September 14, 2005

A Letter to my Professor

Hey Dr. Ferguson,

This is Princess from your HIS 355 course. I wanted to say Hello and also get some things off my chest if that's okay with you.

First and foremost, I would like to say that I LOVE your course. I am learning so many things about African American woman but most importantly I am learning about African American History. I left today's lecture feeling as if I have been cheated all my life. I say this in reference to one of your comments on oppression, it was stated today that leaving Black people out of history is not only discriminate, but it allows those in power to act as if no one else contributed to the "founding" of this country. By keeping us out of history they create a justification for themselves, initially, that they alone have taken the necessary measures in acquiring wealth. Ultimately the views of others are too effected by this manipulation of history.

It bothers me as an African American female that I am now 20 yrs of age and it is not until this year, this month, and within your class that I am learning of the many great contributions African American people have made in society. It is obvious that the resources have been available for me to learn of our accomplishments, but I'm skeptical as to why I haven't I been taught these great things in school? Why is it that when I learned about slavery, they taught it to me as something that it wasn't? When I say this I mean, they never made it SEEM immoral! Why? Would you believe I used to blame the African chiefs for selling Black men and women into slavery? I would argue that the white man went to Africa and purchased the land and then the people all for a price. I would become furious at the thought of Chiefs selling the lands that weren't even theirs to sell, it was for the entire tribe, and then later going to the extent as to sell of their own people. I knowdifferent now. All the people I argued with over this and my justification was that ..."I learned that in school"...

Dr. Ferguson, I am a first generation African. Both of my parents were born and raised in Liberia and moved to this country for a better opportunity and to acquire more wealth like everyone else. I am ashamed; I am ashamed for being ignorant and not knowing; I am ashamed for not questioning what I was told; And I am ashamed to be a "proud" American (to a certain extent).

Dr. Ferguson, how do I educate my fellow Black people about all the wrong we have undergone? Today directly after your class, I was sitting with some girlfriends and one of them was talking about a Midnight Breakfast program that was held at her dorm the night before. All of the RA's prepared breakfast foods and served it to the entire dorm at 12 midnight. She said somethings that sounded like this:

"Niggas are so damn greedy... they see free food and they
don't know how to act...that's just like Black people to eat up all the
food...and the white people were just sitting there not saying a damn thang...
you know how they are when Black people are around..."


I began to argue with her about all of the negative aspects associated with her statement and this lead to ill feelings and of course, attitudes. What do I do to this? Just listen to what she says and then sip my water and smile?

These are some of the things that have been on my brain for a little while and I wanted to get them off my chest....




angeleyes said...

wow, princess, great letter!!! Seriously!! U rock!!! :)If ever does reply, please let me know what his response was. This is really interesting.

Just out of curiosity...the girl who was involved with the midnight breakfast event, what was her ethnicity? Not that it really matters, cause regardless of your ethnicity, you shldnt be saying stuff like that about any group of people, but i was still wondering just the same, cause of all the thoughts that i have in my head regarding this letter.

JenellyBean said...

Hey Laura,
The girl who was saying such horrible things was African. Her parents as well as herelf are from Nigeria, Africa. So yes she is Black.
Laura, this girl is one of my closest friends and you don't know how hurt I was to hear this. Then why I try to encourage her to speak differently of our people all she could do was get mad with me.

Why do they do this to us? Its not her fault completely that she speaks that way Laura... its really not. And it is to our misfortune that we are ignorant to the truth.
Laura, there is soo much that I have learned from this class and we've only met 4 times in total, and the 1st class doesn't count b/c that was the introductory class. I will post things on my learnings very often so that everyone may learn what THEY WON'T TEACH US attached with my oppinions.

My professor responded very quickly-- I woke up this morning with a response. I will post it.

jennie said...

this is exactly why i love you. you force others to think about why somethings are the way they are. thank you very much, and please i would like for you to continue to educate us who have not been able to learn about our true history. i love history, and i can agree with you that there are not many black historic figures that are talked about i mean come on.....fredrick douglas, bessie coleman, sojurner truth. we only know who they tell us and most dont seek information about others. keep me informed girl!

JenellyBean said...

Thanks for your comments Jennie...
You know I love you too.

Stephen Bess said...

Wow! I think that it's great that you wrote a letter to your professor concerning something so important (esp now in 2005). I remember when I first learned of our history as Black Americans. I astonished at how much was held back in the classrooms. I had so many questions as you did. I learned from others and then on my own. I also attended a predominantly African American college (which doesn't always ensure a lesson in Black history) with professors that taught a great deal about who I am. Yes, it makes you angry when you think about it. I can tell that you will continue to seek this knowledge of self. The great thing is that it will take a lifetime because there is so much to learn. Thanks for sending this to me.


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