Black voices, black Pride: the introduction

CAMERON ALFORD | CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST

Black students hold a certain level of significance to being Black at Butler, which creates a natural stigma about our place on campus.

You cannot legitimately move forward if you do not know your history.

Black students fall victim to many false stereotypes, categorizations, a lack of cultural awareness and persistent cultural appropriation.

Outside of the “Butler Bubble,” we face many of those same issues, but escalated.

Our people are shot down in the streets, on the corner and on the side of the road. Our voices, our lives are not appreciated.

There is a conviction that #BlackLivesMatter is only heard, but not valued.

How do I gain appreciation as an African-American when my ancestors’ full worth amounted to his or her ability to serve a master?

My history, our “American history,” is predicated on appreciating black lives for our worth in the field rather than originality and creativity.

We were a part of an evident system that attempted to choke out our voices and trample on our pride.

Now we are a part of a system that only tolerates our voices and misrepresents our pride, and that tolerance in our society trickles down into our education.

With all of the negative things I see as a black student inside and outside of the “Butler Bubble,” I still believe that black students have many things to be proud of.

As we celebrate Black History Month in February, black students can find a lot of pride in the resilience that has inherently been passed down to us.

Products of our resiliency are found in the music that we create, the educational institutions we establish, and the businesses we continue to run because of our willingness to embrace entrepreneurship.

As I celebrate Black History Month with the country, I want to recognize and appreciate the value we have as black students across all campuses.

We have a history of creativity, leadership, and resiliency that no system should take away from us.

We have the incredible opportunity to gain an education and make a difference in our society.

Carter G. Woodson, an African-American writer and historian known as the “Father of Black History Month,” said, “real education means to inspire people to live more abundantly; to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better.”

With this four-part article series, my goal is to embrace the history, the voices and the pride of black students.

We are in an influential time as students where we are forced to accept or reject our heritage.

I am not attempting to speak for all black students, nor am I trying to tell Black students how to feel. My goal is to value the voices we do have, and create a special opportunity for us as people to unite despite our differences.

This is only the start of the conversation. What are we all going to do to make our world better?

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