Lessons In Blackness From Yale University’s Black Solidarity Conference » VSB

Featured, Pop Culture, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

Lessons In Blackness From Yale University’s Black Solidarity Conference

VSB

 

(This will be long and yes, that is what she said. There’s a lot to unpack in these words. Grab a seat and come along for the ride. Also, keep in mind, I’m an HBCU graduate so my perspective is rooted in that fact. Perspective is everything.)

This past weekend, Damon and I had the pleasure of speaking at Yale University as part of their 21st Annual Black Solidarity Conference which bring students of color together to speak about issues pertaining to the African diaspora, sponsored by the school’s Afro-American Cultural Center.

You know, I had never heard the word diaspora until I got to college. I wonder if my high school education wasn’t Black enough. No shots fired here, but based on some of the panels I availed myself of this past weekend, it seems I’m not alone in that observation. I want to send a shout out to the students at Yale who put the conference together and invited us up. It was a truly enjoyable experience up in Gun Wavin’ New Haven, CT.

Being as it was a conference dedicated to issues surrounding Blackness, and since it is February, Bey yonce’d, Kendrick went full Lamar, and sharing is caring, I’m going to tell you a bit about our trip, specifically a few things that stood out to me during our time at the conference.

1. HBCUs & PWIs, HBCUs vs PWIs, Everybody Hates Everybody

When I got a chance to check out the schedule of panels, one in particular jumped out at me: HBCUs vs PWIs – Let’s Talk About It.

While I was excited to be part of the conference, what I really wanted to do was attend this talk. See, I knew that this was going to be a room full of largely elite PWI Black students. Nearly every conversation I’ve had about HBCUs vs PWIs happens amidst a bunch of HBCU grads who all attended PWIs for grad school. Full disclosure: nearly my ENTIRE crew from Morehouse/Spelman has graduate degrees from PWIs. So I’ve never been in the room filled with “the other side” so to speak. What I know is that (based on debates that have occurred here at VSB and on Twitter) this topic is highly contentious and not for a good reason but because everybody thinks the other side is shitting on them. It’s like Bloods vs Crips in the late 80s amongst Black people who read for leisure.

The devil is a busy mofo.

Now, the two women leading the discussion had THE best of intentions. In fact, the title of the workshop morphed from HBCUs vs PWIs to HBCUs & PWIs, which is a very important distinction. The two leading the discussion were current students at Hampton University, which to me was a bit of a mis-step on the conference organizers part. To bring two current HBCU students to lead a discussion about differences with a room full of PWI students was almost a set up to fail from jump. But they did their best to lead a discussion about creating solidarity amongst the two groups. But, again, they were going to lose from jump. The initial listing of the workshop as a “versus” talk is why the room was standing room only.

Look, there are a lot of very strong feelings on both sides. That much became apparent when a comment intended to speak to confidence gained at an HBCU got turned into an attack on PWIs and the apparent elitism of HBCU students, an irony that wasn’t lost on me considering the room was full of Ivy league students. To wit, a gentleman who brought a contingent of students from Seton Hall University made the remark that going to an HBCU made it possible for him to not just be a high school teacher but a college professor. As an HBCU alum, I got what he was getting at. It turned on the faucet for PWI tears as the comment was somehow interpreted to be that going to an HBCU allows a Black person to shoot for the stars and that a PWI doesn’t. It was even suggested that he was somehow shitting on high school teachers.

PWI tears are a real thing.

See, what I didn’t know was happening amidst the HBCU vs PWI convo (this talk was a result of all the Mizzou happenings where the divisive ass convo reached its Mt. Olympus-like zenith via Twitter) was that a lot of PWI students were being told they were sell outs for getting their education at their uber-selective admission schools. I’ve heard people shit on HBCUs, but I can’t say I’d heard people shit on PWIs, not that I didn’t think it happened, it just seemed like more of the “folks made fun of me for being smart” thing that people say happens but I’ve never personally seen or heard. Nearly all convos I’ve been a part of have been HBCU students defending why our schools AREN’T second-tier and do manage to prepare us for the world. I’d never seen the part where PWI students felt maligned by HBCUs. Apparently this is a thing. Well shut my mouth wide open.

