PWI: A walk in my shoes

Only ignorance would lead you to wholeheartedly believe you were inherently color blind to race. As part of your automatic brain processing, you have an instantaneous impression of the bodies that frequent your life, as well as the ones that come and go, never to be seen or thought of again. Dark skin, full figure, kinky hair – black. Fair skin, blonde hair, blue eyes- white. You see it.

Even then, in that moment of reading for those few seconds, your mind pieced together an image of a specific being, with only the little information actually given. You see race, you guess race, you assume race, and based purely on your perspective of the world around you, you are quick to pass judgement then go on about your day, carrying on in whatever daily activities to which your time is allotted to. Furthermore, speaking strictly on my personal experience at a predominantly white institution, I have been able to view, in full, these dynamics of beings, not fully understanding them as what they truly were, always, but seeing them.

“Black panther,” one said to me almost daily with his fist in the air, not knowing a damn thing about solidarity. He joked. “Girllllll,” one said, rolling her neck, then giggling her head almost totally off her shoulders. She too, joking.

As hard as I tried, for the life of me, I could not muster up an actual understanding of what made cultural appropriation so funny to them, but I laughed anyway, making the best of the deck of cards that was dealt my way.

Now let’s first acknowledge this, before I move on- I. Love. People.

All walks of life, gender, ethnicity and cultural variety, I love people. I may have a slight preference for a huge heart and a spontaneous spirit, but other than that, I remain unaroused by differences negatively. This being fact does not disintegrate the reality I sustain a conscious awareness of.

Truthfully, I made sure I decided against the historically black university experience, in that same sense, to develop in a less egocentric manner as well as to prosper in an environment that would provide similar difficulties to that of which the globe around me posed. I wanted a practice hand at life. Growing up, I bore no actual choice. I went to the primary and post- secondary schools that were deemed in my best interest. My higher education though, that was a choice I made. Of course I was tired of the relentless macroaggressions, undeniably existent at these institutions, the miseducation of black, the cultural trends that went over heads, only to be recreated, yet definitely not understood, but an environment with no imperfections could only exist as a hindrance and decay of the protective force I would need in real life, a midsummer night’s dream I’d have to eventually wake up from.

Attending a predominantly white university gives me a firsthand account of what the rest of my professional life will resemble. White dominated diversity. Believing in preparation to the greatest extent from the institution I pour my heart and soul in dollar form into, I choose the more highly preparing choice. Contrarily, I did join just about every black organization I could afford the dues and time for. Funny, huh? Choosing white to still submerge myself in the comfort of mirroring blackness.

Hear me out.

What most university attendees fail to realize is that first and foremost, not only black people are accepted into these organizations and second, these organizations are building blocks. Where discomfort meets consistent disenfranchisement, and disempowerment fuels the unconscious inability to become all that one can truly be, there is a place in the nationally black, but non-exclusive organizations for me to grow into the leader the world around me has not completely shown me that I can be.

From there you branch off, diversifying portions or slowly all your life, taking heed to the perfect push you needed and received. Black organizations give me the tools to build the rest of my life in a world that it understands from my vantage point at a school with a diverse reign of the reality I will live within after.

At predominantly white institutions, I get less love, less understanding, more overlooked, but as a conscious black woman, I know that is life and I’m preparing myself for it accordingly. At a predominantly white institution I am developing skin tough enough to withstand my simultaneous circumstance in being a black woman, growing to be as unapologetically black and beautiful as Beyoncé’s message in her Formation video as well as Super Bowl 50 performance, despite the world.

There is one comment

  1. symphonic1

    Beyoncé is such a patriot, charges her fans $80 for parking at her concerts, knowing damn well they've already bought a non-refundable concert ticket. You want to know what modern day discrimination really feels like, visit Africa and see how they treat African-Americans.

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