Prairie View A&M is a peculiar institution of higher learning for a cacophony of reasons. One of these reasons is the dearth of intellectual curiosity on campus. I presume this lack of educational curiosity is a result of banking education. A form of education where a sage on the stage inserts information into students sitting below the stage presumably at their desks. A situation in which students come to class looking to be fed information, rather than engage with the professor and the knowledge. A situation such as the one I just described introduced itself to me again, this time in a history class. However, by the end of class, I was left struck by a new and profound insight into one of man’s oldest topics, love.
As will be the discussion, given enough time, between individuals in Black America, is what can we do the alleviate ourselves of the struggles we face. I dare say that some suggestions revolve around: buying black, liberation through education, or changing the system from within the system. There are more common suggestions I am sure, but those three previously mentioned give us the framework to move forward.
Rarely have I come to find these type of conversations amounting to a solution that hits home at the root of the problem. For example, buying black may solve the issue of economic disparities within Black America and White America, however, it does not reconcile the issue of Black America exchanging their own values instilled in us from The Motherland with that of White America. For that reason alone, it is not sufficient to carry weight nor merit as a starting point to ease the ills that Black America faces.
Liberation through education is a step further in the right direction, yet cannot encompass the political battles waged through education. A blaring example of this is the incoming Secretary of Education who, for the first time in United States history had to receive a tie-breaking vote from the Vice President to be confirmed. In America political battles that are taboo or off the mainstream path America finds acceptable to talk about in public life usually takes form in education issues. So yes, you may send your kids to school with the old reframe of “stay in school”, but when the school your child goes to differs drastically with that of the school on the other side of town, we have not only significant differences in schools but drastically different opportunities offered to students. Therefore, liberation through education can only go so far.
Additionally, we have, to change the system from within the system. I say plainly and bluntly, that leadership and security/comfort cannot exist together at the same time. In other words, one cannot join the system in which they seek to change without having the system have some type of effect upon then. More often than not, when one seeks to change a system from within, they will be changed instead. As the comforts of White America dull the senses and perceptions of a once proud member of Black America. Therein, one does not push the envelope too far for risk of losing retirement savings, college funds for children, steady direct deposits, stable career advancement, in short, a cushy lifestyle.
What we are left with is love. This is what I found in my history class one sweltering afternoon in the heart of dixie. Love will allow you to look at your brethren in the Black community and not see a thug, rather another brother/sister who is committed to the struggle. Yes, there are those who you will come to in love and who will let you down. L’s come with the W’s, but what is more important is the love that you share will affect those you reach, whether or not that love is returned. Love will allow you to look at yourself and see the best you have to offer. Love will allow you to think twice before you slight another member of Black America. Love will lift us up as a people. Aware of the limitations that love can have on the immediate alleviation of Black America’s issues, we have to play the long game first and think 10,20, and 50 years down the line.
If you and I are committed to the advancement of Black America, then we must start at the root of solution ideation. We must start at the heart of problems. Find out what is going on and share the love that we owe one another. Love in fellowship, love in companionship, love in education, love of self, love of awareness and every other form that has a significant impact on yourself and Black America. Where is the love at? As I ask, search, and share I hope beyond belief that you too will do the same.