I’m guessing PWI students just want to go to school in peace and not have people call into question their allegiance to the cause, which, again, turns out is a thing…maybe. It reminds me of the famous Andre 3000 line from “Aquemini”: “…is every nigga with dreads for the cause?/Is every nigga with golds for the falls/naw, so don’t get caught up in appearance…”

Of course, students at HBCUs want to go to school without being accused of being in the 13th grade or only going to class because it’s required to pledge or to hold us over until the next party starts.

But I’m sleep.

I guess that’s hard to address when everybody is so charged. Those two Hamptonians – bless their hearts – became the de facto representative of all HBCU students and their opinions, and they were facing a room full of folks who truly wanted to vent about their side of the debate.  Basically, those PWI students really want us to know that they have feelings that aren’t shielded by the resources, networks, or name on their college sweatshirts. Maybe they go to Harvard, but it hurts when somebody from Wiley College thinks they aren’t Black enough.

As it turns out, we all need hugs.

Speaking of hugs…

2. Blacks In STEM

While at the bar on Friday night, I ran into a friend of mine from Atlanta who just so happened to be there to speak on a panel about Blacks in STEM after our VSB talk. Now, quite a few of my close friends are actively involved in the STEM field, either as practitioners or professors (sometimes both), so I’ve heard a lot of what I expected to hear at the panel.

It’s apparently a very lonely field, especially for people of color. But what I heard from one of the students floored me: she said that my friend and the other two panelists were the first Black scientists she’d seen in her entire life and it moved her to tears.

Tears.

It was one of the most interesting and saddest things I’ve seen to this point in my life. Interesting because as an HBCU grad, one thing I’ve both seen and know plenty of is Black scientists of various stripe. I know a Black physicist, a few actually. I know multiple Black mathematicians and chemists and engineers and biomedical engineers and biologists, etc. It’s something I apparently take for granted. And don’t get me started on Black medical doctors. I realize that going from the Black haven of undergrad to grad school is where many of my own friends found some loneliness, but at least they had their network to fall back on. It’s a whole different beast to operate in a space where nobody looks like you, understands you, or feigns interest in the context of your life. It’s also a life I just don’t know. Again, I apparently take my experience for granted.

I realize that her experience is not an anomaly and there are lots of students at PWIs struggling with being the only Black student in their major and all of their classes and it does suck. It’s why we keep reading articles from students demanding Black faculty in the sciences at these schools which is great in theory, you just can’t manufacture faculty. There’s a dearth of Black STEM graduates and I’m guessing they get swooped up quickly by institutions with long pockets and great resources.

It saddens me that so many of our best and brightest minds are winning on paper but struggling on the mental or social end of things for whatever reason. That brought actual sadness to me. I realize that doesn’t pertain to everybody. Some students of color couldn’t care less, but I’m guessing the majority realize the disadvantage that comes with not having a person to confide in or advocate for you. Though on the flipside, in grad school, I had a Black professor who pointed out that all through his education he made it a point to stay as FAR away from race related study and research as possible as to not get labeled as a race man. Not for nothing, but I definitely didn’t view him as anything more than a professor. My advisor was a very nice white man who cared about making sure I won in life. Point is, your experience is what it is and what you can manage to make of it.

And we still all need hugs.

3. Damon and I talked about VSB and we could have called our talk, “How To Make It With a Super Black Voice In America”

You know what I realized while Damon and I were answering questions about our ride here at VSB? We’re pretty lucky.

Our talk was well attended and the students seemed engaged and asked good questions. One of those was about what we say to people who told us we wouldn’t make it. And I for the life of me can’t remember a single individual who EVER told me I wouldn’t make it. Either it never happened or I just plain don’t remember them, but that question stumped me. Then I realized, maybe a lot of people DO get told that they won’t make it in certain areas. And that sucks. So we’re lucky in that regard, but we’re also lucky in another and its something I brought up while I was talking.

