HOW THE FUCK DO YOU JUSTIFY THIS SHIT?!
Like, this really sickens me to my core; the fact that this girl had the highest GPA and was not allowed to be the valedictorian as she should have been is a fucking mess.
Although it isn’t exactly the same, I remember an incident my senior year in high school where I was basically told I was incapable of the work that I produced. It was my physics class; I was working on a lab write-up. When I asked him to read over my lab write-up, the first thing he asked me was if I wrote it by myself. I thought that was a weird question to ask; I was like, “Yeah. Who else would have wrote it?” He told me, to my face:
“I don’t think you wrote this.”
I was FURIOUS. I worked hard on that; prior to I was struggling a bit. My word choices were to elevated; the words were too big. The words he referred to, however, were vocabulary relevant to the lab; even when He event went so far as to get the head of the science department to prove his point; while she said it didn’t exactly seem like I wrote it, she told my teacher that you can’t just assume that. They were both white. And when it was all said and done, I was beyond embarrassed. And, if you don’t remember from my post about high school, it was one of the many times I felt completely defeated and worthless as a student.
I just don’t understand how you strip a person of their potential, their ability, their merit. Just because it doesn’t seem right. Because your feeble ass mind cannot grasp the thought of someone black having a good work ethic, excelling and going above and beyond and coming out on top. I can’t understand that.
I probably never will.
The exact same thing happened to me as 34yr old adult student in college. My English professor (a very regal and intelligent Nigerian woman) had me come to her office after she suspected that I had not written the first 3 papers she had assigned the class. The thought the writing was “too though-out and mature” for me to have written them. I straightened myself up and explained to her that I was well past 30, a mother, a thinker and had always been a good writer. SHE was the one who was embarrassed THAT day. Hmph.
Adding to this: It happened to me quite young— 3rd grade to be exact.
We were doing a class unit on early Canadian history and I had drawn on doing a project on the early postal system. My mom took me to the library and I researched and wrote a comprehensive paper with advanced vocabulary choices (which is not strange for me considering I was devouring chapter books in a single day at that age).
I borrowed my father’s Canon word processor and painstakingly spent the entire week at the dining room table typing. Complete with citations and a bibliography None of this is strange considering my mother is a college professor.
I was so proud when I stood up in front of the class and read a portion of my paper. I had drawings and photos for visual aids. The teacher watched me as I sat down…. and when she handed me my grade sheet, there was a “0” and a note to my mother, saying that she needed to meet with her. I was crushed.
My mother came after work and the teacher point blank accused my parents of doing my work for me.
My mother said: “Mrs. [redacted], I am an operating room nurse. I work the 7 to 3 shift everyday and work pool on the weekends. My husband is the vice president of an engineering firm. He works late and is in the office on weekends. Often. We don’t have TIME to do this child’s work for her. She is brilliant and if you can’t see that, I’m afraid I need to seek a new classroom for her. I don’t want my child stifled and I’m insulted you think we would produce anything less than an exceptional child. I’m going to be speaking with your superiors.”
The next week, I was placed in the gifted program. They almost skipped me to 4th grade.
And I was mad, because I had to leave all my friends…. the mind of an 8 year old.
But yeah, certified bullshit this is. We’re not allowed to be brilliant because we are brown?
FUCK THAT SHIT.
4th grade. Report on MLK. Teacher sends note home warning parents to “not do harrietsdaugther’s work for her.” Mom comes to school and raises holy hell. End of story. (Which still makes me wonder - did those teachers not sit up there and SEE us being all smart and err thing? Really? People are that mean and petty? Okay, okay, I forgot … carry on.)
The fact that this fuck-shit is happening to SO MANY OF US on every academic level…NO WONDER our children aren’t making it! Look at the shit that’s being done to them in school! Even in the face of our intelligence, they refuse to believe in it! This INFURIATES ME!