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What Claudine Gay’s Reality, Says About My Own As An Educated Millennial Black Person

An essay by Tahyira Savanna

“You’ve got to learn how to leave the table when love’s no longer being served.” — Nina Simone (Born in Tryon, North Carolina 1933, Died in Carry-le-Rouet, France 2003)

“The paradox of education is precisely this — that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.” — James Baldwin (Born in Harlem, New York 1924, Died in Saint Paul de Vence, France 1987)

What the fuck son. I shared a very clear attack about Dr Gay’s visit to Capitol Hill. They called on the United States government to help them plot against a race of people, educationally. A reminder, I cannot change the color of my skin. A reminder, I graduated from Long Island University, CW Post Campus. A reminder, I am a recession millennial entering the workforce during the Great Recession. A reminder, I changed directions and went to Hollywood to become a creative entrepreneur. A reminder, that everything that I just said is my true human account of my life experience up until today. My 37th birthday is in twenty days.

Nina and James serve as my ancestral lighthouses whereas Taraji and Kerry and dem serve as my career markers. Black people in America have had all versions of enough. I used to feel freedom within my education. I used to feel pride for completing my master’s thesis. I used to want to work for “people” to show my skills. That has come to a hard halt. Where do I go from here? When I became an artist, it was and still is a high-key social experiment.

“There is a pervasive narrative that if you care about something, you shouldn’t expect to earn money from it.” I found a Medium article titled, How to Become a Paid Activist. In it, the writer shares some points about ethos. You may need to compromise your personal views for the sake of matching the ethos of an organization. This can feel like you’re betraying yourself at times, not getting to the heart of the issue. I like that word. Let’s examine it closer.

Ethos is a Greek word meaning ‘character’ that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology; and the balance between caution, and passion. Interestingly enough, I studied Criminal Justice and wrote my master’s thesis on the lack of public awareness regarding modern-day slavery, and human trafficking. I went to a predominantly white university, not an HBCU (Historically Black College/University). I graduated in the year 2009 with my bachelor’s and in 2010 with my master’s. My degree falls now since the university has made changes, in the school of PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION. I think Criminal Justice is really liberal arts with a professional twist.

The jobs I was “supposed to be eligible for upon graduation” firstly, never came, see the Great Recession. Secondly, did not address my character, or my ethos. As part of completing my undergraduate curriculum, I got into a prestigious internship at the District Attorney’s Office. No help from the college office at all. Can you guess what happened before I was able to start the said internship? The faculty at C.W. Post emailed the King County’s DA internship office to state that their student, Tahyira Cordner, was placed on a submission list but their position was not approved by LIU, C.W. Post. Basically, the white school never had inner-city students apply for off-of-the-island positions in Brooklyn (Kings County NYC) so they did not know any of their students would get in. Mary T. was the lady, white lady, who hired me. I still remember her name, her face, and the brown panels of her messy office. I remember my singular brown face at the acceptance meeting. We had to get cleared with fingerprints as the internship was provided by the Department of Justice, the federal agency responsible for overseeing crime. There was a white kid from New York University, a Spanish dude from Lehman College, and another white girl from Fordham, and yeah — little Black Tahyira from Long Island University.

As a young Black 21-year-old, this was the beginning of my post-collegiate reality and I did not even know it. I wasn’t even done yet and I was again, like in class, the only Black kid in the room. The token Blackness goes far in life, many times in Hollywood, I was the only Black person thinking the way that I think. “So we gonna keep producing trash no one watching like Trump is Hitler, we need to hit these stories hard now!”. I moved in Spring 2017, the height of the #meToo movement. Oprah said, Time’s Up, but nothing changed. Oprah looks like me, in skin, so America has said, there is a glass ceiling on Black achievement, Black empowerment, and Black upward mobility. It’s usually Black people in general who are the loudest about their own celebrities but to be a Black celebrity is to be beloved by white America too. Oprah is always held as a criminal in the media despite owning, hehe, media. It is because she represents, herself. A token. She helped others, like Tyler and Gayle, so they will always be deemed, friends of a criminal. Jay-Z and Beyonce can move to Venus and Mars, and the community would still be funding an Illuminati campaign around them. They added Meghan and Harry into the same pot, they were the United Kingdom’s ingredient.

It cannot be the norm that because a non-white-skinned human being, chooses to fight for their own humanity, in service, to help others along the way, they become candidates to be targeted for hatred. In 2017, Black Lives Matter activists were the subject of a new regime change at the FBI. Black Identity Extremist. We think the retaliation targets were Obama-related but we’re not done researching the receipts.

Now, the government has said, I’m an extremist, which pulls us all closer to the terrorist than an activist. If they can deem you a danger and a threat, on paper, like they did the last time, with the Black Panthers, then anything you do as an American, is also deemed dangerous. See Oprah. My brand has just finished its second special report, Attacked: How the United States Media’s Ecosystems Curate Hate Crimes, which follows our first one, Cult Minded: Tracing The Link Between Conspiracy Theories and Emotional Health. At the end of the first report, I credited myself as the researcher of the report which included my education.

