Colored

The 20s are all about telling your own story. It's about getting fed up, getting angry, and making your move. When you can't take anymore, you've had enough and you're done with being held down, that's when you stand tall, proud and strongest. When all the bull crap has taken it's toll, you're tired of deflecting/avoiding/fighting, and you're nearly about to give up on the world, you hit your second wind and you just take off. Let the truth of yourself go out and be real. Out and about, fully colored - not the knock off, monochromatic version we pass as real (Versace, Versace, Versace - thanks Drake for those deep lyrics). 


 
*This post continues my hard hitting, tell all, explicit week of baring my all (even more than usual). Read these words with yourself open and taking it in, it's not for show or for pity - this is real. Check yourself, the people around you, where you've been and most importantly what part you have and will play when from now on. 
 
One of the many patronizing questions I get asked about my college experience is whether or not I would recommend my school to other potential students. People always assume I love it, partly because I'm highly involved (just call me overachieving do-gooder) and I post an obscene amount of pictures of all the activities, programs, events and randomness that I participate in. Well your assumption would be dead ass wrong. I don't love my school, if anything it and all the people in it both terrify and fascinate me to no end. The establishment is impressive but those in power and the general student body are blind to the ignorance that devastates so many of it's students. Honestly, when students of color ask me about my experience, I emphasize getting involved (it's what has kept me sane and from transferring) and preparing to fight. If you're unwilling and incapable of being able to deal with microaggressions, constant stares, ignorance, covert racism and tons of double standards then it's not the place for you. You can be as open as welcoming as possible and yet still you will always feel like an outsider. Me, personally I have always felt that way and I'm hands down one the top five most known students on campus (self declared). Whether it's because I'm everywhere, doing everything, or because I stick out like a painfully throbbing sore thumb - I can never know. Either way, I may come off as mister popular, safe, secure and living the well connected socialite life but I'm nothing of the sort - no matter how much I may pretend to be. That school is the loneliest place I have ever been.

The most frustrating part is there is this untouchable sentiment that's something's not quite right with the way some students are treated, the false reasons few students of color attend and above all this fake notion that everyone is the most welcoming, nicest, and open minded person ever. I'm shouting from the rooftops, knocking on every door and ringing the alarm - that's a bold face lie and we all know it, the sooner we all acknowledge the fact the faster we can cut the crap. This predominantly white campus is one of most exclusive places I've ever been and that's coming from the most mainstream (that's read socially acceptable, easily digestible, white approved black guy) dude out there. Stop throwing shade, your rude looks, stereotypical assumptions and uninformed nonsense gives you away (aka your racism is showing) and it's highly unsightly. There's a difference between calling someone a racist and what they said or did being racist. Call a person in general a racist (like the ratchet butter queen of PR failures known as Paula Deen) and they retreat, and go back to deny, delete and avoid. Mention anything about race and everyone runs away. "We don't have a problem with that here. Your experience is a rarity. That can't be true. If you go looking for things to knit-pick, you'll always find things to complain about." Mmkay, I can't speak for everyone else (that is all 10% of non-white dirty little secrets) but I'm pretty sure the outsider feeling (which isn't because there's a lack of POCs,; spoiler alert I don't need to be around people who look like me to be comfortable, I need people who treat me like a freaking human being, not some diversity filling gimmick archetypal character in their messed up Fox reality series) is widespread. Sorry #notsorry to rain on your picture perfect oblivious parade, but those of us who can't hide our visibly minority status are constantly overlooked, disrespected and tormented especially in the denying/belittling of our experiences. I'm not sweating, I didn't pop a Molly, I'm not hallucinating and I'm not lying - who would make this stuff up (oh and I don't do, nor have I ever done drugs, contrary to popular ignorant belief). Don't get me started, this makes you uncomfortable, well welcome to my entire life in a white world - your relaxation is one of your many invisible privileges. I'm just getting a little colored, whoops my bad. 
TELEVISION CELEBRITY BIO: KYLIE BUNBURY
Kylie Bunbury is a model and actress. She began her modeling career in the Twin Cities, signing with Minneapolis-based Vision Management Group when she was a high school senior. She had several years of success Kylie Bunbury in “Prom" but found the modeling world limiting; at only five feet, eight inches, she didn’t have the height for high fashion. This turned out to be a blessing, however, as at the age of 22 she decided to move to Los Angeles and pursue an acting career.  
Check out her newest role as Lacey in ABC Family’s Twisted.
Don't believe me, read on. Here's the part where I take it there, continue at your own bubble bursting risk. So I used to belong to the honors college (not even mad about it) at my beloved University. I can wholeheartedly say it was every problem I had with the student body, condensed and amplified ten fold, oh with the majorly embarrassing stipulation that these were supposed to be the best and brightest at our school. There's a reason every class of us lost all or very few people of color remained, not because we couldn't handle the work (in my case, chemistry man-handled my GPA) but the people we interacted with. I never felt more alienated or patronized then when I was in my residence hall. The looks of shock, despair and confusion I would get when walking up the stairs. People who would noticeably quicken their  steps or acknowledge my existence when I said "hey" in passing. Getting completely ignored in my African-Americans in the US Economy class, while being the only actual black person to deal with (in reality) the repercussions of institutionalized racism (oh it's real, hence the obscenely high incarcerations, projects/ghettos, and lack of black people with higher education - among other things). The amount of nonsensical, thinly veiled racist things that were mentioned like it was NBD or that I wasn't in the class is legit unreal. I've never felt more un-human then I was around those people. I was like some special guest, a social experiment, or a project to be worked on. Very few people in there I would call friends. I remember a community circle we had about penis drawings and most people banded against their right to draw them whenever and wherever they wanted - it was apparently infringing upon their freedom of expression. Well, your insensitivity may have been encroaching upon one of your neighbors sense of security in our community. When we had a white privilege flyer go up it was immediately graffitied with denial rebuttals of it's existence (BTW, your proclamation of your disbelief is that privilege at work). Way too often did I feel tokenized (do not, I repeat do not bring up the argument of intent vs. impact - whether it was purposeful or not is besides the point). Colored, and tired of it.
 Carlos Knight @ the 2012 Kid’s Choice Awards
Happy 19th Birthday to Chris O’Neal (@ChrisONeal4)
Tyler James Williams
As a member of many communities at my school, I'm one those "voyaging minorities" - in that I go places and participate in situations where I'm usually the only person of color. Case in point, fraternity/sorority life. I'm going to let you know that it's one of the most uncomfortable and comfortable communities I've been apart of (love my fraternity brothers, and some of the sorority women - but that's pretty much as far as it goes). It wasn't until this past semester where I really threw myself into the whole fraternal movement and gave it my nearly undivided attention. I took a Greek leadership class and it both one of my favorite and also most gut-wrenching classes I've been in. My teachers were great, and I appreciated the fact that they asked us to be real, to share, and adjusted the class to address some of the preconceived notions that most people choose to ignore. My classmates, again some were superb, and I know they got it, others couldn't be bothered to put forth effort when it came to learning about diversity and the attitudes our super white, noticeably exclusive community gives off. When it came to party rules and drinking, ears perked up - but when we spent a whole class on all the -isms, little to nothing was actually said when we were all given the opportunity to speak. In those situations I'm careful (take notice of this) to not speak too much or I become the angry black man, or too little or I'm not taking of my cause - why is it my job to educate my peers ... always, at my own personal expense. We went over the old ritual of the Kakewalk (aka white people in black face making a mockery of old slave practices) and that entire class period I spent visibly crumbled, tears streaming down my face, and the most uncomfortable I'd ever been in a classroom. The thing about it and all of this (read this excessively long post) is that I didn't feel human. Doesn't that make you sick to your stomach - a HUMAN BEING, didn't feel human. I'll explain, of course I was the only person to truly feel pain from seeing those pictures and reading the story of the practice, some people feigned interest/disgust, but the empathy wasn't there. That's what this is ALL about. I want, no need, no DESERVE to be treated as a human. The few people I've made friends with at my school understand and execute that. I'm no different than any of their other friends, not special, not othered, not taken particular notice of in order to not offend, not walked on eggshells around, not tokenized, not patronized or used as the butt of jokes. I'm NORMAL, for once. Colored in completely, and proudly prized like everyone else.
I want her.Cymphonique Miller at the 2012 Nickelodeon Upfronts in Hollywoodl0veissobeautiful 



