Black in School


Noticing things I never caught glimpse of before, time once again picks up its pace and tries to sneak past me. The third week of school is already upon me. Talking to my advisor and finding out I’m on track to graduate, definitely gets one in the mood to celebrate. It’s like official, and as long as I don’t screw anything up I will be a college graduate by May of 2018. 

With a full course load, work load, social load, and any other kind of load you could image I seem to breath easily lately. Although tired, I flow through my days seamlessly between class, friends, eating, nap, study time and clientele. Maintaining is my only task. Momentum! It’s something I cannot lose. I can already see that one missed homework assignment that snowballs into an Snowman made of “I don’t cares,” by the time December rolls around. I can’t let that happen.

Amidst the young, conversational, controversial, sex driven fresh-women and men a new breath is taken on campus. Although, still as annoying and childish as ever, the fresh faces are beginning their journey into a new found freedom. It’s inspirational. And, as someone that’s most likely between 6-7 years their senior I find it cute. 

All at the same time taking in that I am being watched. I am the example, but not just me; everyone in my class. To often do people flee from the spotlight of responsibility, only to complain and gossip about the decline of culture happening around them. Especially, being students at an HBCU ( Historically Black College/ University) only an hour away from where Civil War II almost broke out a.k.a. Charlottesville. It can leave a lot on ones mind. 

How do we protect ourselves from an evil that’s lived for hundreds and maybe thousands of years. This idea that “I am better than you, and you deserve nothing!” It’s scary walking through crowds of people and knowing that someone just looked at me and saw nothing. Nothing special, with wants, with needs, with dreams, with drive, with determination, and with love. They see my skin, and just like that I am automatically written off. 

I do not care much for the white supremacists of now, and conclude to show them little of my attention. I could go one for days about the ignorance that still courses through generations of the Caucasian population, but I would rather focus my energies on expelling the ignorance of my people instead. That seems like a much better cause for action… to enlighten those whose eyes are only slightly open. 

I strive to surround myself with like minded people, and together maybe we can improve our reality. Problem number 1:

When I arrive at my campus the first thing that is always apparent to me are the gates. I’m not sure if this is a common practice of HBCU’s to enclose themselves within barriers, but as far as VSU, NSU, VUU go campus faculty often write these features off as measures of protection. But what exactly are they protecting us from?

Unlike schools such as Virginia Commonwealth University and Howard University that have spread into the areas they inhabit and contribute to the economy and culture of their respective communities; most HBCU’s are surrounded by underfed African American communities. In these areas lie endless community service opportunities. Opportunities that can bring us as African Americans together. To me these gates stand for both a mental and physical barrier. A separation between “Us,” the educated and “Them,” the less fortunate. I call them that because I myself was once a college dropout and could’ve easily ended up on a less than reputable situation. 

The main concern is said to be that the gates are there to protect us from those that are jealous, that want to steal from us, that want what we have obtained. 

Rather than close us in, and making our only option for exit towards the white neighborhoods; let’s keep the gates open towards our people. Let us go into the community and eliminate jealousy by offering continuing education courses for those that cannot handle a full course load. If they have not graduated high school, let us become an avenue for them to get their GED. If they need clothes, let us collaborate with the Salvation Army and Goodwill. If they need food let our farm have purpose, and make our schools food pantry public. We cannot ignore what is right in front of us so blatantly. We must take responsibility for our people, and learn to take care of one another!

What do you think?

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