As a woman, credit for my work has always been a focal point. Before transferring to Criminal Justice, wait no, I am skipping ahead. I went from a Psychology major to undeclared and then chose CRJ with a minor in Sociology. I knew that learning the law was not going to be sufficient. I need to learn about society and how we all live in different kinds of communities. Men steal credit because their egos are very much more greedy. I remember the Freud lessons pretty well, the ID, the EGO, and the SUPEREGO. They want credit for things they did not achieve and they want to be the power among the sexes. The United States was built by white males. The white male ego is how the country was designed. When naysayers chimed in this week, asking Black educational professionals about diversity, they claimed whiteness and privilege in our modern era is non-existent. So how did Donald Trump, a white man, win a Presidential election 8 years after, a mixed race man? Promoted fear and the demographic loss of political power amongst the races.

The 2020 Census report should have been delivered to the mailing addresses of every household, but they only like to send the forms, not the data the forms have collected. It revealed that a new race, white — Hispanic was big enough to give a seat in Congress, that MTG, won. It was not based on political changes, it was based on the information provided in the 2010 Census. President Obama was in office. There was a charge towards white America to be afraid of Black people in power. In 2013, Trayvon Martin’s death forced the Black-skinned POTUS to address Black-skinned issues, not something he ran for in his hope campaign. Wait, I jumped ahead, before BLM, Sandy Hook Elementary happened. It became a concentrated coordinated use of a tragedy involving children that gave power to the Infowars of the internet. Conspiracy is a dangerous word in a country that has no educational value. Back to BLM and Stand Your Ground in Florida….

The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter was responded by #AllLivesMatter all throughout the 2010s and up to the present day. It said, without saying, that not until the collective white-skinned race thinks something should be done or is even considered an issue, it should not be at the forefront of any kind of movement. The word movement is triggering. Cue the Karens. The basis of the Karen movement was highlighting what we could not discuss publicly during the Jim Crow era.

Emmett Till would be alive today if: there was cellphone footage of his Karen, there were Black leadership in Mississippi (still the most slave-est of all states but Florida is coming up quickly ), and an online platform to house responses from the community. She would have been dubbed, convenience store Karen. The nature of the Karen movement is white women using white privilege to victimize themselves against Black men, women, and mostly at times Black children. It is the basic use of racism in a system that is racist. Cue Jonathan Majors. Cue the Exonerated Five.

The Karen movement opened the comment sections. The newly criminalized slavery bottom-feeders who used to be considered the victims during the 1950s, white women, loudly entered the chat. In agreement with racism. Uh oh. We now have an American public who is loud about white women using racism as Donald Trump parades around for the male side of it. As many people who left the GOP, enough of them stayed, and we can see their skin color. Cue that Black dude from South Carolina, Tim Scott, (he’s a Virgo by the way, and that totally tracks for me personally.) There is a fascist-like split in the GOP machine which was mostly funded by issues surrounding the Covid-19 handling of vaccines, shutdowns, and migrants. Then, Black Lives Matter delivered a global blow to the white privileged police system, his name was George Floyd. A cop put the weight of his body on the neck of an unarmed Black man for nine minutes wearing a police uniform. The image changed the hearts and minds of many, including non-whites, that Black Lives are truly at risk. The 17-year-old running for his life screaming, help me help me, I guess, was not enough but they seemed to get it a little bit better now. The white Americans who felt they had to do something, did something. They organized marches, protests, and rallies. They shut down bridges, tunnels, and highways. Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC were attacked relentlessly. I even phoned the Buffalo PD after seeing a video of an elderly white man knocked down to the floor, bleeding, while cops marched over him. A nightmare I relive often. Congressmen and women attended rallies, sparking more frustration in white America, hey hey we said, #AllLivesMatter why are you supporting an others movement, it was that kind of thinking. Cue the cults.

The difference between religion and cult is time. The difference between fascism and democracy is awareness. Another plot formed, to now sully or harm the people, supporting the activism against, the cops, who represent the U.S. government under the Department of Justice, has illegally killed. Defund the police was a slogan used by BLM to identify accountability for the deaths of people like Floyd, whose killer has been convicted of murder, don’t tell Tucker Carlson though, he keeps telling his viewers on X it was due to some medical issue. Antifa was established as a far left-wing group with the majority of individuals involved are anarchistscommunists, and socialists who describe themselves as revolutionaries. We now have buzzwords to play around with. Trump claimed Antifa was responsible for the 2020 riots and went outside to show force, he ordered the National Guard to go after peaceful protesters. Today in the United States, it is Friday January 5th 2024. If that makes you any difference. The QAnon and Maga cult mimics the very sentiments we hear in the right-wing media. As Trump’s behavior escalates so does the violence and aggression of all sides yet he loves to claim innocence to a lot of different things. The cults now go into overdrive with programming and filling the edges of the internet with hatefulness, nonsense, fake news, altered imagery, and the saddest parts, violence. There was a plot to kidnap a Governor. The Speaker of the House’s spouse was attacked at their home, in their home state. The FBI had to kill someone who was on the hill on J6 and showed up at their headquarters armed and dangerous. Mass shootings happened where Asian Americans were targeted. There was a Muslim ban. The NAACP is sending travel warnings for state-to-state travel.

Black women stand as the storytellers of what has happened here. Did we really think we’d get away with survival, education, wokeness, and loudness? Nope. This is all they can do. Fire us. Cancel us. But they cannot ever, as much as they try, as hard as white women pray for it, ERASE US.

And I’m good with that. I’ll keep running my lil race. In my little race.

Tahyira SavannaAbout Tahyira Savanna: Tahyira is a lifestyle journalist and writer.  Her interest includes human stories and introspection.  She interviews everyday people doing their part to make our world happier.

Follow her on Twitter @TAsterisk and Instagram @iletthegoodtimesroll

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