movie comment--american violet *spoiler alert*

this part is from an email i got:
American Violet
tells the amazing story of a young, single mother swept up in an unjust, out-of-control drug raid that targets the Black community in a small town in Texas. The film is based on true events and it examines how our country's drug laws and enforcement practices target African-Americans, and how the justice system uses threats and intimidation to steer people towards guilty pleas, regardless of their innocence or the evidence against them.
The film is inspired by the real life story of Regina Kelly, an African-American, single mother of four girls who was arrested in 2000 in a military-style drug raid. The raid resulted in the arrest of nearly 15% of the town's young Black male population for felony cocaine distribution. Kelly was innocent. Her name, along with the names of many others arrested (nearly all African-American), were given to police by a single, highly unreliable informant with personal reasons to antagonize her. Despite Kelly's innocence, she was urged to plead guilty by her family and even her public defender so that she could return to her children and receive a minimal sentence. A felony conviction, however, would have resulted in the loss of her right to vote and the public assistance programs on which her family depended, not to mention the tainting of her personal reputation and her ability to obtain employment. She chose to maintain her plea of not guilty. American Violet tells the story of her fight for justice.

now. for my comment :)
okay, so i loved this movie for a few reasons:
  • this is the kind of thing that inspired me to do what i do. fighting the system is a very david and goliath type showdown, which makes it that much sweeter when you win. i hope this movie will inspire other people to pick up their stones and slingshots. . .you don't have to think in victim language.
  • in the same vein, i liked this movie because it showed the side of the aclu i like. admittedly, i have a love/hate relationship with the aclu (american civil liberties union). they feel that cases about rights like those at issue here are equal to cases about the kkk's right to freedom of speech/expression--they don't do a balancing act when it comes to the effect of the rights they're protecting. i don't like this because it implies that there are not structural deficiencies in this country's 'rights' system. like all of us have had the same access to our rights for the same amount of time, and like some 'freedom of speech' is nothing more than a terror tactic and actually infringes on other people's rights and is nothing more than oppression itself. . .
  • it is educational (and coonery free). it talks about an issue that we seem to overlook in our communities. for some reason we are quick to shun those of us who are 'convicted felons' as if we forget how messed up the system is. 90% of the 2.3 million people in jail are there as a result of a plea bargain--meaning they never went to trial and were never found guilty. and you know how easy it is to convince a scared, oppressed, innocent person to plead guilty to something just so they can go home/have a reduced sentence? they are thinking that if they could get arrested and they're innocent, they could also get convicted, apply some pressure and mind games . . .and bingo! instant win for the prosecutor and innocent person's life is forever changed.
  • it doesn't glamorize the reality--the evil, racist, inept, vengeful district attorney who was the one causing the problems for this town was re-elected, despite the turnout of this case. it shows that everyone doesn't appreciate justice the way some people do, it shows that there's a reason the status quo exists. we shouldn't be discouraged, we should be appalled and fight harder. . .
  • it also showed that there are a lot of factors that go into someone accepting a plea bargain, such as pressure from their families--their families know how to hit where it hurts in terms of persuasiveness, and sometimes that is enough to do away with the little fight the defendant has. this is just another manifestation of the short-sightedness/instant gratification problem that plagues our community a classic dialogue in the movie was (this is me paraphrasing after only seeing it once, sorry. lol):
dee: "but momma, didn't you always say the truth shall set you free?"
momma: "girl that's for the afterlife. . .for the here and now you better take that plea"
  • it also shows a side of black america that people may have wanted to forget now that our beloved president is in office. this case took place in 2002, but things like this are still happening. i cannot miss this moment to drive home the fact that "the dream" has not been realized just bc we have a black first family. the reality for too many people is that their communities are suffering from institutional, pervasive racism. poor black people are still targets. and contrary to what tyler perry may lead to you believe, a good man, some preaching and violent gestures from a man in a dress don't solve all the problems black women face. . .
and it wouldn't be me if i didn't add some of my random observations:
  • why did the black attorney spend most of the movie looking like a scared run away slave?? i was too through with him. it's a good thing he redeemed himself at the end :)
  • i ♥ alfre woodard as a mother. i mean, she is great as a sanaa lathan mommy, but i just love her in any role where she gets to get a mommy attitude with her daughter. lol
  • the main actress was such a good casting decision. she was touching and convincing. i hope we get to see more of her (hopefully in a movie where she can wear cuter clothes)
  • and of course i loved the little girls, they were so cute and that oldest one was super convincing too (and did a good job of showing who suffers the most from these kinds of things)
  • exzibit (sp?) as an actor. . .hmmm. he did pretty well. i'm not sure how much of a stretch the character was for him. maybe he was just that good that it seemed natural (glad he got rid of the cornrows tho. lol)
anyway, please please see this movie. it is so worth your support. be prepared to woosah (i had my fists clinched a few times), but also be prepared to have a paradigm shift if this is your first real exposure to this issue. oh, and bc i went to the movie with a non lawyer i know that there may be a vocabulary lesson in store for some of you. lol


