I’ve been meaning to write this for some time, but now seems more appropriate than ever.
On this journey of transformational change in our education system, I often find myself involved in conversations about diversity. On this particular occasion, a coworker of mine, who identifies as white and upper class, said that in this situation she feels unwanted and unappreciated because our organizations mission statement only caters to “minorities and low-class individuals”. She also goes on to state that she doesn’t understand why there are affinity groups for members of color and no affinity groups for individuals who don’t identify as members of color. This rant continues for about five minutes and those who feel like her chime in saying, “being white doesn’t mean I have no color”, “I wish they would cater to us more”, and other things of the sort.
As I sat back and listened to these claims my blood began to boil. Usually, I sit in on these conversations and say little to nothing. But this was something that was hitting to close to home, and there was no way I could let this continue without my voice being heard. Once finally called upon I said, “Honestly, I don’t believe that this situation is diverse, at all. In fact, the all black institution in which I received my degree is more diverse than any facet I have seen while on this journey. With that being said, it is really irritating and frustrating to hear those who don’t look like me say that they feel unwanted and unappreciated because they don’t have an affinity group or because they aren’t mentioned in the mission statement. You have no idea what being unwanted and underappreciated feels like. You live within a society that is made for you, that is built around you, and that allows you to fulfill everything that your heart desires. People like me only dream of that. And for you to feel unwanted and underappreciated due to the miniscule reasons stated just shows the privilege that you are accustomed to and have in this society.”
I was really perplexed by the fact that more than one person felt a certain type of way because what they identify with was not mentioned in a mission statement. Really? Do you really want to know what it feels like to be unwanted? You haven’t felt unwanted until you are followed around from the moment you enter a store until the moment you leave. You haven’t felt unwanted until you are walking down the street and a woman switches her purse to the other side and clinches it tightly. You haven’t felt unwanted until you hold the door open for someone and get the next door slammed in your face. You definitely haven’t felt unwanted until you try to give your opinion on a topic of intellectual substance and no one listens just because of the way you look. This list can go on forever.
As a Black Man living in America, I felt the ultimate feeling of being unwanted and unappreciated as I heard the Zimmerman verdict last night. When the trial began, I had an initial feeling of nonchalance, because I knew in my heart of hearts that justice was going to prevail and Zimmerman would be convicted of something. Even if it wasn’t the maximum, I just KNEW he was going to be guilty of something just for the simple fact he killed another individual, especially one that was unarmed. I guess I had too much faith in this thing we call the justice system, huh? Too often do we as a black community accomplish a milestone and think that catapults us to the next level. I was also guilty of that. I thought because Obama is our president and there are so many influential Blacks in this place known as the “free world”, that justice would be served and the man who killed a young black teenager would be convicted of his heinous crime. But then, that verdict was read, my false sense of reality was shattered, and my, and every other Black Man’s, true place in this world was revealed. I was overcome with somberness, sorrow, anger, and disbelief. I constantly hear, “look how far we’ve come!” and now I cant help but ask “How far have we REALLY come!?”
One thing I can say is that I am extremely grateful for the things I’ve learned from Howard University. If it wasn’t for this place, who knows if I would have ever been exposed to the true history of my people, our struggles in this country, and what it actually means to take pride in being BLACK. With that being said, I can’t help but CRINGE at the sight of my people in favor of this Zimmerman verdict and comparing his crime to black on black crime. The thoughts and audacity of these people to even publically voice these opinions is deplorable. If they really understood why we as a people have so much dividing us, why we as a people cant seem to flourish in this “equal society”, and what it actually took for our ancestor to get us out of the pit that we once were in, they would never fix their mouths, position their fingers, or formulate their thoughts to say the despicable things that I’ve been hearing and seeing all over the internet.
