This article makes me so damned mad. Because this, Ciarra: every year in October I get the extraordinary honor to speak at the SREB conference, which is the largest gathering of minority (mostly Black ) PhD students in the country. This year will be my 17th. Folks can’t even begin to know what it feels like to sit in an audience of Black and Brown faces and listen to these newly-minted PhDs give about a minute’s worth of talk about their journey to that mortarboard. It scorches my panty hose every single year. You just sit and sob. And every year the room gets more full as more Black and Brown PhDs graduate with degrees in every imaginable field of study. That I get to go play with many of America’s best and brightest is one of the great highlights of my year. These people dodge a lot more than racism. Some of them dodge bullets, suffer the loss of family members, work multiple jobs. They do whatever it takes to earn that doctorate. They EARN it. Some from my classes stay in touch. I get to watch their careers take them all over the world, all over creation. No moneyed-Hollywood hotshot scam got them into a school (for which said mediocre star or silver spoon children neither had the grades nor the excellence). Blood, sweat, tears and the suffering of jeers..and real excellence. I am, every year, in awe. Just in awe.
Well it must be because….
I don’t know whether to scream or cry. I just don’t. It simply takes my breath away, Ciarra. It just does.
This piece, especially in the face of that college admissions scam, just goes to the heart of white (and rich) entitlement, the right to the very best whether or not your average white bread little kid deserves it.
Hard to read. Reality often is. It BITES. I wait for a female Black President. A majority of Black women in the House and Senate. SREB places many of those PhDs as faculty, which helps students of color stick with it. Inches, not miles. I hope I’m still alive to see the day. My mother didn’t live to see Obama win. I may not see this. But I can bloody well hope. And I vote.
Finally, I love your phrase violent fragility. It speaks to the diseased heart of self hate that drives the need to diminish. There are so many layers to your choice of words that I truly hope you will write an article on just that.
Thank you for a difficult, important and rewarding read.