I don’t ever remember thinking I couldn’t do something. At no point in my life have I ever felt limited by my Blackness. I went to high school in Alabama; if it was going to happen, it was going to happen there. Now, obviously I’m very aware that I’m a Black man, but while I know there are institutions intentionally intent on my downfall, I’ve never personally felt stifled by them or maybe I’ve just ignored them wholesale. Even with VSB, I don’t ever remember thinking that there was something we couldn’t do. I had no idea where were heading, but I also never saw a ceiling, and I DID think being Black helped. I love who I am and I’ve never not loved who I am. I don’t know where this #shelfofsteam came from, but in some of the conversations I had with students and things I heard at panels, I’m damn sure glad that I have it because it is not a guarantee. I saw a bunch of students excited to be around Black people doing things as if that wasn’t just life.

My whole life is full of Black folks doing important things and I not only got used to it, I expect it. Just an observation, but one that made me think and inspired a lot of conversation after the talks.

Talking about VSB and our rise and motivations is fun. I enjoy inspiring (such as that’s what happens) and providing motivation and putting a battery in the back of somebody who is at the cusp of giving creativity a shot. I’m all about the arts so it was great to be there to help shine a light on how we make it do what it do while we do it like we’re doing it for TV.

It was a great trip for various reasons, many of which were reminding me that “making it” comes with its own set of struggles. Blackness looks very different depending on where you’re sitting. It’s good to be reminded of that sometimes as it adds perspective and context to my own life. We are doing great as a people and there were hundreds of Black faces that showed this.

And yet, we still all need hugs.

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

Previously

An Ode To SWV

  • Dougie

    I attended college 20 minutes from Yale and went to the solidarity conference in my senior year. The comments on this site remind me of that conference daily. There, was where I first saw the full diaspora of Blackness in one place. I appreciated that.

    Panama – “My whole life is full of Black folks doing important things and I not only got used to it, I expect it.” D A M N RIGHT!!! I do too. I appreciate you for saying that and for living that. I don’t understand how people don’t have the highest of expectations for Blacks. Despite all the understood problems that the Black community faces daily, I’ve only expected the best. We have to hold ourselves to the highest standards.

    • Quirlygirly

      Your last paragraph is so on point. I feel very similar.

      Growing up I saw Black people run the gamut of doing things- from owning houses and running businesses to working in the houses and the businesses. I expect to see these things but it feels odd to be in a place and be the only black or one of a few blacks.

      • Dougie

        That’s the weird dichotomy, isn’t it? It’s also our privilege. The vast majority of us who read and comment on VSB regularly all have a great privilege. We’re all smart and doing relatively well (it seems). Success breeds success, so many of us have seen success throughout our lives, even if we weren’t growing up in the stereotypical American success ourselves. We’ve seen it through teachings in our homes, good mentors, attentive parents, sports coaches, etc.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        But that comes from surrounding yourself with like minded people. My kids and their friends look at me nonplussed when I talk about folks not on their grind.

    • fxd8424

      “I don’t understand how people don’t have the highest of expectations for Blacks.”
      Sometimes a steady diet, 24/7, 365 of looking at us through the lens of inferiority can do that.

    • panamajackson

      That was a message I tried to get across when Damon and I were talking too. You can be super confident in who you are because why shouldn’t you be. Be Black and proud, on purpose.

      • Dougie

        ON PURPOSE! *daps*

      • Quirlygirly

        +1000 cause I am black and proud – on purpose!!

    • SCSU or Quinnipiac?

      • Dougie

        Wesleyan.

        • That’s more than 20 minutes fam.

          • Dougie

            Ok, it’s probably 25. I did the drive everyday when I pledged and I have a heavy foot. Anything more than 20 and I felt inadequate.

        • AlwaysCC

          i almost went to Wesleyan! great school.

          • Dougie

            It was fun!

  • miss t-lee

    Shout out to you guys!!! Doing it big.
    I have no dog in the PWI vs HBCU fight. It really seems counterproductive.

    • Quirlygirly

      It truly is! I attended an HBCU for undergrad and PWI for grad. I got my education and in both places I had some good times and some not so good times. Life moved on and I am grateful for both experiences.

      • L8Comer

        I did what you did in the reverse! I also don’t get this fight.

      • miss t-lee

        Girl…I’m a few hours short of an associates from a cc.
        Like, I could so not care about this discussion.
        Get your education where you want to, and keep on truckin’.

