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A Person. A Photo. A Story.
This week: Talaj’ae on How She Sees Things

“Now, people be talking all about Michelle Rhee stepping down and the black woman stepping up. To me, it really don’t matter who is Chancellor. Usually, people just talk about how they are gonna make change, but I don’t see no difference. Don’t matter if it is Obama or Michelle Rhee, I don’t see too much of the change that everyone promises. I may just be 14, but I see all kinds of things and wish that people would listen to me.

“Let me tell you how I see things. I like to study, and have no issues with the public schools. To be real, the problems be the people. I got teachers who don’t put as much effort as they should into helping us. They get paid no matter if I pass or fail. For me, math and reading are cool, but I am not that good with social studies and science. I try to learn them, but it is hard to understand what is going on. When I look for extra help, a lot of teachers don’t have the time or don’t want to help me.

“Then, you got the kids who be goofing around when the teachers are trying to explain stuff. You know how kids be playing and talking when the teacher is trying teach. Well, maybe it is a generation thing, but kids here talk back to teachers and don’t show respect. Here, a teacher tells someone to be quiet, and they be all like, ‘Who you talking to?’ That’s how it is. Sometimes, I wish that the teachers were stricter. Actually, maybe not stricter, I just wish they could add more structure to the classroom.

“I try and pay attention and stay out of it, but it is difficult. The people around me always be taking me off track. Most of the time, I can refocus and come back to where I need to be. When I can’t or if I feel like something is harmful, I bring it to my parents, and they help me to stay on the right path.

“See, I know that school is my path to success and will take me far in life. I want to be a hair stylist because I love hair. I know that if you put your mind into something, you can do anything, and do it well. If I was a hair stylist, I would try and work something out to make everyone in this city look tight. Don’t think I could make everyone look like Alicia Keys, but we’d all look good. You know that.”


“Danny Harris is a DC-based photographer and collector of stories. In September, he launched People’s District, a blog that tells a people’s history of DC by sharing the stories and images of its residents. Every day, People’s District presents a different Washingtonian sharing his or her insights on everything from Go Go music to homelessness to fashion to politics. Every Thursday he’ll share a favorite story with us”