The Magnolia Literacy Project
Jamee “JEM” McAdoo "Report Card's In"
Updated: May 24, 2022
Imagine living by a grading scale that measures how you treat others. Jamee "JEM" McAdoo associates an "F" standard of living with a history and culture of hypocrisy and immorality.
JEM is a sophomore at Jackson State University. A mass communications major with an emphasis in media studies, she uses her voice to advocate for other people while promoting new ways of thinking.
In her poem, "Report Card's In", she addresses the impact of failed standards and privileged behaviors on disenfranchised people.
JEM's work exemplifies emerging leadership among young people and their embrace of collectivity in fighting injustices.
"Report Card's In"
According to most grading scales, a 90% and above is an A.
80 to 89 is a B grade.
70 to 79 is a C.
60 to 69 is a D.
And if you earn a 59% or less, then you've earned yourself an F.
And F stands for failing.
Not accurately getting the work done.
Not actually following the instructions.
To fail means you did not learn what you needed to.
Maybe you didn't go about practicing the right way.
Maybe you didn't study enough everyday.
Or maybe you didn't care to pass, and thought: "I don't even need this anyway."
... I wonder: what's the case with the world today?
Did we not accurately get the work done in the areas that needed to be worked on?
Did we not actually follow God's instructions?
Maybe we didn't go about practicing love and highlighting morals in a way that would stick
Maybe we didn't force those who are so close-minded to just try it --
try accepting those who are different & loving those who are not kindred.
Maybe we didn't encourage enough people to study the world in its truth --
no matter how many lessons it takes, to read and to listen and to pay attention
until there's good enough comprehension.
To study! And study like it is your mission to pass.
Because it should be.
Life is one big exam.
To study other cultures and see the beauty in all parts of the Venn diagram.
To be mindful of past events and to trust history ... but not history books.
To challenge norms.
See studying is a BIG part of getting a good grade!
Maybe we just wanted an easy A.
Thought God would pass us if we just put it all in His name.
"One Nation. Under God."
Thought we could get an A plus by not even doing much
but following the same flashcards of evil that have been going on
since way before today's group of people.
Maybe we've become too complacent with our F
because every class before us has left
uncontrollable chaos, an undeniable divide, and more failing systems
than I can get out in one breath without losing the rhythm.
But MAN have we failed.
No more study sessions filled with more subjective games that aim
to favor the behaviors of the privileged whites.
Because the majority of the minorities who are the majority of the nation, don't just lose the games, they lose real lives.
There are some good people out there
but that doesn't mean we can just round up.
We KEEP. ON. FAILING.
And what do you do when you fail a course?
You just have to repeat.
You just have to reteach until mastery is reached.
Maybe this generation is the class that will study enough.
Maybe this generation is the class that will practice enough.
Maybe this generation is the class that will learn. And teach.
And maybe we'll pass...
Or at LEAST.... Bring us up to a D.
But we all have homework to do.
So I have my notes that I've been jotting...
And I have some ideas that I've been plotting...
And I'm ready...
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