TRANSCENDING RACISM BY MARCUS BRANCH
High school has its challenges for everyone. For me, the challenge was being one of the few and at times the only black student in my entire school.
From students, asking about my extra leg muscle, that all of us black folks have, from picking cotton back in the day, to teachers telling the class that we can’t turn the lights off to watch a movie because they wouldn’t be able to see me unless I smiled.
Being different is hard and in high school, it’s harder. In response, I often tried to blend in and avoid doing anything that would draw attention to myself. I rarely spoke up in class, avoided confrontations, and did what I could to stay out of the spotlight.
College, well entrepreneurship and creativity has been different. We are often pushed to define the statement that we want to make and assured that we make a statement in everything that we do.
At first, I was hesitant to adopt this mindset. Often scared to stand out and experience the ever too familiar ridicule of high school. Yet, the whole point of creativity is to stand out.
You want to come up with ideas that no one has thought of, develop skills that no one else has, and make the statement that is unique to you. If you are just like everyone else, why would anyone want to hire you, work with you, or have any type of relationship with you?
This certainly is not an easy processes. I’ve spent the last 8 months asking questions, challenging my assumptions, and talking to people close to me so that I can define who I am and the statement that I make. And I’m not done yet. This is only the beginning of my creative journey!
If you’re wondering, people are still racist, just ask the supervisor who felt that I wasn’t “black enough” to work for her. But I don’t care. I am determined to stand out and be myself no matter what others think.
If you don’t define your statement then who will?
What statement will you make today?