So, you know by now, that I am a full time entrepreneur and CREAD is my full time endeavor.
It’s scary asf.
However, I persevere, though there are constant hills and valleys.
I was recently in one of those valleys.
I had a great opportunity not only for my professional expansion but also my financial benefit. But, in order to take advantage of this opportunity, I had to pass a background check.
No big deal, right?
Because I was a teacher in the rubber room almost a decade ago.
If you don’t know what the rubber room is, Google it.
Long story short: I got into serious beef with a male student. He said some things. I said some things. And some things ensued. I was immediately put into teacher prison. I spent about 3 months locked up and it changed my life.
For the better.
Prior to that experience I was an ok teacher, who thought I knew everything about Black kids. When in actuality what I was suffering from was some serious internalized racism and a serious savior complex.
I believe most people who get into teaching suffer from this same complex. As a country, we look at teaching as a humanitarian endeavor, especially when teaching Black and Brown students. Everything in life teaches us that those students and their families can’t take care of themselves, that they need a savior to make them white and pure.
And even as a Black woman, that idea, that Black people were inferior, and in need of help, was central in my mind when I became an educator.
When I was released from the rubber room and allowed to go back into the classroom, my entire career had been irrevocably changed.
I was humbled.
While in the rubber room, I met a a group of people who had a great impact on my personal and professional life. People who are still in my life now.
I know without the rubber room I wouldn’t be where I am right now.
In teacher prison, I met Brian Favors (who was locked up for righteous reasons unlike me). He then advocated to his principal Tira Randall to hire me…straight out of prison. It was at Tira’s school, Bushwick Community High School that I learned how to teach and more importantly how to love myself and Diasporic children.
BCHS taught me about education for liberation, culturally responsive and relevant education and the power of redemption.
BCHS was a school of second chances, a transfer school for students who were over aged and under credited and it was a second chance for me, a teacher who came into the profession with good intentions and in a moment of high stress had a reaction that had an absolute negative impact.
Sidebar: This is why I tell teachers don’t get into power struggles with students. Take it from me. The student has nothing to lose and you have everything to lose.
But, y’all, I wouldn’t be here, doing what I’m doing, supporting parents, teachers, administrators and students without that experience.
I needed to be humbled and humbled I was.
Yesterday, I took part in my own professional development. I attended a day long training with the dope ass organization Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice and Innovation. I was in a room with a bunch of powerful people who were dedicated to racial justice and it hit me, as to how strong White supremacy is. Because it can take something righteous and pure, like working for racial justice or becoming a teacher, or a police officer, or a lawyer and turn it into something destructive and disempowering like having a savior complex steeped in White supremacy and Black inferiority that leads to the destruction of self and those you claim to want to help.
Yesterday’s entire experience served me yet another piece of humble pie. And I am so grateful for it. It is so easy, to think that you know it all, once you experience success.
It’s so easy to become a racial justice savior, once you learn a little history, terminology and can convince people that you know what you’re talking about.
In doing this work, building racial equity, one must hold on to two things; curiosity and love. For me, that’s the recipe for success, a success not steeped in White supremacy and paternalism, a recipe that keeps me humble.
I can’t wait to share all that I learned with you.
“I don’t fabricate it, ayy, most of y’all be fakin’, ayy.
I stay modest ’bout it, ayy, she elaborate it, ayy.
This that Grey Poupon, that Evian, that TED Talk, ayy.
Watch my soul speak, you let the meds talk, ayy…be humble…sit down.
And yeah, I passed that background check and CREAD is about to fux up the game.
That’s me being humble yall.
I’m gonna be listening to Kendrick all damn day now. Happy Friday!