Monday, June 30, 2014

Answer me this Question......?


Over the weekend I ran a 5K HBCU race. I have wanted to run a 5K for a long time and when I saw that it was an HBCU event I had to do it. I was very excited. And I finished! Yay!

Now clearly from the abovementioned statement, you can guess that I am a graduate of an Historically Black College/University. South Carolina State University to be exact. Not only am I a graduate of “State”… but so are my parents. That’s where they met. I have a slew of aunts, uncles and cousins who all went to State. It’s what we do. I have a cousin who is a 96 grad and her parents met at State like my parents. I do have 1 cousin who didn’t go to State… She went to Claflin! That’s a huge joke in our family… at her expense… because State and Claflin are separated only by a literal fence. State is what we do in our family.

I grew up going to private/Catholic schools. I never from K-12th grade had a Black teacher, administrator or principal. There were no Black janitors, secretaries or lunch ladies. Nothing. I went from seeing all white people to seeing all Black people. State was/is 99.7% African American. The few white instructors that were there were suing the school for racist practices, claiming they were being overlooked for promotions because they were white. Imagine how they must have felt knowing that if a student accused them of being racist towards Black people they would, no doubt, lose their jobs. How’s that for flipping the script! Who is the revolutionary now?

When I graduated form State I walked into my graduate program of choice. I didn’t have to take any special remediation classes. I received a full tuition scholarship to a majority Dental School. But if I had that to do over…. I’d go to Meharry, Howard or Norfolk, no matter the money. I detested my time at UMDNJ-NJDS. It was like being on line for 4 years and the racism wasn’t even hidden. I had to put up or shut up. Because if you know anything about professional school. There is no going to another school. You leave the school…. Then you’re done with that profession. There is no transfer or anything like that. I finished. Because I always finish what I start.

Why Serenity, are your panties in a twist??? Well after still being super amped after the race, I ran into a God, who I knew was Black Greek and a college grad. I told him about my race, and encouraged him to run next year. He said he didn’t go to a HBCU. I didn’t know that, though it seems like I should. I think the Greek thing mixed me up. Anywho… I know how this dance goes amongst folks who didn’t Go Black. He started telling me how he learned he was Black in college and got all revolutionary.

Do all Black students who go to majority institutions need to be told that? I didn’t. I was well aware that I was Black. My parents were the 60’s marching, separate but equaling, right to voting, freedom riding, boycotting folks. Not the 70’s Black Powering folks. They lived Jim Crow in the deep south. They knew they were Black and let me know I was Black too. They knew I wasn’t getting a real Black History education at school so they supplemented it with books, trips, flash cards, etc. Oh… I knew who I was and who the devil is. And my parents weren’t even righteous!

Let me tell you something…. In my entire life… only 1 white person has judged me to my face for having gone to a HBCU. Just 1. But all the Black people who go to majority institutions feel some kind of way about my education. A group of women visiting my roommate when I was in dental school called what I got, a “substandard segregated education.” Them bitches ain’t had nothing for me. I said, “Hmmm…. You might be right. But last time I checked the rate limiting step for glycolosis is phosphofructo kinase. And that’s at any school you go to whether it be Harvard or a community college. Also… yes I am the only HBCU graduate in this room and I am also the only person who walked out of college and into their chosen graduate program. I didn’t need to stop and take remedial coursework. So…….” Then I drove them in my car to the airport. My roommate didn’t have one and no one brought theirs.

This is my question…. Why do non HBCU graduates have opinions about those of us who chose to go to one? Like I said, white people don’t care. The argument that white employers will know your Black because of your school only holds up if white people have heard of the school in the 1st place. My given name does not at all sound Black. Especially my maiden last name. I look like a white girl on paper and have always gotten interviewed. White people aren’t sitting there with a list of Black colleges to cross check applications with. The only people who would know just off the tops of their heads are other Black people.

So again… why do other Black folks have issues with HBCU’s??? I’d really like to know. It’s not because of how proudly we rep our schools. Precise is a Syracuse University graduate and wears NOTHING but SU para when he isn’t working. I say rep whatever school you love. That’s your right. I hear non-HBCU folks telling high school children not to go to a Black school. Why? That’s gonna be the question of the day. Why damnnit? And if your reasons are so wonderful why are you scared to say them to our faces?

And remember that the statistic of more Black people going to majority institutions is misleading. Yes more Black students GO to majority institutions. But more Black students GRADUATE from HBCU’s. They aren’t getting passes and hook ups just because they are Black schools. I earned my B.S. degree. HBCU’s have to be accredidated just like majority schools in order to qualify for money, or make the degree meaningful. There are rules and regulations about who can graduate and who can’t. So again……

And as far as being a revolutionary goes…. I’ll let y’all fight the fight since that’s what you trained for. But I trained to handle the power once the fighting is over.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Create out of Nothing....


This is not a spooky post.

Sometimes…. We have to create our own conditions and reality. I find that is the most difficult thing to do.

Think about this…. When you have a desire, where did said desire come from? Chances are you saw someone who had what you want or something so similar that it was easy to draw that up in your mind. But what happens when you desire something that you’ve never seen before? Serenity how is that possible? Did the Wright brothers ever see a plane before? Did Alexander Graham Bell ever use a telephone before? Did Eli Whitney’s slaves ever see a cotton gin?

It’s easy to create something based on a design set forth from another. The founding members of Alpha Phi Alpha were Black men on a white college campus. There were other fraternities on Cornell’s campus. Not that they could join. But they started a tradition that didn’t just include that chapter of that particular frat, but the entire ”Divine Nine” that followed and still follows. Those men created something that did exist prior but made it so different that it doesn’t really match what it was based on.

