I spent a good portion of Monday between doing work, eating an assortment of snacks, and reading the comments on my post over at SBM. Since I’ve been feelin’ extra honest lately and challenging myself to step out of the role of Mr. Agreeable, I decided to tackle the topic of why my kids will be going to a top 50 school when it comes time for college. The post was based on a conversation I had with a woman that went to Spelman and pretty much determined her daughter will follow suit. Given my thoughts on the pool of schools I plan to allow my son or daughter to choose from and the ranking of her esteemed institution, there was some disagreement. A discussion ensued that I knew would make great fodder for a blog post.
So I sat down to write it. On the first draft, I left the name of her school out and omitted the acronym “HBCU” from the post because I had a feeling the conversation would go left. Then I realized I wasn’t sharing my true perspective and said “F*ck it. This is how I feel.” The reality is that most people reading the post would know that an HBCU wouldn’t meet the top 50 criteria. Somebody was bound to call me out for being soft — not to be confused with flaccid — in my approach, so I just ran with it and kept it funky cold medina. Reading through it again, I mentioned HBCU twice. Once to answer the obvious top 50 rebuttal of “what if they want the HBCU experience?” and a second time to refer to the initial scenario that introduced the post. My discussion questions for the day were on whether readers planned to restrict where their children went to school or if they’d let them run free in their decision making.
The post was written in NY. The conversation went to California. Whaddafuggin surprise.
The tweets started to come in asking me what I was really trying to say. And admittedly, I avoided answering. I sensed people lying in wait to swiss cheese me up and there was no way I was about to get ambushed at 1am. The tweets have eyes. I saw them all. I closed mine and eventually went to sleep only to wake up and see the conversation was doing 85 mph across Colorado. Now here I am at 9pm reading through 200+ comments with more than 70% not even answering the questions I posed. Then I came across one from a regular commenter, Tiffany in Houston, that chimed in and made a point I’d been thinking over the course of the day but wasn’t in a position to put out there:
I saw this post when it hit my reader last night and I just laughed. Coming back to it now, it’s gone exactly as I expected, having devolved into an HBCU vs PWI battle royale.
HBCU graduates, you don’t have justify shit to anyone. All that matters is the work that you do and what’s deposited in your bank account on the 1st and 15th of every month.
signed a proud graduate of Prairie View A&M University, Class of 1995
This made me happy. The happenings of Monday confirmed to me that uttering HBCU at the beginning of a sentence or paragraph creates as much tension as starting a sentence or paragraph with “Black woman.” Troops start mobilizing at their keyboards, and platoons of fierce and wordy soldiers march right past the post into the comments section with weapons drawn. If the discussion on Monday were a battlefield, I’d have been walkin’ over broken diploma frames, grammatical massacres, and live rounds of statistics.
It’s crazy to me how little it takes to get people riled up just by saying or typing a few words. I understand pride. I understand being tired of consistent criticism and side-eyes. I also understand projection. It’s been my opinion for the longest that no writer, blogger, etc. should be able to get people so deep into their emotions (there are a select few exceptions) that they’re drained and their day is bodied. People shouldn’t be walkin’ away from keyboards harboring ill-will over some internet sh*t. Words only have as much impact as you allow them to. And given that my post was really about limiting children’s options for college, it’s funny that the comments turned into Bombs Over SBM.
Oh well. I’m still alive. Let’s see what next week brings. Maybe I’ll title the post something with the word “single” in it. Ehh, no I won’t. I value my life.
Offending the masses since 2011,