For too long has our real history been hidden from us. For too long have we been held captive to this façade of fairness and equality that society has fed us. For too long have we been living with this false sense of reality, and it’s going to take tremendous strides to get our people back on the same page. This Zimmerman verdict was a definite wake up call for me and I hope it was a wake up call for everyone like me. We need to educate ourselves, educate our families, and educate our communities on what it means to be Black in America. We must not become complacent and think that we have “made it” just because a few aspects of Black life have improved. We must continue to fight the good fight, and not throw away the work of our ancestors, of our culture, just because your dad has a Range Rover or just because your family finally moved to the Suburbs. That all means nothing. You are still BLACK IN AMERICA.
I pray for my people. I pray for my community. My soul goes out to those who have been brainwashed by society and think that they’ve “made it” to the point where they cant unite with us in wake of tragedy or in times of trouble. Stand by us Lord, and continue to order our steps.
“Vengence is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord” – Romans 12:19
"Would you be so kind to explain, exactly where we stand? I’ll sit here all day. I just need some answers, I just need some answers." When so eloquently bombarded with this lyric by the Peace and Body Rolling Duo known as BOOMscat I couldn’t help but sing along. Once past my initial fascination of the captivating melody, I began to wonder and had some what of a revelation that life is full of questions, situations, and circumstances that we all need answers to.
At this point in my life I can honestly say that Im quite proud of myself. I’ve had a pretty eventful and successful undergraduate career, completed several of my goals, graduated from one of the best universities in the country, and will now go on to bequeath all that I have learned and experienced unto the deserving youth of Detroit. Even in the midst of all of these blessings, some areas of my life were still a bit cloudy. At times I was fully confident in the journey on which I am embarking to fulfill my life’s destiny, while in the same instant I could be unsure and encounter feelings of unworthiness. Am I making the right decision? Am I the best person for this? Why should I be someone’s role model? I just need some answers.
Answers. Answers. Answers. Where would I get these? They’re not just going to fall out of the sky, but I need them. Unbeknownst to me, the coveted answer was right in front of my face the entire time. Someone very dear to me gave me a gift with the quote “God would have never put that dream in your heart if He didn’t want you to live it.” Even in the midst of
obstacles and challenges when we begin to doubt yourself, God is there to provide that constant reassurance that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and through Him all things are possible. It was not until I opened my eyes and the eyes of my heart that I was able to realize this. When the world tells us that we’re useless, He reminds us that we are worthy. When the world tells to give up, He gives us the strength to keep going. When we are broken, He restores us.
I never thought I was incapable of the task at hand, It was the magnitude of the responsibility that frightened me. This was something that I always dreamed of, something that was sort of innate for me, the ability to impact lives and make a difference was what I was born to do. With my questions finally answered, I was able to realize that through any trial and tribulation, with the Lord by my side I will be able to do more than survive, but to survive and succeed triumphantly. I know the road will not be easy, but I will not be conflicted or burdened by these obstacles. I will take what God has blessed me with and use my skills and abilities to the fullest. "To whom much is given much is required", and I am ready and anxious to fulfill this requirement in the way God intended.
"I finally got my answer. Oh Lord, you are the answer."
The Bonsai Garden. (Taken with Instagram)
On our field trip to the National Arboretum. (Taken with Instagram)
i adore vintage menswear.
You are more than a conqueror. Don’t be discouraged by the bumps in life. God never makes life unbearable for you. Have faith. It’s a test. If you want it, speak it. If you pray about it, don’t worry about it. Easier said than done, but believe there is power in the tongue. Speak things into the…
The past year has been a year full of things that I wish I would have documented when they were happening but since I didn’t, I’m gonna take the time to do that now. I’ve laughed and loved, failed and succeeded, but overall I love the life that I’ve been living.
Summer 2011 was definitely one for the books. I began a new job, and that introduced me to people and experiences that I will remember forever. The bond that my coworkers and I built lasted way beyond our tenure at Nordstrom, and I am glad that these people are now my friends. In addition to these new comrades, it was also my first summer staying in DC. To my benefit, all of my closets friends were staying in DC as well and we lived as lavish as possible. Late nights and early mornings, party and bullshit.
[Marsh. Steven. Ni.]
[Teen & Ni.]
