Going back to school is always eye opening as a teacher because new batches of students introduce new thought processes and it leaves me flabbergasted.
It is confusing what is viewed as success as different conversations arise throughout the day. People will label you based on how they view you, not really knowing the real you, just judging a book by its cover.
“Look at her shoes, I wonder how much they cost?” “I’m not spending that much money on a purse?” “Why does she act like that, she must think she is better than everybody?” “Oh my gosh, she is so boring, why can’t she be more exciting?”
Labels paint glamorous pictures of others, and they also tear down people at the same token. Rich, poor, cute, ugly, fat, skinny, light skinned, dark skinned take on new meanings when they are uttered out of someone’s mouth. Someone called me a “labor whore” once when we were having lunch because I like Michael Kors purses, Polo shirts, and Jadore perfume. I felt somewhat slighted because as a friend, note my personal style, don’t bang me for it.
What’s wrong with having or liking designer brands for that matter? Nothing if you ask me, so it’s not me who is out of touch with myself, maybe it others who judge. I’m not bougie for shopping in certain places, it just means that I like what I like and that should be all there is to it.
Coming from a single parent home, my mom always made sure I dressed nice, but when I got to school I was picked on for being coordinated from my hairbows to my feet. My mom wanted to make sure that I represented the best me and her at all times, so that just happened to have carried over into adulthood. I’m not materialistic seeking immediate gratification, I just plan to enjoy the fruits of my labor while I walk through my earthly life. I am not consumed with trends, though I am trendy.
I have allowed my childhood circumstances to shape my life into a colorful existence. I am not miseducated about the appropriation of black culture, because we too aspire different lifestyles that resemble affluency. But I’m not setting myself apart and barely just getting by.
I watched my students enter school on the first day and all I saw were braids, weaves, and expensive shoes. I’m in the hood, and my students have no idea that they live in poverty. They are being given a borrowed lifestyle that many of them will not be able to maintain as adults, but they will perpetuate the status quo. It baffles me that people have no self recognition and are struggling to maintain an image that is not their true identity.
People in general spend so much time telling others what’s wrong with the way that they live, we aren’t educating ourselves on the right to be different.