Wednesday, July 30, 2008

NYT Interviewed me bout Double-Dutch Yesterday and more SWTOS...

A reporter from NYT called to interview me for a piece about double-dutch. Readers you may or may not know I am an award-winning author on the subject. Why now? Because in the NYC, Double Dutch will become an officially sanctioned varsity sport in city public schools in the spring of 2009. Here's one of the many stories generated after the AP reported on it July 27th:

This story has spiked the Google Trends register getting the highest marks ever as news. I suspect perceptions about black youth, teenage girls, and juvenile deliquency lurk behind spiked interest in the story in so many media outlets. I love how the story gains credibility with certain assertion that would not be considered all that if black kids were valued from the get-go. The stories all repeat the same thing about the participants saying they will "learn skills that will help them succeed in life. They learn how to negotiate," ..."how to talk, they learn discipline. And they learn to work together." Quoted from

During the interview, the reporter was taken by my favorable view of incorporating double-dutch into the school system. I told her it will be great to have a sport typically associated with females become sanctioned as a varsity sport that both sexes participate in. One concern that I have that I didn't talk about is how lots of things that were once female dominated get reincorporated as predominately male practices not unlike making beats (girls been making beats in composing and producing cheers, handclaps and double-dutch for decades since they were young) or midwifing. The school system should be careful to keep the feminine energy of double-dutch alive for all the students. The chants and cheers. The singing and dancing of the so-called sport.

I told the reporter that double-dutch as a sport in schools will allow a fuller range of kids' multiple intelligences to be explored (see MI Theory by Prof. Howard Gardner of Harvard). I even got all cliche and said that this inclusion allows urban children to explore more than traditional European modes of intelligence like reading and writing. But that is too cliche because black kids and people love to read and write even if we do it in alternative modes of expression. That is as much African as it is European. Having double-dutch in the schools will bring up the same thing I wrote about in Chapter 5 of my book. Once black forms are institutionalized, not unlike street ball, we have to be careful to allow the spontaneity of the play to be present and be generated from the players not the judges. I don't know if what happened with basketball is possible anymore--meaning that the owners of a tradition will simply let it go to reclaim it in a much different age of Web 2.0, social media and mediation of knowledge, expression and identity. Next spring will be the test.

I can't wait to see what got quoted. More to blog about then. Will keep you abreast of when it is published.

FINAL "TRICK" (a double-dutch competition term)
A professor I have some acquaintance with emailed me yesterday to tell me how one of her students was so taken by my book. She had played double-dutch growing up and it affirmed her place, her experience of being in the world, and she also is classically-trained as I am. Black, female, classically-trained and R&B expressive. That's me! Kyra G and her P.H.&D.

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