“For black men specifically, one of the stereotypes is that we are anti-intellectual. Anti-intellectual is different from uneducated. Uneducated means that I do not know how to read or can’t do things like that. Anti-intellectual means that I am against being smart. I am consciously against anything that has to do with education.
So being in education as a black man works against that narrative. We see education as a means to succeed, to grow, and to uplift our communities. We are actualizing something that was always meant for us.
When you’re 8 or 9 and people are calling you the N-word and telling you that you’ll never be anything, you think it’s you. Maybe I am stupid. Maybe I am not capable. But sociology says that actually it’s not your fault. These are things that black people are experiencing all across the nation. There are terms, this has been happening for years. So it’s not your fault.
I graduated high school with a 1.8 GPA. A lot of that was because of those obstacles. I grew up in Oceanside, a very white and conservative town. I liked to read and was very smart, but because of these other things, I wasn’t getting good grades. My sociology mentor helped me articulate my life. I was able to master my own experience.
Even in spite of all these barriers, something beautiful still grows.
We were the creators of society. We built pyramids, knew the vast farming systems of communication and architecture. So education has always been in us, it’s just that we were pushed out from it. I never want another African American student to come to Dominguez Hills and say that there was never a place for them.
The Rose Black Resource Center is born out of this. The name is inspired by Tupac’s poem, ‘The Rose that Grew from Concrete.’ Roses don’t grow out of concrete, they grow out of soil. The concrete represents oppression or obstacles. Even in spite of all these barriers, something beautiful still grows.”