid about the insensitivity of this approach to announcing the results.
We just do not get it in Barbados. We just refuse to create space in this society for people who learn differently. We like to tear people down, not build them up; and the Common Entrance Examination is the first place we reaffirm, maintain and perpetuate the culture of shaming and “better-than-ness”.
Ironically, we shame people for trying and failing, but we do not sanction slackness and lewdness in Barbados.
Has the Barbados Broadcast Authority been disbanded? My son and I needed to get some supplies for his end of term examinations and projects. We ventured out about 4:30 p.m., and we happened to be flipping stations to try to avert the so-called “calypso” music.
Mark you, calypso does exist. Grynner’s offering this year is a tribute and a testimony to its beauty. However, past his, I am hard-pressed to find two more offerings which I would purchase on any kind of compilation for posterity.
I quickly add I am a reggae baby through and through, and pay little attention to calypso. Having said that, good music is good music, and bad music is bad music.
Surprisingly, the offensive lyrics were not in the local calypsos. The rain was falling, and there was a rap and ballad session.
My son gave me a dumbfounded look as the radio belted out a song about a man who had his “baby mama and side chick kissing”. It was followed by a male voice explaining how he wanted to “get [a woman] a drink and slide her panties to the side”.
I would feel funny writing such things into a column for general public consumption usually. However, I needed to outline to you these words I heard on the radio during peak time, when commuters include both children and adults. When did we allow our standards to become so lax?
Public radio is not supposed to be where we go when we need raunchy lyrics, or lyrics particularly to set an explicitly intimate mood. I am disappointed with the content of radio in Barbados.
Many of the standards which I learnt as a student of broadcasting years ago seem to have been abandoned. The job of radio announcer is redundant with the disc jockey now performing both roles. While I have no difficulty with this in theory, when the disc jockey cannot read coherently a public service announcement or a newscast, to my mind, there is a problem.
Additionally, some of the disc jockeys make the lyrics played in songs more prominent by treating their radio sessions exactly as they do sessions in fetes. They shout through the songs and develop narratives that make the already explicit lyrics even more vivid. This cannot be an acceptable state of affairs for Barbados.
Some of the places where the music originate from do not play those songs on mainstream radio.
There are a number of stations in Barbados, each said to be catering to a specific market. Notwithstanding, I notice the broadcast standards are dropping consistently, regardless of the station market being catered to.
I am never sure about how we prepare ourselves to host the tourists who we so boldly state are the mainstay of Barbados. I am never sure how we rationalize a multimillion-dollar bus fare scheme to shield our schoolchildren from unwholesome influences when the lyrics coming through their earphones are smut.
There are so many big problems in Barbados that the little ones are sliding off the burners. The thing is that the little things often have a great impact, either making things feel finished and refined, or loose and unfinished. The environment in which a person lives and works daily does much to influence whom the person becomes over time.
Our collective approach to success and our collective standards, as outlined in public spaces such as broadcasting, shape our children and, by extension, the citizens of Barbados.
(Marsha Hinds-Layne is a full-time mummy and part-time lecturer in communications at the University of the West Indies.