        • AnswerMe

          A couple semesters from my associates and the only school that has an agreement with my CC is a private PWI. If the equally distant HBCU won’t accept my credits, why would I choose it? Sometimes it’s all about money and what makes sense academically. Like you said, get it where you want.

          • miss t-lee

            Totally valid point. If your current school is feeding into a PWI, a move to an HBCU which may or may not accept your credits–is like shooting yourself in the foot.
            Definitely gotta do what’s best for you, and your pockets. In the long run, you’re the only one who has to live with those decisions, and/or tuition bills/loans, etc.

            • Sigma_Since 93

              cosign! At that point it’s not even about PWI or HBCU, it’s about how can I change my AA to a BS / BA in a little time as possible spending as little as possible.

              • miss t-lee

                Period.

            • Quirlygirly

              So True! I remember when I was in undergrad and I wanted to transfer to Howard. My credits didn’t transfer and they wanted a bit more that I could afford. I stayed my happy but at the school I was at. Graduated on time and was paying less in loans.

              • miss t-lee

                It’s really the way to do it. Gotta be smart.

    • Question

      Counterproductive all day. Like are Black folks really going toe to toe over where they choose to pursuit higher education? Baaaah. Just get the education and do something with it!

      • miss t-lee

        Hallelu.

    • “I have no dog in the PWI vs HBCU fight. It really seems counterproductive.”

      It is. I honestly didn’t see or hear of them much until social media came about. A bunch of people in their feelings but ultimately missing the end goal.

      • miss t-lee

        Yeah. And it is really like one dude on twitter who got all this shizz stirred up.

        • Eva_baby

          Soo… basically what you’re saying is this is kinda like the Starbucks Christmas cup? One guy…a whole lot of outrage?

          • I think so. No matter what cup or school you go to the point is to get the coffee or degree that you want and how you want it.

          • miss t-lee

            Hahahaha.
            Pretty much.
            Funny story: during December I decided to go inside and pick up my coffee at Starbucks, since it was a rare location with no drive thru. So as I’m sitting there waiting on my caramel macchiato. These two ladies that were in front of me pick up their drinks, and as they’re leaving they made it a point to scream MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!! at the baristas.
            Meanwhile the rest of us where there like…

        • Isn’t that how twitter works though. One guy says something and it gets RT’d by some guy who spends all day RT’ing things that they either don’t agree with or find asinine and there you have it.

          • miss t-lee

            LOL pretty much

        • PaddyfotePrincess

          I didn’t realize that.

          • The bulk of the bad ideas in the history of bad ideas were probably started by one guy. Said bad idea gets repeated more often than it should and the next thing you know natives are being shipped off to Oklahoma, Citadel Cadets are firing on Fort Sumter,Kid N’ Play have a Saturday morning cartoon, Iraq is invaded, and “all natural” peanut butter becomes a thing.

            • PaddyfotePrincess

              Smh. We need to do better. With all of the struggles and issues we face, where one chooses to matriculate shouldn’t even be in the mix.

              Oh well. Twitta fingers gon’ twitta finger.

          • miss t-lee

            Yeah…he’s made it his life’s work at this point.

      • PaddyfotePrincess

        I’m saying! Where did this come from? It’s hard for me to fathom that this has become such a heated debate.

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      If more smart black students realized the professional benefits of going to an HBCU, more would go, and “the race progresses”

      That’s the argument at least.

      I am skeptical about college as a whole.

      • miss t-lee

        I don’t really get that argument either. But hey…it’s all gravy.

        • Brooklyn_Bruin

          As a working white collar professional, the Greek/HBCU people stay networking with each other.

          Not saying that they get jobs quicker per se, but if I’m between gigs, I’m trawling LinkedIn like everyone else. Arranging informational meetings…

          And for certain ladies of distinction, it’s their entire social life and dating pool…until it’s time to join Links/ Boule/Jack and Jill.

          • miss t-lee

            Also, not everyone runs in those circles so you’re able to function without all that.
            It’s not my situation, never has been. Plenty folks out here functioning.

