Inayah Avant | Staff Writer
Not too long ago I went to a panel discussion put on by NAMIE called, “Exploring the African Diaspora,” meaning the discussion would be centered around the diversity in the Black and African experience.
Saying that I was pumped would be the understatement of the century.
When I arrived to the event, I found a seat ready to be enlighten, however, as the orator directed questions to the panel of five students
I was awash with a myriad of emotions ranging from surprise, to utter disappointment. I realize now that the panelists were probably learning about diversity just as I am, so I shouldn’t be so critical.
Furthermore, I am by no means shading NAMIE; I applaud them for being the catalyze of necessary discussions.
However, I do believe they missed the mark.
Whenever one of the five individuals were asked a question pertaining to diversity in the Black community their responses seemed almost textbook.
Their answers ranged from hair texture, to and unfortunately that seemed as though that is where the story ends.
While these are pertinent topics that need to be addressed and deserve a stage, I couldn’t help but wish to scream, “That isn’t the only thing that makes us diverse as a community!”
So, what is diversity, since you seem to know so much about it?
Well, I’m going to keep it stack; I have only very recently understood the multiplicity of the Black community and am still learning but I do think we need to consider broadening our scope.
Armed with the question of what diversity is as it pertains to the Black community I hit the streets to inquire after other people’s beliefs.
Amani Boyce, a first year Political Science major from Brooklyn, New York.
When asked the previously mentioned question her answer was straight to the point, “Diversity to me in the Black community are the different socioeconomic standings in the Black community, skin color, and your background.”
To be Black and young in America today (to me) is to understand that there are Blacks that are rich and play polo, Blacks that paint, Blacks that speak Mandarin and are obsessed with architecture, Blacks that are sneakerheads that have been formally trained in ballet for 14 years, Blacks that are atheist, Blacks that love robots, or engines, or interested in shoe making, or bread making or, or, or, or.
Do you get what I’m trying to say?
To be Black in America is to live with the understanding that everyone around will you (including your fellow brothers and sisters) will put you in a box.
To be Black in America is to understand that you have the drive, capacity, and courage to do anything but must convince those around you that you being “different” isn’t breaking a mold!
I have a recently developed hobby of walking around the library and finding a book at random to read (#EnglishMajorTingz) and I stumbled across a book named Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Art & Literature.
I bring Role Call up now because, to me, it stands as a physical representation of the capabilities of the Black (creatives) mind; the varying pasts we come from, our circumstances, our passions, and pains vary so much!
So, I challenge you with this: Reevaluate what diversity may mean to you, broaden your intellectual curiosity, ask questions, you may find that you may have been living in a box as well.
Crack the lid, the lessons waiting to be wafted in are breathtaking.