“Wannabe’s” or simply wanting to professional?
Published: Friday, September 6, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2013 12:09
As an African-American student, who has read Simmons article, I would say that African-American students have a hard time adjusting into any setting that is out of the norm for them, just as any other culture, race or religion would.
Yes, there is a difference in the way we talk to professors and the way we speak around our friends but it isn’t a matter of insecurity or wanting to be someone else. The dialectical changes that we make are more to be professional than to change who we truly are. Some may say ‘Oh, this person acts too white, or too black,’ but whose definition are we using?
I lived in a majority black neighborhood until I was 13 years old and preparing to go to high school. My mom threw a curve ball and wanted better for me and my siblings, so we moved to the suburbs, a predominantly white suburban area that is. Needless to say, my first year of high school kicked my butt. I hated it and I never spoke out for myself or my culture because I did not feel important or that anyone would hear me, I did not even feel intelligent.
Being in advanced placement classes, feeling like the mistake on the attendance sheet, was not fun. My first day of classes were filled with questions such as “Are you sure you’re in the right class?” from the teachers, but I could not blame them, they had been segregated so long that my presence obviously confused them. I did not want to be there, but it was the best change that I could have ever experienced.
In middle school, I was called “the white girl” for loving Pop music, for singing country tunes, for pronouncing every little of my words, but I laughed it off because I was one of the most diverse African-Americans there. Then, I did not care if I was judged because these were people of my own race, but after the switch, the smallest judgmental comments affected me. I became bitter with white people all together, but I learned to overcome ignorance and hate and be the intelligent individual that I am.
If it wasn’t for me overcoming those negative thoughts I would still be stuck in a bubble. Branching out would not have been an option, but I knew what I wanted despite anyone else’s decision. Embracing your culture is important but being professional is what will move and drive you farther.
My freshman year of high school I remember being one of the students that said “you’re too white-washed, I don’t like you,” and I was wrong. He just carried himself in a professional manner and took all advanced class just like me… so what am I?
Not only am I a first generation student, I am also the first on my mom’s side to get a actually high school diploma. My family doesn’t think I am trying to be white, because they know that someone had to set the bar for the thirty grandchildren under me. I know that if I would have went to high school in that black neighborhood, I would have never been influenced to farther my education and I would not have a passion or a career path ahead of me.
If you go into a all black high school or even college you will find those few white students who are then considered ”trying to be black.” It is a never ending observation. What about the first generation Hispanic students who can barely speak English? Yes, they feel out of place, probably even beyond scared straight because they don’t even speak the language at all but they are choosing to higher their education. People look at blacks differently because of their slang, but there are students struggling to learn a portion of the English language.
I do not think a culture course would make any sense. We want the world to be different and we enjoy having a different background, almost like a secret getaway, from others, and I think that of any culture. If everyone knew the details of each culture through study what would we have to verbally share with one another?