    • Carlisias

      The crazy thing about it is the majority of people who bring this up to me have never gone to college. They find out I’m a FSU Alumna and they tell me I went to the wrong school. The reality of the situation was I was trying to get far away from my mother as I could possibly get while staying in the same state. Plus, they gave me more money to pay for school. I was a first generation college student and that’s not an easy thing to be. I was just happy to be given a chance to improve my circumstances.

      • miss t-lee

        Personal choice and responsibility.
        I can dig it.

      • CamCamtheGreat

        GO NOLES!

        • Carlisias

          You better know it!

  • Stuck in moderation…

  • L8Comer

    I went to a PWI and a HBCU. But, in my personal life I’ve never experienced this type of “us vs. them” mentality or dialogue. I never felt guilty or exalted for going to a PWI. I grew up in a very diverse area with many successful black people including my parents, so going to a PWI in a very white town was a culture shock to me. I’d never seen so many white people at once. But it wasn’t hard for me to adapt and I found my people and stuck with them. I learned the demographic of town I went to school in was more representative of the US in general than where I grew up, so I took it as a learning experience.

    The worse thing I heard about HBCUs before attending was that administration sucks and they will fuck up you financial aid, and they aren’t highly ranked. The ranking didn’t bother me b/c job recruitment was on par with the best PWI and my alumni network is great. I was overly prepared and on top of my paper work so getting $ was never an issue. This too is more representative of the real world. When it comes to dealing with your health insurance company, government services or jobs, and many other things you have to be on top of your paper work, document, follow up, be persistent etc. So another learning experience.

    • Well suffice to say that the RU Screw allowed me to experience HBCU incompetence at a PWI. LOL

      • L8Comer

        Lol, meanwhile I didn’t experience the incompetence at either. But I’ve heard too many things to not believe it’s true

        • panamajackson

          The HBCU incompetence is real. Or at least it was when I was in college. Clark-Atlanta University admitted like 500 more freshman than they had housing for.

          My scholarship got revoked EVERY year i was at Morehouse. I had to go to the office and show them I was on scholarship and they were like…okay, cool. Problems solved.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            Maybe this and the faculty snob appeal have something to do with the perception that PWI’s are better. You don’t hear about the admissions office / financial aid incompetence and you rarely hear about a coveted professor choosing to teach at a HBCU

          • L8Comer

            *snickers* maybe they were trying to give you a lesson on the incompetence of the real world. I think I escaped it bc I was beyond prepared, I mean going up to school in person several times b4 the semester started like, “you sure you have Everything you need? Take this extra documentation, copies, and I’ll check back in a few weeks” I did. Not. Play. Also, i went to an hbcu for grad school and our financial aid office was separate from main campus (which I hear is still a mess). The financial aid ladies at my office were lovely. my last semester I filed for aid 3 days b4 school started (rough summer) and I still got my $ on time.

          • nillalatte

            I’m glad you mentioned this because I thought I was the only one who had problems at my HBCU because, well, you know. lol

            I was so frustrated when I enrolled my first semester. Two weeks it took me to get fully registered. TWO WEEKS! Dude, I stood in line like 3 hours just to be told the class that I chose was closed. Then they wanted me to trek across campus and get an adviser to sign/approve a change in registration. Shid. I went outside, signed that sh*t myself, and then went back in an registered for the class. I have no patience for BS.

            LOL.. my friend, Thomas, found me wandering around campus like the Rain Man on registration day. He escorted me around for a while until I got my bearings back. That’s how done I was. lol

      • To be fair, a lot of the people who do the lower end administrative work in Colleges, are people in their 20’s, either in or out of college. They also tend to think their jobs are beneath them (which is what most people in their early 20’s feel at entry level jobs lets be honest). These aren’t the kind of people you want in charge of your paperwork, but what can you do.

        • I know that’s true in a lot of places. Because I went to a state school, the lower ranking administration were 45+ and had this job because they had a connect in the government. They couldn’t be fired, and they generally acted like it.

          • Ahh, State Schools…so true. Funny how everything State oriented business always ends up remind you of the DMV: people mad at you for giving them your money.

      • marwilli

        The RU Screw allowed white people to experience what being black was like if for only a moment.

