Your Resource Guide to African American Studies

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The Dilemmas, Challenges, and Duality of
an African-American Educational Historian

Teaching is the most common end result for those who intend to receive a degree in African American studies. Regardless of the level of teaching one decides to embark on, it is important to note that research is an ever present factor. This article puts the difficulty one might face attempting to present African American struggles in education in a scholarly context. It can only be helpful to the student to be privy to the struggles they might face far before the time presents itself.

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African American Teachers in the South, 1890-1940: Powerlessness and the Ironies of Expectations and Protest

As an African American studies major, most of one’s curriculum is based in history. So it is important to be able to contextualize history. When one considers that the main prospect for an African American studies major is to be a teacher this ability to contextualize becomes especially important. Even if teaching is not what one would consider their forte, they should still be in a position to understand where African Americans have been and how these things have lead to the position they are in today.

 

 

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Literary Aesthetics and the black woman writer –

For anyone interested in studying African Americans, they must be aware that black people have a entirely different experience than their counterparts not of African descent. There have been studies to suggest that this experience is one completely separate from that of gender or age barriers. One must consider this when studying the writings that they inevitably will in regards to that of black scholars, and, if they are black themselves, their own writing as well.

Key Terms-

These are terms that, during your coursework and research, must be familiar to you in order to further your success and understanding.

    Racism

Black

Undergraduate Organizations-

As an African American studies major there are less likely to be organizations that embrace your specific major and more likely to be organizations that embrace African American culture. This is more than likely the case, whether the student is at a Predominately White Institution or a Historically Black College or University. It stands to reason that this is because African American studies is a social science, and a lot of the curriculum is the culture.

National Council of Negro Women

Organization dedicated to addressing the issues and the experience of what is now referred to as the black woman.

Society of Collegiate Black Men

An organization dedicated to community service and the building up of character of the black man. Intended to mold men able to be of greater aid and service to their own communities.

Job Opportunities-

Manager of corporate diversity programs-

Many corporations recognize the systematic disadvantage that African Americans have had historically. They, a a result, look to purposefully diversify their workforce. Such a task leads to this job title, which incorporates not only the diversification of a work force, but cultural sensitivity in the work place as well. This is ideal for the person who is not interested in teaching and enjoys the consistency of a corporate job.

Media Relations Specialist-

As referenced in the previous job description, it is important to many companies to refrain from offending the many different cultures that are familiar with their brand, but it is even more important to market themselves to these consumers as well. The most common way to do this is mass media. The specialist would moderate communication between the company and the public on mediums such as social media and television.

Foreign Diplomat-

Foreign diplomats are well versed in other cultures. They represent their nation in dealings with other nations. They also use their unique point of view to moderate international dealings as well.

Citation Keys-

 The most common research method that a major can expect to use is archival and survey, as mentioned on the website for the Department of African American Studies at Howard University. Neither archival or survey methods of research have a more accepted way of citation. In both cases, it is only suggested that one consult their teacher or publisher for preference. It is also suggested that in both cases as much information as possible is included the citation for anyone who would like to view your sources.

Fall 2015 Multimodal

This semester English 104 has introduced me to the power of literacy. English only affected my life as far as it effected my GPA before having taken this course. The course asked me to review the part that literacy played in my own life, as well as the lives of people who look like me. Our first paper asked me to evaluate literacy and the role that it had in my becoming the person I am today. A question that I had never thought to ask myself, even though I was at one point an avid recreational reader and writer. The readings allowed me a new insight into my everyday life in the way that they drew parallels between one’s grasp on literacy and their everyday success. I had no idea that in the system of in justice that plagues much of my community, that reading and writing played even a minuscule part. Our classroom discussions included a room full of my peers who were just as intelligent as I was. This was my first encounter of such. So in most cases, I did more listening than anything. I thought about the ideas that they voiced, and the way my professor helped expand upon them. I was led to draw conclusions and form ideas that I, again, never would have come to on my own. We were constantly challenged by our professor to see what we were reading, writing, and discussing as more than a grade. I was less than successful at this in regards to assignments that were actually for a grade. I did end up reading for the first time in years, for knowledge, understanding, and even enjoyment as opposed to just reading to say I had read. The place that I am in as a writer has remained stagnant throughout the course. I am a person with many ideas and complex thoughts. I have trouble with audience awareness and successfully conveying my thoughts. The most development I have seen in myself is in my ideas and the way that I view the world.

Unapologetic Language – Essay 2

A Journey through Reading – Essay 1

Essay 2 Original

Essay 1 Original

Journal 1

Journal 2

Journal 3

Journal 4

Journal 5

My journals most reflect my sentiment that my views of the world and ideas have expanded the most in class. I feel as if at the beginning of the course I had an idea of the system of injustice in which we live, but it was an idea based off of a very singular perspective. Literacy only meant big words that I had trouble understanding and striving to find the least amount of work I had to do for a sufficient grade. My journals also reflect my being introduced to the fact that I viewed the world from a single perspective. That the “standard” of which I was accustomed to and proficient in was not a standard at all. It was one, that in everyday life, I should not judge myself or my peers by because our culture lead to a different standard. By this same token, I learned that certain literary work was work that I could apply to my everyday life. Though not very well articulated in my journals, I learned to be more aware of my audience. I learned that there are many ways to articulate one’s self, and it is not an insult if I am not understood the very first time I attempt my writings. The analysis encompassed in my “Shitty First Drafts” journal, revealed to me that it is okay to have “bad” writing at first. It showed me that from the “bad” writing of which I was so consumed, came good writing. Writing that I could be proud of.