But what happens when you want something that never existed before? Now YOU must be the sole entity to conceive, create and manifest your goal…. And that is scary. How will you know what to expect? How will you know if you are progressing? How will you know if you’re successful? There is so much that can go amiss. But whether you are successful or not… You did something. You learned something. And of that, you can be proud.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014



I liked my life whenever I have ever been a student. Learning has always given my life direction. Because of that I consider myself a life long learner. I say ‘learner’ and not ‘student’ because I often become an unofficial student. You don’t necessarily have to be registered in a course at a school to take on a curriculum.

I feel sorry for people who don’t have “hobbies.” I see hobbies as a way of relaxing in pure enjoyment. You either get to be alone or surrounded by like minded people in a good mood doing something they love. Hobbies are useful as long as you see it that way. I sew, I read, I garden, I cook and I love them. But I don’t do any of that for money. I do it because I enjoy it. I could sew, landscape and cook for money, but then I would have to consider all the other things that I would have to do to make the venture profitable and I would no longer enjoy it. When I was a child and began sewing, as soon as I was proficient, my mother started taking in alterations. Alterations isn’t garment creation. Far from it. I HATED doing that kind of work. It almost made me quit sewing. Not every hobby needs to generate income. It’s alright to do something you love, because you love it. I’m not saying don’t seek employment in an area that you love and excel in. But that’s not the end all to be all.

I also like to learn things that although may be interesting to me, but probably won’t serve a useful purpose to most people. That’s alright for many reasons. Just because one person doesn’t find the information I find useful, doesn’t mean it isn’t. That implies that usefulness is determined externally. It isn’t. I have been taking classes in midwifery. Lots of people find that course of study useless, but ask the woman in her car... in labor… in traffic… if my certificate is useless.

I have wanted to learn a foreign language for a few years now. I could never settle on which language to learn. I took Spanish and French in school but never became proficient in either. I can sing the French National Anthem and I have a slight fluency in Espanol. 15 years ago I worked in a dental clinic where almost 50% of the patients where Spanish speaking patients. The other 50% where Arabic speaking patients. There where Arabic speaking doctors employed at the clinic so they took all those patients but what do we do about the Spanish ones? We had Spanish speakers employed at the clinic but the patients were told to bring translators which were usually their children pulled out of school. The Spanish speaking staff was not allowed to translate for them. The theory behind that rule was that if they knew there were people who would translate, then they wouldn’t bring their own.

What do you do if you have a patient sitting in your chair, sans a translator looking at you? You start picking up phrases. I got good enough to converse with my patients about their dental needs and even became conversational outside the clinic. The staff seemed impressed that I was willing to learn their language and taught me a bunch of words and when it was appropriate to use them. And the staff was from all over South America. I learned that Spanish is different to people from Puerto Rico to Mexico to Peru etc. When I left that job and moved out of state I lost a lot of it. But it was easy to pick up because it was still in there, just dusty. I knew a lot of words and was good on conjugating verb so it was just a matter of learning new words. I was on a roll too. Until….

I did the knowledge to Spain… the mother tongue of Spanish. Somehow, someway, it had slipped my mind that Spanish was no more an “Original” language than English was. When I think of the Spanish people I come in contact with every day, they aren’t Spaniards. The are Brown people form South America. I had forgotten. I did the Knowledge to the history of South American countries and was met with the brutality of Spanish colonization. I don’t want another slaveholders tongue in my mouth. Bye bye Spanish…..

Since then I have been looking for another language to learn. Asian languages are to hard and write in characters. That’s 2 new things to learn. The language and the writing style. I haven’t come to terms with how I feel about Hindus. Don’t judge me. Yes they are Original, but many of them have sold out. There are SEVERAL dialects to choose within that language. And that is true with most African languages. Arabic and Hebrew are associated with spooky religions. I don’t want that either. So far…. Amharic and Swahili are languages I am willing to investigate.

Why Amharic language when I just said I didn’t like Arabic or Hebrew. If you do the Knowledge to Amharic (and I’m not even sure that that is the correct name to call it, but it comes up when you Google it) it is in the same family (Semitic) as Arabic and Hebrew. It is a language of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is the only country in Africa and the world to never fall victim to devil colonization. It is the only pure and untouched place on this planet. Original people should treasure it as the Jews and Fundamentalist Christians treasure Israel. But... it might be hard to find a proper teacher and the written language is in Ge'ez, another character written words. I don't think I want to learn Ge'ez. So I will be able to speak it but not read and write it.

Ethiopia also falls in what our degrees call the “Root of Civilization.” If you consider plate tectonics and what the planet looked like a millennia ago, Ethiopia/Cush, India and Egypt/Kemet where all in the same locale. Squished up against each other. One could say it was the same country. So considering that this tongue is as Original as we can find where people are still speaking it, and in the prime Original location. I’ll take it!

Swahili is another contender. It’s more West African. And even though as an American Black person, I will Never be sure of where my family originates in Africa…. I’m assuming it would be on the west side. But Swahili speakers fall into the category of people who have been indoctrinated with the devil’s Culture. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I have also read that Swahili might be one of the oldest languages still spoken. And it's written in the Latin characters that we already know. So I'd be able to read and write Swahili.

A friend of mine (whose motivations I question) asked me why I would “waste my time” learning something so obscure. Why not learn Spanish so I can interact with the people on Beaufort Highway? For me everything isn’t financially motivated. I recognize that money has its place, but my personal satisfaction is equally as important. I seek to balance the two. If I never learned another non-English word, I’d have what I have now; since I don’t speak another language at the time of this present writing. My money won’t be compromised. So why not learn something for the joy of learning?