      • TeeChantel

        Don’t say those curse words LOL. I’m trying to forget my RU Screw experience.

      • NoGames

        I have friends who said the same… This isn’t a BLACK or HBCU experience…in many regards it is just the college experience!

    • fxd8424

      Most all of what I ever heard about HBCUs, except for those that attended of course, were from those who had never stepped foot through any college door, and drank too much of the Kool-Aid that said black anything was inferior. SMH.

      • L8Comer

        Yes, I will say the worse things I heard (that I wouldn’t get a job, it would be a waste of $, don’t do it) was from one particularly nasty woman who had never attended and was offering unsolicited advice.

    • Asiyah

      “so going to a PWI in a very white town was a culture shock to me. I’d never seen so many white people at once.”

      I understand what you mean. College was the first time I saw so many white people in my classes lol

      • L8Comer

        Lol, my whole pre-college life was diverse and IENO it. My parents told me this often growing up and I was just like, yeah, yeah, yeah I get it. But I really didn’t. Now, I’m back home and I’m not leaving.

  • Brandon Allen

    I want to co-sign the continuation of entire circles attending big PWI’s for grad school AND then subsequently moving to black mecca cities. I feel like one issue is with cohesion with the black zeitgeist after you finish school. You may have had a great collegiate experience but most public universities are small college towns. That experience leaves you behind socially than people who spent 4 years navigating Atlanta and DC and moved to major centers like LA and NYC with that network.

  • I got nothing for this PWI vs HBCU debate. My school is statistically PW, but it’s in the hood so there’s always black folk about the place. I didn’t feel gipped of the chance to extol my blackness, as my alma mater was firmly entrenched in civil and social issues and was the first to offer a Ph.D. in African American studies.

    Maybe it was the proximity to so many black folks of all ilk, professionals, intellectuals, blue-collar workers, crackheads, p!imps, etc, that made me feel like I was surrounded by the totality of my people, but I never felt like I missed out a particularly black experience.

    • fxd8424

      It don’t get no blacker than Cecil B. Moore Avenue and that crowd.

    • but…. the HBCU experience isnt about *not* missing out on a Black experience, per se. the physical location of an institution or how many Black ppl are around is not a substitute. for instance, Atlanta is Black af and yet students at Emory,GA State, GA Tech, Agnes Scott do not quite have a comparable undergraduate experience to students at CAU, Morehouse, Spelman, Morris Brown (rip). there’s so much more than “Black folk about the place” and “extolling Blackness” and being “entrenched in civil and social issues” that differentiates the experiences. one isnt better or Blacker than another, its just different.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        From the lunch lady, to the faculty, to the band, the experience is different.

        • from the financial aid staff to the dorm competitions to the homecomings – not even close.

    • Michelle

      Ditto. I had gone to a PWI: a Catholic college for women, but based off of campus life, you would’ve thought it was a college for non- white students.

  • Marc.J.H.

    What causes comments to be held in moderation? Is it because I went to a PWI? lol jk

    • Kelly Kell

      Conspiracy! I went to a PWI and my comment was held. LOL

      • Marc.J.H.

        Just when we thought the lightskin vs darkskin BS was our only divide.

    • RewindingtonMaximus

      Certain words and cuss words cause Disqus to moderate, so just watch how you put it. If you curse, space the letters out like t h i s, and you’ll be fine.

    • panamajackson

      Definitely. And even we’re confused. I just pulled a bunch out of moderation.

    • TeeChantel

      Disqus has been acting up all week.

      • LMNOP

        That time of the month probably. Everything just sounds like cussing to disqus this week.

  • Val

    I’m so pro-HBCU that I don’t even want to get into this discussion. I’m just glad that Damon and PJ are spreading the VSB gospel far and wide. Keep up the good work guys.

    • I mean they are our institutions. Gotta stan for them anyway we can. PWIs will survive with or without any Black support.

      • AshAlly08

        You can support the HBCUs and the black students who attend PWIs. It’s not an either/or discussion.

  • L8Comer

    Glad you’re friendship survived! I had a similar thing happen with one of my long time besties, it took a while, but we got through it too lol!