candy girls--nothing sweet

so. i had seen commercials for this show and i was immediately ready to write it off. it's supposed to profile the 'glamorous lives of those in the industry' aka video girls. okay, anyone who knows anything about the industry knows that life as a video girl is anything but glamorous. even if you 'make it' a la superhead and are treated like the recycling rather than straight garbage, life is rough. that is not a stable living, even with an agency. i would venture to guess most of these girls are waitresses or something on the side. there is no way you can support yourself as a career video girl--there just aren't that many videos and they don't pay that much! if they consider themselves glamorous bc they get to vie for the attention of random rappers up close and personal ('i got to sleep with so and so!') then they can have that, but don't try to make people think that life as a video girl is 1) glamorous 2) anything to aspire toward.
let me talk about the show. the show is based on this woman danielle and her 'agency' called candy girls (let it not escape you that wikipedia's entry for candy girls says 'a line of sex dolls manufactured by orient industries). the other women in the cast are danielle's go-to makeup lady/stylist, who seems to lack personal style (she is tyson beckford's baby momma--hmm. i didn't think tyson was straight), some woman who wasn't in the first show and then the video girls. there is brooke, terrica, olivia, and blanca. i was hesitant to use this picture for this post bc these girls look *nothing* like these pics. they are average at best for the most part (olivia and brooke are pretty girls) but somehow think they are god's gift to tv. we know there's room for average girls in video girl world *if* you are thick (ie. we'll put you in the video but won't show your face unless it's a quick flash, in the dark, or a silhouette) but these girls are none of that. they are all pretty skinny and need lots of makeup to look any better than that woman you just passed on the street.
the dialogue on the show made me cringe from embarrassment. i knew it would be scripted and fake. i did not know it would be soooo embarrassing! first of all, this little olivia girl is just painful to watch. if she is that naive and sheltered, she need not be on this show. we are supposed to believe she was at ucla and she is trying to be an actress by exposing herself to 'the industry' as a video girl. a few problems: she is shy, naive, and her attempt at acting--fail. how are you going to be a shy video girl??
then it went straight to stereotypes--the darker skinned girls were the attitudinal ones from the jump, the lighter skinned girls were the sweet innocent ones. i don't even want to mention how if blanca was as funny looking as she is but brown she wouldn't be considered beautiful, attractive, or whatever else we're supposed to think they are. terrica's attitude almost cost her her job as she took the attitudinal black b**** thing to a whole new level. and she is just mean for no reason but is a mother (ps-where is her daughter while she's supposed to be living in this house?).
oh and then we're led to believe that it is a rite of passage for minority women to go to jail/be arrested as the group scoffs at olivia for not ever having been arrested. it was almost too much to bear.
i don't know where they're going from here, but you can pretty much count me out.
overall impression: womp, womp


good girls and t.i.

