You think you know me?
Stereotypes tied with your unmalleable mind is no match for a queen
Carrying the spirit of my ancestors
Walking rebelliously in solidarity with my kin
Decaying box with my name on it starving from my resistance
I have not fed it the assimilation it needs to survive

**I do not have any rights to the picture that was used.

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It’s Lit: Professionalism microscope with a dash of sin

I do not know about you, but I like to have 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 drinks, before I know it I could be drinking a whole bottle of wine or tequila *wink. I am only kidding on the bottle of tequila, but whatever floats your boat as long as you are safe and within your limit.

I am 25 going on 26 and I am currently walking on a thin tightrope. Tightropes seem to be thin anyway, but I will leave the “thin” just for your wondrous imagination. I have moved into the full-time professional world and if you ask me, what is professionalism anyway? In many aspects, it tries to put you in a box and as you walk towards the box you hear a faint voice in the distance saying “assimilation… conformity” Who wants that? not to mention the classism among other things that come into play when talking about professionalism.

Moving into the professional world as someone who is young you may feel the watchful eye behind your back. Yes, we should all be great examples and we all want to live too and or just have a drink when we want to have a drink. Just because people do not see everything I do that does not mean I am better than the next person. I can be described as someone who has “no chill” and yes I am very much an introvert and rule follower. What is life without breaking some rules? just a life without breaking rules and therefore you do not get the opportunity to see how much they bend.

Breaking rules do not necessarily mean breaking the law or doing anything that could potentially get you arrested. That last sentence alone could have me go on a rant about the justice system, but not the time or place. Sometimes you have to break the rules to get to where you want to be or break your own rules so you can live beyond your comfort zone.

By saying I occasionally get drunk, have been high before, not a virgin, known to curse up a storm or whatever else you feel may be “unholy” or “taboo” is letting you know that I have indulged in things that some see as sin or unprofessional.

But again, what is professionalism anyway…

PWI and Racial America

I was interviewing a student for the program that I work for and I was not expecting to pause and have a conversation about this student’s experience. We talk about building rapport, getting to know a student, and allowing them to open up on their terms.

Having just met, asking the following question was on their terms. How do you cope? the student asked. I thought “How do I cope with being Black in America, with being Black in a predominantly white office, with Being a Black Woman…”

Before I thought in depth about their question I said, “I rant to my friends.” I may have ranted to Snapchat a couple times too. Providing more clarity I told the student that I am at a point where I try to speak up when I experience microaggressions, I reach out to those who are close to me who understand my experiences, and I do not get comfortable. Although, this is my first year in this position I try not to hold back.”Sometimes you experience something and think, am I trippin’? am I being too sensitive? and that is one of the issues with microaggressions.” I told the student that what they deal with unfortunately does not change if they were in my position or in a position higher than mine. I said, “I am not saying this to discourage you and I want to keep it 100.”

I struggled as I told them to create their experience and if they decide to transfer then I support that decision as well. I struggled because “you are not going to destroy the imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy by creating your own version of it” (bell hooks). So what do you do?

Those who are privileged do not understand the preparation it takes to take a step outside of wherever you live (maybe even inside your “home”) and face society. Especially given our current political climate. Before I move passed this do you understand that people are afraid to step out of their homes? that people’s families are being torn a part? and that people are getting killed and the criminal is serving  zero time? Yes, the police. They, the privileged, do not understand that it takes strength to figure out how to face each day without using a colorful choice of words to refrain from being labeled.

I cannot speak from a lense outside of PWI’s but they are notorious as you know (or may not know because you are the epitome of privilege) for not supporting their students with underrepresented identities. Yes, there are specific offices (are you following me here) that do great work across the United States to support underrepresented populations and Universities as a whole (still following me?) need to do better. “Add and stir” is a method multiple Universities keep investing in without changing the hegemonic systems that create inequity.

I ask if you are following me because often there is not University buy in. I am talking about buy in beyond mentioning it in the mission and pointing everyone’s brother, sister, aunties girlfriends’ cousin to that one office. You know, the one called “Office of Diversity Affairs” or “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.” Catch my drift?

As faculty and staff (including all the “higher ups”) have a responsibility to the campus climate. No, I cannot sit in an office working with underrepresented students and not seek out opportunities to learn more about them, what identities they hold, and their experiences on and off campus.

This effort starts with the person you look at in the mirror and do not get comfortable.

#Disrupt #NoAssimilation

“Dominator culture has tried to keep us all afraid, to make us choose safety instead of risk, sameness instead of diversity. Moving through that fear, finding out what connects us, reveling in our differences; this is the process that brings us closer that gives us a world of shared values, of meaningful community” (bell hooks).