    • Kelly Kell

      So am I. I learned from it too though. Maybe it was just youth and lack of exposure, but I definitely laughed with people that clowned “oreos” when I was younger in Bmore. Not proud. I would never call someone that outloud, but this black girl my first year of college from an all-white community in Long Island seemed to read my thoughts and schooled me. A black person telling another black person they are not black–and they both identify as such (excluding the delusionals)–especially when you have not walked in their shoes, is such a slap in the face and insult to our history. There are as many ways to be black as there are black people. Freedom is a beautiful thing, including freedom to be you.

      • fxd8424

        “There are as many ways to be black as there are black people.”

        Thank you. I always say the same thing. There is no one way to be black. BP are just as exhausting as WP sometimes. We put each other in neat little boxes and complain when WP treat us as though we’re monolithic.

        • Quirlygirly

          It is human nature- overall we(as humans) like conformity and clear lines, boxes all neat with a bow

      • L8Comer

        We all have things in our youth that we are not proud of. I used to call my own sister an oreo. Was it playful banter with a bit of a sting? Sure, that’s what I thought. But she understood it in harsher terms. The teasing hurt her feelings and I didn’t fully understand the gravity of what I was saying. When we know better, we do better.

        Exactly. I’ve said this before and so have many others: Are we a monolith or not? Of course,we are not. So why the exclusion? In my experience, that kind of talk comes from a place of insecurity or ignorance.

  • Brooklyn_Bruin

    This ain’t really the place for this, but I often wonder how much of the PWI thing is an unintended brain drain of the community.

    *lights nag champa*
    *pours out kombucha libations*

    • Really Ninja?

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        I was rocking RBG when it wasn’t cool! Indulge me.

        But seriously, a lot of the recent empires being built are a couple cs folks in a dorm room saying wouldn’t it be cool if..

        Incubation is what college is for wealth nowadays. Most brothers I know in tech run other folks empires. They make good salaries, but never kiss my black behind money.

        by siphoning off some of our best and brightest there are probably some lost opportunities.

        • There’s more than one way to make it. Maybe he might end up funding the cat who gets the F you money. Many paths and all that.

          • Brooklyn_Bruin

            I’m talking about several generations and millions of black kids who are now middle class adults hoping the economy doesn’t turn.

            Need to start me “Hoteps with 401K’s” blog . Sorry for the distraction

        • Brass Tacks

          I cant say I disagree with this sentiment.

    • -h.h.h.-
    • Sigma_Since 93

      Please help me to understand how putting your head in the sand about the PWI / HBCU future employment issue is going to help the community????

      I love the show Suits; one of the mantas of the fictitious legal firm is that they only hire Harvard grads. While this show is fiction, there is some truth to employers attempting to harvest classes at “premiere PWI’s” Goldman Sachs wasn’t checking my grad school, a PWI, for it’s next class of econ modelers; they went to Duke.

      I don’t drink the kool aid but many companies still think the US News collegiate report on colleges is gospel. If you are a parent or a child that’s college age, what do you do with what you see playing out in front of you?

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        Not sure what you’re responding to, but to keep in character

        Our best trained
        Best educated
        best equipped
        Best trained
        Best prepared

        Troops refuse to fight..

        You guys know the rest.

        Speaking to your point directly, part of the overall problem for the black community’s economic growth is that it’s is largely dependent on the benevolence of others.

        One of the things I notice on the periphery of HBCU circles is that their professional skills tend to be beyond reproach. But economically and power at the job wise, they’re limited because they have to work within the constraints.

        Folks holler at me wanting to leave their good jobs and open catering businesses or bread and breakfast spots.

        Eddie Huang talks about this a lot when he talks about Asians in corporate America.

        But this might not be the right venue

        • Knowledge god

        • Sigma_Since 93

          “black community’s economic growth is that it’s is largely dependent on the benevolence of others.”

          This is still applicable at HBCU’s too; from the White Quaker benefactor, to the White Corporate Endowment.

          “One of the things I notice on the periphery of HBCU circles is that their professional skills tend to be beyond reproach. But economically and power at the job wise, they’re limited because they have to work within the constraints.”

          I agree. The gold is in the C Suite and we haven’t gotten the key yet to make wholesale and lasting change.

More Like This