since my last guilty crush ended up being a woman beater, thus taking away some of the qualities that made me like him to begin with, i thought i'd share another guilty crush. i was just listening to one of my new favorite 'hood songs'--'ain't i' by (insert random rapper(s) here) feat t.i. his lil verse just makes the song for me. lol. anyway, it made me think about how much i like t.i.! but i'd like to think it's a little more than the 'good girls like bad boys' thing. i mean, he's not *that* bad, is he?? lol
we all know his 'flow is colder than february' but i really think it's his 'extraordinary swag' that does it for me. he is sooo little and scrawny, he has a tribe of children by various women (he even has two kids who are the same age--who aren't twins! lol), and he is headed for jail in about 22 days. . .but i have a thing for him. lol.
actually, it has to be the swag. he is cool calm and collected, nice to look at (boy does he clean up well), and he has that thug appeal that women like (regardless of whether they will admit it or not), and when he speaks in his southern twang, he actually is saying something! it is not hard to tie together that the best rappers/lyricists are actually really intelligent people, despite what they may rap about.
anyway, t.i. is slightly dangerous, had enough artillery to start ww iii, and has had some shady dealings in his past. but ladies, you can't tell me that when you see him in a suit, doing that thing with his eyebrow, that thing with his lips, or when he laughs/cracks a smile. . .it doesn't make you feel a certain way ;)


confession: a drama in 4 acts

curtain rises
okay, so. if you know me, you know my arm can get tired from a lot of things, but never from raising my black power fist. i fight the good fight for a living and when i say i love my people, i strongly believe love is an action word. making life better for us is a passion of mine. however, i just got (another) email from the naacp that made me feel i had to come out of the closet on this issue. as you know, on february 18 this delonas character drew this cartoon for the ny post. the outcry has been tremendous to say the least and i have to say. . .i feel some kinda way about it.

act 1: what i feel you need to be able to understand this cartoon
  • a monkey is used to symbolize, among other things, a creature lacking in intelligence. e.g. the classic american idiom 'a monkey could do your job'. . .certain people have been likening dubya to a monkey for 8 years.
  • a very large stimulus bill was recently passed. nancy pelosi and other members of congress wrote the bill--it has undergone editing and revisions in order to be passed. president obama signed the bill on february 10.
  • conservatives widely disagree with the stimulus bill for one reason or another. some conservative governors have even said they wouldn't take the money allocated to their respective states as a sign of protest
  • the new york post is a conservative newspaper
  • on february 16, police in stamford, connecticut shot and killed a chimpanzee that mauled a woman. his owner kept him as a pet/child and even admitted to giving him xanax on occasion
if you put all of this together it = the author of the cartoon is a conservative, he thinks the stimulus bill is stupid and was written by a stupid person/persons. coincidentally and unrelatedly (unless you're a cartoonist who makes money off of depicting current events tied together in a way that no one else really thinks of as related), a monkey was recently shot and killed by police. he makes a cartoon. it is not the first one he has done that shows someone getting shot, that criticizes the stimulus bill using unrelated current events and/or animals (see post cartoons from feb 5 and 11) whether it is "funny" is debateable; but i don't see where race enters the picture. . .this is where i diverge from the outcry and collective 'we'.

act 2: the naacp, et al
the naacp turned 100 this year. true to its name, it has advanced the plight of colored people in this country for 100 years. i respect it as an organization, even though i know some of its dirty little secrets and things it uses to execute what it feels is the most effective strategy. however, when i got the second in a series of emails about this topic, it infuriated me. in relevant part:

as roger vann, our senior vp of field operations and membership, explained, the racist cartoon "outraged our members by comparing african americans to primates. and it sullied police officers at a time when many communities are torn by suspicious police killings of young African American men."

