View Full Version : African- Americans And Education

02-19-2005, 03:05 PM
I was watching Chris Rock's Bring the Pain stand-up routine last night and he made a joke about how black people will congratulate and give props to people who just got of jail ..if you mention you graduated from college..well the reaction is not so enthusiastic. While it was so funny I I have seen this happen. People get out of jail and mention the 5 year bit they did and they get this respect from some folk. Welcome home parties, I've seen some black people behave like they are proud and happy for someone who has served time. I have experienced some hostility from family members for going to school and very little enthusiam or pride when I graduated. :dunno: I wonder what is up with that .. I am still seeing this people who are like hey girl wasn't you my celly at the so--so facility and they are all happy and excited like it was the proudest and best time of their lives. I work in a state job and we have an adult parole authority and I have seen this several times amongst people going to see their probation officers, when somebody mentions somebody is in college or going you can hear crickets singing.
Any thoughts on this?

02-20-2005, 07:44 AM
I can't relate. My family was extremely excited for me when I graduated college. Several members of my extended family made the trip and those that couldn't sent flowers and gifts. My parents gave me a really nice graduation dinner too. When I got into med school, you would have thought I'd cured cancer from the way they carried on. The only time I was given any grief about my education was when I decided to take some time off and do some clinical research in a program my school offers that lets you get a masters. I had to explain to them that I wasn't quitting med school, just taking a temporary leave of absence to do something that will help me in the long run. When my cousins graduated, they were treated the same way. My fam doesn't care what you do as long as you are trying to better yourself. They were just as proud when my sister completed a cosmetology course as they were when she decided to get a college degree. On the flip side, my cousin went to federal prison for a few months for embezzlement. They were not pleased and at family reunions my great-uncle makes a big deal about hiding his wallet.

I'm very proud of my education and it is nice when others recognize my hard work. However, I don't think that anyone is required to do so. It's been my experience that some people just aren't that interested in me, regardless of what I'm doing. Also, if you give off an "I'm educated so I'm the sh*# vibe" people will get turned off quickly. And really, is it that big of a deal if no one throws you a graduation party? If you really want one, throw one yourself and invite your family and tell them how grateful you were for supporting you. That way you make them a part of it.

I disagree with Chris Rock's statement. If someone wants to throw a party for their ex-con son or daughter, what's so wrong with that? Maybe they want to show him/her that they still love and care about them and want to help them turn their life around. Loving a child who happens to be an ex-con and valuing education are not mutually exclusive. I think that overall education is valued by many in the Black community, even by those who haven't had the opportunity to pursue it. When I nearly lost my mind during my first year of med school, some of my biggest supporters were the janitors. They'd bring me coffee when I was studying late and when I couldn't find a free study room they'd unlock classrooms so that I could have somewhere quiet to read. They could have gotten fired for doing so but they wanted to help me in anyway they could. Most people that I've met value education, even if they don't fawn over college graduates.

02-20-2005, 10:30 AM
That's wonderful that you can't relate.... I have had that experience and I have spoken with other college graduates or students who have experienced this as well. That is why I laughed when I heard Chris Rock say that. Actually, there was a study done by an African man on a couple of schools one being in the area I live in on education and African-American children. In the study he found that a lot of the African- American children felt pressured to do mediocre and poorly in school and were teased for being smart or doing well in school by other children i.e. being told they were acting white. I had a discussion with a group of younger black people who say that this has happened to them it also has happened to me when I was in high school. It did not change until college. Some of the attitudes towards getting an education were less than exicitable with me. I may be just the exception to the rule. I don't think that anyone is "required" to be proud of my education. It is an accomplishment that I usually keep privated because it is not that big of a deal that other people acknowledge it to me. It is the whole idea that people close to me were not supportive of my endeavors because Lord knows it wasn't easy and the last thing I needed was someone in vehement opposition of me trying to better myself , For some reason people think that anyone who mentions their college experience is looking for a pat on the back.... that is not the issue. The issue is people aho know you have gone to school and/or are in school and instantly think that you believe you think that you are better or actively try to oppose or discourage you trying to better yourself, that is what I am talking about. I have seen people who were acknowledge for their educational accomplishments and supported by family but I have also experienced and seen the opposite and seen it enough to try and discuss it. Maybe I'm just an exception to the rule, because your the first to reply and only so far since I posted this topic :unsure: :dunno: Oh yeah and I wouldn't take everything that Chris Rocks says so seriously he's a comedien, most of what he's telling is just jokes. Of course it's okay to throw a coming home party for somebody even if they have been in the joint, nobody said that was wrong, what he said was that some people are actually proud or respect people who have been to jail as if that were a major accomplishment. I have seen that in my personal experience. I have to add that I graduated from college and I work as a receptionist for the state... My job did not require a college degree. I do not "think" because I have an education or that people who work in blue collar jobs are less than me or have a funky attitude towards education. I have a blue collar job, it is about INDIVIDUALS who act is if they have to actively oppose or antagonize people who do choose to get an education. I can only speak from my experience as an African- American woman because that is the culture I relate to and have and I spend most of my time outside of work around African- Americans. ((SIGH)) I am tired now.

02-20-2005, 07:41 PM
When I nearly lost my mind during my first year of med school, some of my biggest supporters were the janitors. They'd bring me coffee when I was studying late and when I couldn't find a free study room they'd unlock classrooms so that I could have somewhere quiet to read.

The janitors at my school love me too. I'm inviting a couple of them to my graduation. It seems that the black folk working those menial service jobs at my school are my biggest supporters and want me to do well.

02-20-2005, 07:58 PM

I'm sorry you've had to deal with that. After reading your first post, I didn't realize that you were dealing with blatant opposition to your education. Now that's messed up. There's a big difference between a lack of interest and discouragement. I believe anyone doing the latter needs to be checked.

Also, I should have made clear that the "yous" in my post were general and not directed at you. I wasn't accusing you personally of having a "better than thou" attitude and I'm sorry if it came off that way.

02-20-2005, 09:11 PM
You can borrow my family and friends. They will be very proud of you! I'm proud of you! That settles it, you're officially a Worthy! Much Love... :wub:

02-20-2005, 10:00 PM
Thanx to you all ...much love :wub: I have experienced people who have accused me of thinking I was "better" than they were because I graduated from college and did not support or tried to actvely stop me from getting through school. I even went to an interview and when I mentioned my school experience. The interviewer was rather curt with me she did not seem interested at all. Now that was strange to me, I thought I was in the twilight zone. All of this has only happened in my interactions with other African-Americans. I just thought I would try and discuss it if anyone else had noticed or experienced it as well.

02-20-2005, 11:12 PM
I've never heard of welcome home from prison parties until a recent thread here. We did have a family dinner when a cousin had a furlough now that I think about it.

Cara - I'm proud of you and wish you the very best. I do know that families are strange sometimes. Your experience is probably happens more often than all of us would like to think. Keep your head up, girl.

02-21-2005, 01:11 AM
Caraqueen, I am proud of you. I am proud of all african americans who get an education. It is a truly beautiful thing. ^_^