There is something so irritating when you as a Black person are told that “You sound white.” I have heard this since I was about 9 or 10 years old.
I’ve been reading since 4, writing since 8, and as of this publishing, I have 2 degrees and working on at least one more. I have college educated parents, with sharecroppers, and farmers for grandparents. I an speak AAVE and corporate. I am 5’10” tall, and am a writer. There is nothing about me that is or could be conceived as ‘White’ or ‘trying to be White.’
The fact that my people, whom were murdered for learning how to read and write, have this ensconced reflex to call other Black people who are educated trying to be white. Or saying, “You sound White.”
I will say that there are some Black folk who believe that once they have achieved a college education, all Black folk who don’t have one are less than them. This is how insidious anti-intellectualism works! This is how we got QANON! Whew!
I, as a Black woman whom values education, learning and likes to read doesn’t make me ‘trying to be White.’ I, as a Black woman whom is college educated, is no better than a Black woman whom doesn’t have one. The rub is when education is still seen as something that can either lessen your Blackness or something that only White people can have!
Pro-tips as we break this curse of internalized anti-intellectualism:
- ) There are several types of ways to be smart.
- ) There are several types of education.
- ) College education doesn’t make you superior.
- ) A high school diploma doesn’t make you ineligible for going beyond that later.
- ) BEING AN ACADEMICALLY SMART BLACK PERSON DOESN’T MAKE YOU TRYING TO BE WHITE.
I said all of this with my chest, meant all I said, and I will never tire of saying so.
Black people can be anything–and the white gaze should not be the measuring rod for any achievement.
Gon’ on, with that therre.