i mean, if any one person should be offended by this cartoon it should be nancy pelosi--but i'm sure even she wouldn't take offense as she knows she is not the only one responsible for this bill. rather than the chimp representing one person, it likely represents the collective body responsible for what the conservative author considers a 'dumb' bill--and from what i can tell, he has no problem blaming all the congressional dems.
why do i single out the naacp? because they are quiet about too many other things and this time their 'strategy' card is showing. i know the naacp isn't as upset about this cartoon as it is seizing the opportunity to get at ol' rupert and faux news. but the timing is bad. it makes me mad bc they have been oh so quiet about billey joe johnson (have you even heard of him? the superstar 16 year old who supposedly shot and killed himself with a shotgun during a routine traffic stop--it was ruled a suicide and the gunpowder on the police officer's fingers? oh that was just from him handling his service gun earlier in the morning. right.) and i'm sure you won't hear anything from them about the 15 year old girl who got beat up in that holding cell in seattle (the deputy is on paid administrative leave bc, you know, sometimes you have to brutally beat up a defenseless 15 year old girl--let's give him a paid vacay while we wait to hear his side). there are real battles to fight, not just the ones that get press because they stem from someone with money and can get you on tv. this isn't our battle to fight. we are not always the monkey.

act 3: faux news and rupert murdoch
don't mistake this post to say that i don't believe there is MUCH room for reform and diversity at rupe's organizations. if they had more diversity on their staff, they at least would have had a stronger leg to stand on. they are guilty of doing a whole bunch of shady, institutionally racist crap. we see their media bias, their lily white producers/gate keepers, and all the other underhanded stuff they do. i wrote my honors thesis on bias in the news media and did extensive research. it needs to stop and if the naacp can change that, that's great--but this isn't the horse to latch that buggy to. you see, the key is that there is a difference between insitutional racism and traditional racism. . .you know they are too smart for the latter. the smart, rich, most threatening white people would never be so blatant as to call us monkeys to our faces. they know there's too much to lose--in private, you bet they do (and they issue quick apologies and even offer to resign when they're caught), but only the dumbest ones say it in in public. and they are written off as dumb almost immediately and the 'progressive white people' try to distance themselves from it. you know, they'll admit to being 'conservative' but not racist! they have like 5 black friends, you know. . .
all this to say. . .rupe and faux take shots at obama, it will be less blatant than this--and trust, they will be taking shots, so watch for the hook ;)

act 4: my people
to take a line from my play godfather dr. west 'i can say this about my people because i love them'. there is a hindu proverb that says 'all change is not progress, as all movement is not forward'. this is why i get so mad at the naacp. we are in such desperate need of leaders that if we hear a rallying cry from such a venerable organization, we feel it's only right for us to join forces (i'm hearing ludacris, 'when i move you move' lol). but they need to be careful! yes, it is great when we come together to effect change and forward movement--but it needs to be progress and forward movement! we can't just be wasting energy. i fear, in situations like this, we lose credibility as being 'too sensitive'--so it makes it that much harder the next time there really is an issue. i mean, there will always be people who say black people complain too much and are too sensitive--but i for one want to make sure that i am on the side where i can say, no, this is a real issue, this isn't about me trying to promote an agenda or just get my mic turned on. this is important to me bc i do this for a living. and when the backlash from my cases comes, i like to know that i know what i'm fighting for and i'm not just whining or trying to make a point because i can.
also, (in love, my people) this type of situation requires context--these are intellectual cartoons that require a knowledge of current events, and in this case, a little knowledge about legislative process. i love that we love obama and are willing to ride for him. . .when it's time. but this isn't time. of all the people implicated when one says write the stimulus bill, our beloved b-rack isn't one of them. in delonas' other cartoons you can see he clearly sees the stimulus thing as dems v. republicans. this looks like we're making an ill-informed argument--volunteering to be the monkey and grasping for straws (linking it to police brutality in our communities??) so as to build an equally weak platform. we are an angry, hurt people. . .and for good reason. but we need to channel our anger in a way that will give us credibility and make us productive. i just don't think this is it.
curtain closes