Co curricular 1

Co Curricular 2

Co Curricular 3

 

The Movement that Killed Itself.

I have always been the type that watches and observes things as they unfold. Over the past few weeks, I have noticed an increase in the amount of shots that black people take at themselves over social media. What tends to fascinate me the most is that, often  times, they do not even realize it.

We are living in a scene for the history books. Race relations are simmering; a new generation of African Americans have a voice that can reach the whole country. A voice, a safe space, called Black Twitter. Black Twitter, and the users that give it its reach and driving force, was not only identified but validated as the push behind a nation wide movement known as #BlackLivesMatter. On a site that is meant to give voice the random thoughts that come into one’s head, it’s hard to envision the things you tweet having an effect on anyone other than yourself. This has been proven wrong time and time again, though. It is time some of the users, who echo certain ideas across the world wide web, recognize this.  Because the relationships we have with each other are not the only ones affected. Right now, the relationship that black people have with the entire country is at stake.

To begin picking at the sentiments that pick at us, let’s start with everyone’s favorite…

“Natural hair is not for everybody !”-

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Growing up in the south, I’m no stranger to ignorance about natural hair. I heard about “good” hair all my life. When I decided that I would no longer use chemicals or heat to manipulate my hair, “When are you gonna do something with that hair?” became a common question. My personal and all-time favorite was “What the hell is going on with your hair?!”, at my job.. where I was a lifeguard.. and my hair would inevitably get wet, doing whatever it pleased. Even after being shamed for my hair on multiple occasions, it still baffles me when I see things like the original tweet above in safe spaces like Black Twitter, where hashtags like #BlackGirlsAreMagic are prevalent and celebrated.

The sister who quoted the original sentiment of natural hair “not being for everybody” does a sufficient job of conveying the way I feel.  She not only conveys how I feel about the tweet but also the way I feel about my own encounters, as well. What her sarcasm does not necessarily convey is that sentiments like this tear us down from the inside out, as individuals and as a movement. How can we move forward if we cannot accept the way that God made us?

As Malcom X so eloquently put it..

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These sentiments may have been furthered by our elders, but that is not where they originated. The movement cannot go further with such sentiments still being perpetuated. We, as individuals and a collective, must begin changing ourselves. We must love our blackness before we begin to ask others to do the same.

“Those who are poor, are poor because they choose to be.”-

opportunity

Since I do not have the help of a quote to aid in explaining my sentiments, let me just begin by saying…
As previously stated, I have been exposed to some pretty conservative, baffling ideas in my lifetime, but yet again, I am perplexed. The argument is supported with the fact that we all have the same opportunity to go out and make something of ourselves. So, if one has a fast food, retail, or similar job, they should blame themselves not inadequate pay for the inability to live comfortably or support their family.

Myself and this young woman live in a country where the only thing that can cost you opportunity faster than being black, is being a black woman. In America today, the black woman will earn just sixty four percent of what a white man will earn. Is this wage gap because we, as black women, do not work hard enough ? Is it because we did not take the opportunities available ? No. By this line of thinking, all the white people who feel as if affirmative action “took” their spot in their dream school, are exactly right. Diversity scholarships ? Unfair. Where’s the Caucasian scholarships ?

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I digress…

This particular instance is not one of instilled self-hatred but ignorance to the system of inequality in which we live our everyday lives. We want black lives to matter, but we refuse to acknowledge that the inequalities we face, in regards to police brutality, are separate from our economic struggles. The same way that we cannot ignore the plight and pain of the harassment of our black men, we cannot ignore the struggle of our families. We cannot ignore the struggle of any family caught up in the cycle of oppression. The movement will only move forward if we tackle every area of injustice.

#Mizzou: “Well if you guys went to an HBCU..”-

PWI

Though this picture oozes sarcasm, and ironically enough satire, it reflects the actual sentiments of black people around the country as we watched the students of the University of Missouri fight for their rights. Students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities voiced that their peers attending Predominately White Institutions had called them sub par and token students, but now those same peers were having to fight for their ability to utilize the education they paid for. The statement in the picture above was initially meant as a “Ha !” in the face of being told we, as HBCU students, are not good enough.

What these students did not realize was that this particular situation was not about licking our wounds. The #BlackLivesMatter movement thrives at HBCUs. It is cultivated by our history and the black voice our professors are allowed to help instill in us. We should have been the first to applaud and weep with joy. What happened at Mizzou was only a sub-movement of #BlackLivesMatter. It was not separate, as life and black lives extend farther than our hearts being allowed to beat. The success there was a success for us all. The terror that was caused by fellow white students was not a chance to mock or look down on the black students of Mizzou or any other PWI. It was a time for us to stand together, to heal together, and to continue fighting for justice in the many other places that it has yet to prevail.

Our generation, with its voice so loud over the intercom that is social media, is the generation of change. Change in  our societies, change in ourselves, and change in the system that caused us to speak out in the first place is inevitable. What we tend to forget is that, when one has the microphone, everything they say is felt. The damage we inflict on ourselves from the inside is not only felt by those fighting to change, but it is also heard by those we are fighting to change. It is simply something to consider the next time your social media activities marginalize others.

 

Until next time…

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Put that in your pipe and smoke it.