A total stranger engaged me in discussion the other night. He asked me, and I quote.
Did you attend a HBCU or a predominately white college?
Now, I am being serious when I tell you, as I told him, I've never been asked that question quite that way before. I laughed at the notion of him asking me that and then asked him, why did you ask me where I've been to college in that particular manner?
He seemed confused at the question, I clarified and he told me,
I need to get a feel for where you are as far as your colonization is concerned?
What the FUCK??
After I stopped laughing at him, I told him where I'd done my matriculation (the man didn't know what matriculation is; btw, he's an educator, go figure) and wasn't sure if attending an HBCU versus a predominately white institution of higher learning really would have THAT great an influence on my "colonization".
Oh yes! It does... you can become lost and brainwashed if you attend a white school!
What the FUCK??
He then proceeded to explain why it is important for black people to immerse themselves in their culture and that this can only happen in an HBCU. I respectfully disagreed. I went into my classism is toxic routine, basically informing him that the state of one's colonization is depended on the environment one is exposed to BEFORE entering college and that it was MY observation that HBCU's were full of black kids who didn't have the vaguest idea who they were before they showed up at school and therefore spent 4+ years having all the colonization washed off them. This, in contrast with black kids who have a vague idea of who they are before showing up at school and being "BLACK" within the confines of the "colony".
He seemed confused and really wanted to argue about it. Unfortunately, I don't argue with people who apparently just discovered there was a colony and they were/are part of the matrix of that colony and now want to "save" everyone else from the colony.
OH, did I mention, an earlier discussion with this same man resulted in his insistence that any PROPER understanding of who you are as a black person in America HAD to include embracing everything Huey Newton stood for and that Richard Wright didn't speak for black men in America.
What the FUCK??
So this second conversation was my attempt to make sure I wasn't just tired that evening and just took his words as foolishness. I hadn't. Dude actually has militant tendencies and absolutely no clue what to do with them. Damned shame actually, he seemed so... aware, there for a second.
So, anyway, concerning my "colonization". I am, as noted on several occasions, made note of my racial stature, cultural immersion, and focus on my community. I didn't bother telling him... for now. He thinks he has something to give me. I"ll let him think that... for now. No sense in breaking his spirit right out the gate, right?
Oh well, I'll update you on HIS "colonization" as soon as I pry it out of him. (why is it, they expect you to tell ALL your bidness in the first conversation, yet don't want to give up any self revelation? mmmmm?)
Keep on being who you are people... the colony is watching!!
You gotta love his 3 pointer, for real doe...
Jay and his friend Will have been studying Japanese their entire high school careers. Rather fluent, I catch them insulting each other or laughing at something in their second language all the time. This trip is something they've talked about for more than a year and they've worked hard to prepare for it.
When I tell people this, they look at me and smile. "Oh, how nice!" as if black boys aren't supposed to do anything with their talents. Jay is a gifted artist, Will does things with graphic design that are quite impressive. Why shouldn't they take their raw talent and turn it into something bigger and better? Why don't people have the same words of encouragement for black boys that they have for every other child that announces their dreams with grins on their faces?
I stood in the north parking lot of the high school yesterday morning watching the parents of the other 4 kids (6 of them in all) pick at their clothing and reminded them to take medicine and enjoy themselves. I told my two charges to make sure to "listen"... to absorb the culture with more than their eyes and tongues; to hear the people as they speak, to smell the aromas of the cities and towns and villages, to touch things, people, lives. I told them to "become Japanese" if only for 9 days, because this is their opportunity to see the place they've always wanted to see...FOR THE FIRST TIME, because subsequent visits will never be quite like this one.
As this is a field study, they are all required to keep journals. Jay will be writing, Will took his video camera and record his experience digitally. This is his first flight, so I'm sure there will be much to be said on THAT experience alone. They are being sponsored by the school board, so they will be giving a presentation on their visit when they get home. I will help them with the presentaion and can't wait to see all the pictures and video. Editing it all into something they will be able to show their grandchildren one day, will be fun. I can't wait.
Safe travels Jay, Will, Chris, Gabe, Dijah, Raquel and a special THANK YOU to Sensai Dawnielle for facilitating this opportunity for you!