a word to the wise

"a wise man once told me, don't argue with fools--people from a distance can't tell who is who"
this is a jay z quote, but the old folks were saying it long before he was (and it kinda comes from Proverbs 26:4-5). i've always liked it--it keeps me from coming out of character quite often, and has prevented me from 'cutting up' in public when someone does something stupid. you know how you feel when you see people getting loud and going off on someone in public. . .
anyway, i was thinking about this earlier today/last night. for those of you who know me, you know this was a big week for me (well, thursday was a big day) david and goliath style. my victory got press coverage in the various online publications of the relevant state. i wanted to see the articles because it was like seeing myself in the paper, but i found some of the comments pretty jarring (someone even made a blog about it). it was amazing how hateful and racist some people were--they deliberately missed the point of the case so that they could espouse their racist views about any and all things dealing with black people. i left a few comments on a few of the sites, trying to clear up some of the misunderstandings and putting the decision in perspective, but when my i left my comment on a particular blog, i just knew it wouldn't be published because it didn't fit in with the racist illogical ranting of the blog's author--and i was right. he didn't want to understand the case or channel his frustrations in the right direction--he just wanted to rant.
so. my question is this--when does trying to educate people turn into futility and 'arguing with fools'? how do you know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em in these types of situations? sometimes it feels wrong to just walk away without saying anything. . .


team chris v. team rihanna

so i was listening to my ipod and 'with u' came on. . .the debut of this song marked the point where i stopped denying my grown woman crush on mr. brown. since then, everything he does is endearing and i just love watching him in videos and pics and stuff. . .even the pics with rihanna (i know some people didn't like them together--or like him with anyone for that matter. lol. but i thought they were cute together).
now comes this weekend. people say rihanna looks like she was in a boxing match. . .with her hands tied behind her back. i even heard one report that said he choked her and threatened to kill her and she passed out. . .which is when the police found her and drove her to the hospital (she evidently looked so bad that they didn't even want to wait for the ambulance to come). so of course everyone wants to know what they were arguing about that would make our sweet little chris turn into such a (alleged) monster--i mean, really, we would have been shocked if someone had said they saw him grab her or shake her or something, but now we have bruises, bite marks, black eyes, bloodied nose, busted lip. it's almost too incredulous to believe, especially coming from someone who seemed so. . .clean and anger-issue free. anway, so what started all of this? i have heard a few stories:
  • he beat her up bc she gave him herpes. umm. i'm only mentioning this one to discredit it. i believe this rumor started bc she had that nasty looking cold sore on her lip a few weeks ago--cold sore herpes is not std herpes. plus, why would they be talking about that on the way back from a happily attended grammy party??
  • the (unofficial) story from his camp: she started the fight--he got a call or text message from a girl that rihanna felt he had been creeping with, she flew off the handle (they cite a story of her admitting to smashing glass in her brother's face as evidence of her anger issues) and started hitting chris while he was driving and he reacted in self defense. . .okay, i can semi-buy this story, except her injuries are SO severe that they're going to have to come up with something else bc that is clearly more than self defense.
