Yes I Studied Black Culture But, Who Cares?

A think piece from an almost college graduate.

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This semester I have the pleasure of taking the capstone to my African American studies minor. Although only five classes were needed to complete the requirements for the minor program, I took the scenic route and enjoyed a few extra credits along the way.

 

It is amazing the things you learn about yourself and people that look like you when you have to pay for your education compared to when it was free.

My capstone class is relatively small, advanced, and discussion based. Also led by a man that tells all his classes, “you are not obligated to get married, nor are you obligated to have children, these things aren’t meant for everyone and I think you should know that.”

 

Which I fully agree, not that anyone asked me.

We started off this semester being asked who James Baldwin is. Baldwin, a historic figure not only in the African-American community, but American society was a novelist, essayist, poet, playwright, a man who pushed the literary boundaries when it came to politics, sex, racial issues and even classism in our society.

 

Baldwin was a good beginning to the cusp of my undergraduate minor studies.

 

Other influential figures have been mentioned throughout my studies but there is one question that hit me recently. Who cares? And not in a snarky, premature attitude, existential crisis kind of way.

 

But who cares as in who truly cares about all of this knowledge, turmoil, triumph and defeat that one group of people have faced for centuries?

 

Not all black people care, if that was true I don’t think this question would truly be up for debate.

 

Relaxing at the other end of the spectrum is the notion that not all other races share the same disdain for this topic that collectivism which is so easily attached to one group would have you think.

 

How would I really know that, and who honestly cares?

 

Who should care?

 

Every damn body.

 

Why do you ask?

 

Because it’s not just about collecting my degree or about President Obama leaving us stranded on the crossroads to who the hell knows where very soon.

 

It isn’t about Beyoncé interviewing her own sister (which I know you read cause… why not). It’s about you too, the one sitting at their desk wondering why Susan is making more money than you.

 

You have a master’s degree while she can barely remember how to use APA format. Or you having to work twice as hard to get what you want because nothing will be handed to you.

 

It is about the you that saw Hidden Figures and became truly inspired by black women that sent a man to the doggone moon!

 

Who truly cares about all this black knowledge?

 

The trailblazers, pioneers, all the L’s we’ve taken throughout history and even the monumental changes that have our names written all over it.

 

I can’t speak for everyone, hence ending the collectivism, but I do. All the books, student debt I have accrued over the years, and extensive knowledge that I have attained will credit that.

 

I deem 2017 the year that you start to give a damn too.


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