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1.29.2009

You Don't Know Me



I've decided that I want to share 30 secrets about myself over the next few days. I'm not sure why, but I'll share them all once I get them together. Currently my gmail status is the outlet. I'm going to see where it goes from there.

I usually do a few a day, and Secret #8 is: I used to (and still do in some situations) absolutely hate admitting to my educational background... I feel like people miss who I really am in all that.

From a very early age, my mother stressed and pushed good education. She did what she had to to ensure that I got the best education possible. That meant private school, and then I was accepted into a prestigious university afterwards.

My high school is very well known in the Southeast and holds it's own even in the face of the more popular and older Northeastern boarding schools. But of course in my hometown, everyone knew about the Garret* kids. Our uniforms gave us away and we had a reputation for being smarter than smart.

Truth is, I went to high school with a lot of not-so smart kids and that the difference between my high school and my public school friends' high schools was that we were afforded opportunities that they weren't, but ultimately, it was up to us to take advantage of those opportunities. You can see that in the fact that of the 14 other black students (and I highlight this demographic for a reason) I graduated with 5 years ago, 3 of us have a college degree, 2-3 are still in school and the rest... well... who knows?

I set all that up because I hate when people find out about my educational background and use that as their basis for judging me. Usually in the end, I'm deemed not black enough, not down enough and stuck-up. Over the years I've come to not really care what people think about my "blackness" because ultimately that's not for someone to give or take away from me. However, I am bothered by this thought that because I have had, admittedly, great educational opportunities, I'm not who I am solely because of that. It has shaped a lot of who I am an dhas given me so many awesome experiences that other people can only dream about. But I am who I am not because of the schools I can say I attended, but because of my life's experiences inside and outside of the classroom.

More than that, I find myself disturbed that people want to make me feel small because of it. As I've gotten older, I've learned that some of it is intimidation. People think they will feel stupid talking to me and they try to beat me to the punch. I take great care to make anyone I come in contact with feel comfortable talking to me because feeling intimidated is never a good thing.

My intimidation factor is a whole other issue.

Anyway -- you don't know me unless you know me, and there's no way you can know me if you're taking all your opinions of me from 2 facts: where I went to highschool and where I went to college. And Lord, don't get me started on "talking white..."

*Not really the name of my school.

6 comments:

Keith said...

I went through the same thing when I would come home from college and try to kick it with my friends in the neighborhood. They used to jokingly call me "College Boy"
I got used to it.

A.Smith said...

I've learned that some people do it out of jealousy. In some ways that helps me, in other ways it bothers me further. But hey, it is what it is, I suppose.

American Black Chick in London said...

I went through the same thing when I went to college, but mainly from my extended family members claiming I wasn't "really black". I grew up with my parents (especially my dad) pushing the importance of education, so I eventually learned awhile ago to ignore the folks who question my blackness (because of education, how I dress, what I listen to, what I eat, etc) and just do me.

A. Red said...

Don't let it get your down A.Smith! Be thankful you were blessed to receive all that you have. I've dated some guys who used to do the same thing to me. It consequently caused me a few relationships because the guys were indeed intimidated by me. It ridiculous and quite pathetic, but I refuse to change who I am or feel bad for pushing myself to do great things.

glennishamorgan said...

lol I guess everybody are doing these now. i just did one on Facebook lol.

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