Remix Poem – Deion Smith


I based my search for my documents on the fact that my father’s family grew up in Attleboro and the Greater Boston area. I focused on race because my grandmother, who is half Korean, and half Nigerian and was adopted here to a family in the United States from Nigeria, has lived her entire life in this area and raised my father and his two siblings here as well. I was interested in looking into what kind of hardships they may have faced in the school system that I went through but did not experience. This is what brought me upon the Sun Chronicle article that is explaining how schools will not be fully desegregated until the staff take the initiative to accept everyone. This article was published in 1978, 4 years after my father was born and only a couple years until he would be entering the school system as a person of color. After finding this article I was more interested in the difference between then and now. In 1978 there was a struggle among staff to accept desegregation, but my second document, called The Civil Rights Project by a Research Associate at Harvard University, portrays the current struggle of segregation of students by race in certain neighborhoods. This is not something that would have affected my family directly as all students in Attleboro go to the same schools. However, this does support the notion that despite official desegregation, there still exists systemic segregation that only negatively effects minorities. I plan to write one poem using the first document and another poem using the second in an attempt to show both the similarities and differences between blatant and systemic racism.


Poem One: 2021 to 1978

No Growth,

Schools have been desegregated

No Growth,

Issues of sex

No Growth,

Issues of race

No Growth,

Issues of handicap

No Growth,

Racism still exists

No Growth,

Deal with blacks

No Growth


Analysis of 2021 to 1978

The poem 2021 to 1978 exemplifies the lack of change in what is described by the newspaper article I found. The article talks about how there are still all these issues after desegregation and the root cause being the staff of schools. In my poem I portray 1978 as a line from the newspaper article that touches upon a social issue and then the year 2021 is the repeated line of “No Growth,” to show these issues still exist nearly 50 years later. I also began with the year 2021 and then went to 1978 to portray that after the Civil Rights Movement and desegregation we simply did not move forward in any way and in some cases even backwards. I feel as if it does a good job getting the point across and there happened to be some really good phrases available in the article to allow me to do so. It is odd to believe that only a couple years prior to my father entering school, this was such a prominent issue and my grandmother has to have had it even worse, it is not something that has been talked about with my family, and I was essentially taught that after the Civil Rights Movement everything was ‘okay.’ There are even more issues still prominent today as will be shown in the next poem.


Poem Two: Suburbs

Private and charter schools

Exempt from desegregation

And majority white

High graduation rates

Well funded

And high test scores


Poverty in Boston

ELL, Asian, Latino

And black

Majority minority

Low graduation


And low test scores


Analysis of Suburbs

The poem Suburbs speaks on much more current problems of segregation in our school systems caused by earlier decisions such as the Supreme Court decision to exempt majority white suburbs from desegregation. It is decisions such as these that have set back people of color within the school system so extensively. This along with poor funding to school districts with high percentages of minorities in its demographics has caused a great disparity in the types of education that predominately white schools and predominately minority schools receive. The purpose of my poem is to shed light on current day issues of racism and discrimination within the Boston area school system. I feel as if I accomplish this by including the 1974 Supreme Court decision of exempting majority white suburban neighborhoods from desegregating as well the correlation between race and poverty. I broke up the poem into two sections, one being a description of the suburban child’s experience in school and the other being the inner city child’s experience. It is pretty clear that there are major discrepancies between white suburban neighborhoods and the inner city as it pertains to the school system. There is lower graduation rates and lower test scores caused by a lack of funding and dedicated staff in minority dominated areas which has been true since even before desegregation and little has changed. I am a big proprietor of everyone receiving the best of educations and making it a focus in everyone’s lives, this should be a right, however, it proves to be a privilege based on race and class even in the year 2021.


Thoughts on Remix Poems

Overall, I like the idea of remix poems because you can use it in multiple ways. You may simply be direct and get the main idea of the source across in a short poem. You may do what I did in 2021 to 1978 and manipulate the words somewhat so that I may get a similar but different point across. You can also change the meaning entirely. It also seems like a good tool for beginning writers who may be having trouble putting words onto paper, to have a place to choose from a set number of words on a certain topic would probably be helpful to get started. However, it could also pose issues as I experienced while writing Suburbs. I began having difficulty breaking away from the specific phrases in the text and being more creative. I could also assume that this may be because I have a lack of experience in writing in general, so as a whole I do believe this to be a good method of writing a poem on a specific topic.