“Can't C Me.”

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Shawn Robinson


learning disability, poetry, identity


I contextualize my poetry by using the lyrics of the song “Can't C Me” written by Lesane Parish Crooks. As a Black male with a learning disability (i.e., dyslexia), I was warehoused in an educational system that has been designed to segregate and incriminate instead of emancipate or educate (Blanchett, 2010; Ferri & Connor, 2005; Hoyles & Hoyles, 2010). Between third and twelfth grade, I not only felt segregated as a student in special education, but was also left academically behind (2014; 2013). The majority of my educational journey, I felt hopeless about obtaining a bright future because I couldn't read, and had low self-esteem (Robinson, 2015a; Burden, 2005; Wang & Neihart, 2015). Further, my voice was silenced as a Black male who had been identified with multiple labels, and written off (Connor, 2006, 2005; Ferri & Connor, 2014; Gillborn, 2015).  To date, there are scholars who examine the intersectionality of race, disability and giftedness (Barnard-Brak, Johnsen, Hannig, & Wei, 2015); however, the voices of Black males living at the intersection of dyslexia and giftedness, and how they understand their position in the education system are nonexistent in those scholarly reviews (Petersen, 2006; Robinson, 2016a). A major factor of their voices being absent is that there are some teachers who frame students’ academic potential from a ‘deficit’ perspective (Robinson, 2016b). Therefore, this poetic account will serve two purposes: (1) shatter all notions that Black males with dyslexia in special education can’t succeed academically, and (2) offer an inside perspective of how it feels knowing that there are a million pairs of eyes staring at me, but some teachers “Can't C Me.”
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