[Crystal & I.]
[All Black Everything.]
[Ni’s Birthday Party.]
[All White Party.]
Every year there’s an annual White Party thrown by Howard’s UGSA. Last year was the first time I decided to actually participate and I’m glad that I did. It was quite lavish, and a good way to start the 2011-2012 school year. Everyone was pretty crisp, and of course the party was banging.
Homecoming at Howard was immaculate as usual. Celebrities. Parties. Liq. Basically everything under the sun was involved and I enjoyed it all. Due to all of this enjoyment I barely remembered to take pictures, but nonetheless I had a great time.
[ResLife Queens with Lance.]
[Howard v. Hampton]
This year the Howard vs. Hampton football game was held at Hampton so a few of us decided this would be the perfect time to take a road trip. This happened to be a great trip, with few bumps in the road. Good times. Good company. and Good Liq. And to top it all off Howard WON the game!
[Ariel. House. P.]
[Christmas Break 2011.]
This was the first chance I had to go home in months and it was definitely needed. I missed everything. Family. Friends. Coney Island. 7mile. Northland. Anything that had to do with Detroit I missed it, and when I got the chance to go home, every second was time well spent.
[Bros over Errythang.]
[Cousins fo Life.]
Serving as Vice President of Recruitment for Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity, DC Alpha Chapter has definitely been one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life. I definitely wasn’t an easy task, but I am so proud of my Beta Class. The late nights and headaches were definitely worth it. I love each and everyone of them with all of my heart. #ProudFather.
[Bison Ball 2012]
This years Bison Ball was my first and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Besides, one minor mishap, my night was great. And Michigan Club winning State Club of the Year put the icing on the cake. Crisp.
It never dawned on me that numerous people who I’ve built incredible bonds with would be leaving and continuing their lives elsewhere. When I finally did realize this I couldn’t help but to feel some type of way. It was bitter sweet. I wanted them to move on and continue to grow, but I didn’t want them to leave. I had to get over it, for change is inevitable. I’m so proud of the Class of 2012. I miss them already =.
[Nato. Tiff. Midg.]
[Raisa.]This year was beyond amazing.
I believe Jehovah Jireh
I believe there’s heaven, I believe in war
I believe a woman’s temple
Gives her the right to choose but baby don’t abort
I believe that marriage isn’t
Between a man and woman but between love and love
And I believe you when you say that you’ve lost all faith
But you must believe in something, something, something
You gotta believe in something, something, something
|—||Toni Morrison, Sula|
A break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, or action. This is exactly what happened to the cultivation of my blog. Why? This is something that I can’t answer with solely one determinant. Maybe I was too busy. Maybe I got bored. Maybe I ran out of things to say. But whatever the case may be, I know one thing…I missed my blog. I thought about something to write everyday. I thought about the title of my next post. I wondered who would read it? But no matter how much I missed what once was, I never was motivated to post anything. I did have a few close encounters; hence the sporadic posts every blue moon. But nothing was ever how I intended it to be or portrayed what was really going on inside of my head. I wasn’t inspired anymore. I used to visit my Dashboard and my eyes were exposed to a plethora of inspiration. But during the time of my hiatus, I had no such encounters. I saw the same images, the same celebrities, the same WSHH videos, and heard the same music. I’m not saying that something is wrong with all of these things, but everybody’s Tumblr looked the same. Where was the uniqueness that captivated me in the beginning? The same uniqueness that moved me to even create my own Tumblr? Idk. It was lost, maybe gone forever. Wherever it went, my desire to add to this world of inspiration went along with it.
I used to write about and blog things that meant the world to me, people that I love, and experiences that I’ve had. Somewhere, that all got lost in translation. As I sit here and try to recapture the original essence of what once was, I realize that this isn’t the first time live felt like this. I’ve written something closely related to this some time ago, and I was determined to “get back to my roots” and continue that initial vision that I had for my blog. I think that time is now. So its safe to say, IM BAAAAACCCKKK!
pinnacle of neo-soul