remember her?
I need to wrap this up but I have too much to say. I remember we went to this inclusive language roundtable - like totally social justice friendly, and the girl running it made a point to get oddly super specific with people's ethnicities (like countries and regions and all). Of course, she mentioned of African descent and I was the only person in a giant circular room to step in. A couple other people stepped in for their respective identities to wave the obvious minority flag. But we ended, and after all the other identities were mentioned I realized she didn't say white/European. There it was, the obvious identity so obvious it's invisible. It's just the norm, and therefore doesn't need to be pointed out. We talked about the step in experience and I was one of the few people to speak, and while everyone else said how cool it was or empowering to know they were not alone, I stated that I felt scared afterwards. Stepping in alone (aka a metaphor for my experience at the institution) was jus that, scary. Don't get me started on my experience with other fraternity men in other chapters. I've spoken in front of crowds of over 2,000 people and I was nervous then, but sitting in a room with just 15 other fraternity men I've never sweated or felt more unwelcome or that I didn't belong than at the single IFC (inter-fraternity council) meeting I went to, and it lasted less than 15 minutes. There exemplified the "archenemy" and the "American" (that's read perfectly white trophies of manhood ... because people of color are not what comes to mind or what's implied in using the word American) dominance I'd come to avoid at all costs. None of them spoke to me, introduced themselves, or made any attempt to welcome me (Don't give me the argument that I could have done so. Why must the minority always cater to the majority?) even though I was clearly the newbie. I can tell you that I've come to be apprehensive of white guys, I don't belong in their world, nor will I ever fit in. No matter if I dress the same (or better), speak their proper American-English, and follow all their rules.
 I'm just too colored.
Evan Ross - His voice is so sexy!those eyes <3
This has been a crazy packed post, and I'll be honest in saying that I shook, sweated and felt that same uneasy feeling in remembering all this stuff as I did writing it. It's worth mentioning that I've started writing my next novel (wrote one back in 8th grade) entitled "Colored" based on my experiences at a PWI (pre-dominantly white institution). Take these experiences as they are, that is robbing a person of their humanity. I urge you to feel something, break down that white walled barrier of security, and feel something. Whether you know me or not, don't be afraid to reread and feel. That's twat this is all about, the disconnect between white people and people of color. I've said it once and I'll say it again, my friends are the people who don't change to accommodate me.

The 20s are all about going there. Sometimes it takes being bold, courageous, and a little excessive to demonstrate how serious you are (take this post for example). Humanity is what this whole thing is about. I truly hope this post has made you feel something, whether that be disbelief, sorrow or rage (if you're unimpressed and rolling your eyes, you're probably not getting it). I'm colored and more than okay with it (not that I have choice whether or not to be) - it doesn't make me any less of a person ... in fact it makes it only makes me stronger dealing with this nonsense on top of everything else.
 
My blog post question for the day is ... have you ever felt like less than a human? No response from me needed - I'm all blogged out.

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