  • the (unofficial) story from her camp: he got a text from the aforementioned jump off talking about hooking up later, things blow up, she gets mad she takes the keys to the rented lambo and throws them out the window and he can't find them so he goes ballistic and we get battered and bruised rihanna
of course the story is still developing, there have been no official statements released, chris is in hiding with his family who says he is not violent. her friends are saying they noticed bruises on her neck in december and when asked about them she said 'we broke up again'. we know chris has talked about watching his step father beat his mother when he was younger and how that affected him. it's all just a big mess and all the confusion surrounding the details is to be expected. . .but it is a little suprising the way people are choosing sides. i think this will force us to have a convo about a topic that isn't really talked about in the light for black people--domestic violence. for some reason, we insist on acting like this isn't a problem for the black community--i don't know if it's because our men deal with so much that we think we're supposed to take it when they take their frustrations out on us, that we feel love has to hurt sometimes, or if the 'strong black woman' thing means we grin and bear it for the sake of the kids, not sending him to jail, the good times, etc.
it's true that people let celebrity trump the issue when it comes to criminal acts--many devoted fans just want their beloved star to be okay and to triumph over 'adversity' without really looking at the actual 'adversity' and what the star may have done to cause it. so i guess it's not puzzling that chris' fans are all up in arms trying to defend him--i mean, rihanna is the one getting hate mail and messages! and people are saying 'she must have done something to set him off' . . .but really? if rihanna was your sister, mother, bff, would you think the same thing? would it be okay that someone she was dating beat her up and left her outside for the police to 'find' her. . .and was more worried about not getting in trouble over it than what he did or whether she was ok? how disgusted and angry would you be if someone said she must've done something to deserve it and was upset that her assailant was 'going through this'?
then you have the other side--wrigley's had 'suspended' the chris brown commercials before the story had been news for 24 hours, jay z and kanye have both officially put him on their respective sh** lists, and radio stations are pulling his songs off the air. and there is a part of you that is like 'poor chris'. . .you don't want to see him go down like this and his career go up in smoke.
i'm torn. i really am. i feel like it should be easier for me to condemn him and think of him as a monster. . .bc no matter the details of why it happened, the point is that it happened, right?
i think the jokes are insensitive (' i bet next time he says 'gimme that', she'll listen' 'i wonder if he beat her with an 'umbrella-ella -ella'') and i worry about rihanna--we all know domestic violence situations tend to be cyclical. . .the embarassment might keep her away for a while, but if cbreezy decides he wants her back and is sweet and charming, she really might go back (one celebrity who has weighed in actually said 'they'll be alright, they just need people to leave them alone'). i'm nervous that i wouldn't be surprised if she showed up at any subsequent trials sitting in his corner offering her support. if he beat her this badly this time, it was probably a gradual build up--from grabbing, to things that left bruises, to this. . .and she's gone back before.
i just can't be ok with that. i definitely liked chris way better than rihanna before this (i mean, he actually has talent) but she is still someone's babygirl, granddaughter, sister and i feel like, i--we--should feel more protective over her. someone help me sort it out!


