Here at Los Prados High, we value the work of our students. Student work is a valuable asset to our school success, so appreciation of their work is vital. One of the pieces written by 10th grader Luciana Dominguez is an example of this, here it is:
The Public Nuisance Named Tupac
Terrorism, misogyny, and narcotics. The prior words listed are just a few terms that Tupac Amaru Shakur symbolized. Tupac Shakur was an African American artist, best known for his very controversial rap and hip hop work. His family had connections with the Black Panthers (which means that he had ties with a terrorist group), his music consisted of racist, violent, and misogynistic lyrics, and he supported the use of illegal drugs and guns. Keep in mind that he is the same person whose life and works are being taught to the tenth grade students at Luther Burbank High School. He may be considered an icon and is looked up to among the teen community, that alone is enough to have you feeling worried and ashamed for my generation, but in reality he’s just a bad person and should not be studied about. Evidence of this comes from his life, his poetry, his music, and his legacy.
Tupac’s youth was a major influence in the life that he later chose to live. When Tupac was growing up, he was different. Growing up, Tupac was an idealist, he believed in big ideas, which is the reason he was very different from the rest of his peers. In the Tupac data set, the author points out, “Tupac sacrificed his bright future at the Baltimore School for the Arts to escape his mother’s drug use, her treatment by a violent boyfriend, and the trauma of moving from home to home.” If Tupac followed his idealist path and stayed in school, he would be a completely different person than the one he became to be and perhaps he would still be alive. By learning that Tupac dropped out of school and then pursued a rap career, students can be inspired by his mistake.
Another reason on why Tupac should not be taught in schools is because of his poetry. An argument that many Tupac supporters use is that his poetry was very impressive. In my opinion, the artist’s reputation is what makes the art, for example, Hitler had very impressive paintings but we don’t hear or learn about his art in schools. If you were to look at Hitler’s art without knowing who the artist is, you would think that the work is extraordinary, That is not the case for Tupac’s poetry. Without knowing the poet, you would think that his poems are very cheesy, low quality, and something that a 6th grader would produce. Poetry in general is a form of art and the poet is an artist, Tupac, however, was not an artist. The problem with his poetry was that it was very simplistic. The ideal example for this is his piece, “The Power of a Smile (4 Renee),” in which Tupac writes “But the Power of a Smile especially yours can heal a frozen Heart.” That line is an example of what a 6th grader can write when s/he is trying to go very deep, and is not something which you’d expect coming from Tupac. Tupac is an overrated poet and his work should not be used as an excuse to learn about him.
Throughout his lifetime, Tupac was two different people. His younger years consisted of being an activist, a scholar, and, as mentioned earlier, an idealist. His older years, consisted of Tupac being a drug addict, a gangster, and of course, a rapper. He became the complete opposite example of what a parent would want their kids to turn out as. You may ask yourself; How does a person go from ideal to becoming a public nuisance? Based on Michael Eric Dyson’s biography on Tupac, “Holler If You Hear Me”, Dyson states, “Tupac’s passion for spiritual matters never left him, although its form and function in his later life may have become almost unrecognizable by earlier standards. Besides, the young person who argued for holistic spiritual revolution had not yet been tested by fast fame and instant wealth.” Based on this, Dyson is saying that fame and fortune was responsible for Tupac’s duality. When Tupac was young, he was very poor, which was a reason for why he was an idealist. Once he became wealthy and known, he changed his life, and in the wrong direction. By studying Tupac, we could only learn one thing: Don’t turn out like him.
As you can see, Tupac is not the best option for students to learn about in their high school years. High school learning should be valued and not be wasted on learning about a bad example of a good role model. Tupac is just too controversial and explicit for high school students. Nobody proves that Tupac should not be taught in high school more than Tupac and his bad decisions. If there is one person that teachers shouldn’t waste their time on, that is a public nuisance named Tupac.