As soon as I tell people where I’m from and what institution I attend, I always get the snarky question of, “How’d you end up there?” With the creation of my first website, it seemed as good a time as any to address the elephant in the room.
I’m originally from Flint, Michigan where I graduated from Carman-Ainsworth High School. This statement is usually met with wide eyes and gasps of disbelief. Yes, there are people from Flint who live a comfortable life. I would even say this is true for the majority of Flint residents because we have grown accustomed to the systemic racism forced against us known as the Flint Water Crisis. After my partner of conversation reattaches his or her’s fallen jaw, I continue to answer the question as if the inquiry into my credibility is not race or class based.
For most people, my neutral answer is that I wanted to be closer to my sister, who also attends college on the east coast. I like this answer because it’s short and sweet for the people who hear without listening. Plus, it isn’t a lie. My sister and I are best friends so being geographically close obviously helped with our communication.
My aspiration is to be a journalist, so when fellow journalists ask the same question of me, my complacent answer is that I wanted to gain hands-on experience in a way that smaller, journalism-niche schools could not provide. This is true; I thought, and still believe, that Providence and Brown have the resources to train and create impactful journalists.
If I’m talking to someone who is athletically savvy, I always mention how I wanted the opportunity to play Division 1 basketball. With a year under my belt, I can honestly say it is an extraordinary experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
I could go on and on, but the point is that depending on who I am conversing with, my answer to the forever asked “How’d you end up at Brown?” changes to what they most likely want to hear. It’s so funny how these days, people will ask my opinion or ask me a question, but only become truly satisfied when I tell them what they want to hear. All of these answers are true, which means there’s no harm done anyways, so I continue to shift through this file cabinet of answers and pick between each filed answer as I please.
The full reason of why I chose Brown is because I knew going in that I wanted to double concentrate in Modern Culture & Media and Africana Studies. MCM is a cinematic and historical analysis of media–whether that be print, broadcast, film, etc– from the 19th century to present day. Specifically, I am interested in the intersection of race with every other entity (business, sports, medicine, etc) and how black people, all people of color for that matter, continue to be disproportionately affected. With this knowledge, my goal is to become a Political Journalist who has enough insight about the intersectionality of all entities and black people to build a platform where I am respected enough to be invited on Sports Talk Shows, Business Reports, Medical Reviews and the like to unpack various issues through enlightened conversations.
Now, you would think that I could openly say this to anyone who asks, but just as you may have grown uncomfortable while reading it, most people are just as uncomfortable, if not more uncomfortable, when talking about race relations. If the opening months of the current President’s administration is not proof enough, then surely what’s going on in Virginia right now, or the past several years of police interactions with black folks, and the history leading to these catastrophes are factual evidence.
It’s the aftermath of situations like these, and learning how to move forward from them, that continues to be a passioned area for me, as well as the reason I chose Brown.