the necessity of the hbcu

i was given the honor of being on a panel at my beloved alma mater last night. at the end of the panel a young lady asked us, 'with all the buzz going around, saying that hbcus are unnecessary and don't prepare you for the real world, what is your opinion as to the importance of the hbcu--all of you have said the real world isn't like this'.
if you know me, you know this is a non-issue. . .anyone who tries to say anything negative about my alma mater gets shut down. i am so proud to have gone to howard and am glad i found my way there (wish i could go back). nonetheless, i have decided to lay out a little of my argument beyond 'that's the stupidest thing i ever heard' in response to that question:
1. i have not been convinced that integrated schools were the best thing for black people. part of me sincerely believes that if schools really were 'separate but equal' the black community would be in a far better place now. forcing our babies to go to schools where they were seen as inferior to be brainwashed by learning the lies that establish the 'undisputed greatness' of the united states (while glossing over those 'minor blemishes' like slavery and the trail of tears) can't really have been the best thing. it's like it was acknowledging that school wasn't good enough until we were in school with them. . .no matter what. now we have failing public school systems--because you know as soon as we tried to go to school with them they promptly enrolled their kids in private school! generations of adults battered from the battles of integration they were forced to fight as children and who are a little more disconnected from their community and culture as they strive to reach the white is right ideal. if brown v. brown of ed. could have been focused at enforcing separate but equal, who knows what black people could have accomplished by now?? instead we're left licking wounds and trying to compete with them in their 'equal' schools while dealing with the pressures of being considered unwanted and inferior and learning curriculum that makes us feel alienated and minimizes the contributions of our people. as long as they are well funded (this is the key--this is also why i'm elitist when it comes to hbcus), institutions that nurture and educate black people serve a purpose outside of curriculum related education. they create ties to the community, instill a sense of pride and obligation, and champion the race and its accomplishments in a way that is necessary to heal wounds and make us a better people. it is empowering to sit in a classroom full of smart people who look like you with a teacher who sees your sucess as tied to his/her personal success. it is hard for us to get that anywhere else. which brings me to my next point.
2. as 'minorities' it is hard for us to be able *not* to know how to function around white people. whether it is your doctor, your teacher, the lady at the grocery store. . .it is hard for a black person to live in a world where they never have to interact with white people, and let's not forget tv. there are soooo many shows with mainly white focuses that you can see white people in various lights--funny white person, corporate white person, white families, white singles ready to mingle, white kids, violent white people, sad white people, happy white people, rich white people, poor white people. . .the list goes on. everyday living in the united states is nothing if not a study of white people. there are still places where white people can go about their daily lives without seeing a black person except for on tv, the same cannot be said about black people encountering white people. i say all of this to say, that if the concern is that hbcu life isn't 'real life', it need not be a concern. we likely wouldn't have made it to college age if we didn't know how to function around white people to some extent. additionally, a lot of my fellow students at hu were like me and actually grew up around mostly white people and found themselves in situations where they were the only black person in a class. an hbcu education is not crippling, to the contrary, it is empowering. i feel *so* much more comfortable around white people in my own skin after going to howard. howard empowered me in a way i couldn't have imagined. it steeled my spine and anchored me to something bigger than me and my immediate family--it connected me to my community, its achievements and the idea that i *am* different and i should be proud of that. instead of trying to be 'like' the white people i encounter for fear of not 'fitting in or being accepted' i am just me. i am cultured, classy, smart, and have a lot to teach (and learn)--when i notice i am the only black person in a room of white people, i don't get nervous that they are judging me against their standards--i'm not really trying to meet their standards and i don't believe their way is the only way. i know that my being a triple threat can be threatening and i know why and i know that (to paraphrase) "when and where i enter the whole race enters with me" and that makes me powerful beyond measure. and i know, from experience, that there are thousands of people who are like me and think like me--empowered black people allll over, who are focused and saw the light while at an hbcu and refuse to go back to the darkness. it's funny that when we were fighting to be admitted to their schools, one of the court cases approving affirmative action cited the way 'they' benefitted from being around 'us' as if they had to benefit or it wouldn't be ok for us to go there--and our schools aren't good enough because there are not enough of them. i don't need to go to a special school to learn about white people or how to work with them. . .and why doesn't anyone ask if their schools prepare them to be around us??
3. hbcus teach and shape you like nothing else can. a lot of people 'find themselves' in college. . .at an hbcu you find yourself as you fit into the bigger puzzle of your community. you learn that is and always has been bigger than you and that if you stand tall it is because you stand on the backs of those who went before you . . .and you owe something to those who come after you. if that doesn't make you feel both powerful and humble at the same time, nothing will. an hbcu grad can deal with and interact with white people, asian people, latinos, green people, purple people, blue people because she knows who she is and what her presence means in the bigger picture, her feet are firmly planted in the ground and she is ready to grow up.
hbcus are important precisely because they are not like the real world. they serve an important purpose that the real world doesn't have time to fill (or maybe doesn't want to fill--this is the same country where it was illegal for us to learn how to read). when you go to an hbcu it is like entering a cocoon as a caterpillar, being nurtured and molded for 4 years. . .and emerging as a butterfly. i realize i'm waxing poetic, but that's really how i feel. you will never convince me that i was crippled by going to howard or that my future children (who will be going to howard as well!) will either and i resent the implication. i'm not discrediting the value of other people's education, but i know what i got out of mine--but most importantly, i'm not asking if your school is necessary as if because *i* didn't get value out of it, it's not valuable (but if you would like to explain to me why ivy league schools are necessary, you can do that)
-steps off soapbox and unclinches black power fist- tee hee.