Looking for guidance in retrieving my authentic voice and assessing where I stand now, I review my recent posts on Facebook. It is the only social media site that I frequent, and it provides the only space where my academic and personal lives converge.
If you don’t see me, remember
I have never doubted myself. It’s the system that I have doubted.
It has made me want to flee, to disengage. I know refuge.
I have always loved myself.
I have loved myself enough to wail and cry and grimace and scream in the face of terror.
I recognize a lie. I will call Hell by its name.
I have loved myself enough to tell my own truth and to hold yours for you.
Until you are ready, I have many pockets. I am always holding you.
If you don’t see me, inhale. Oils and incense are me.
Smoke is me. Fire is me.
(Facebook post, 31 January 2018)
For most of my life, schooling and living have been dichotomous. I existed, competed, and performed in school. I lived my life everywhere else—on the subway rides home, at the movies, at the summer camps and family reunions in Georgia.
The effects of school segregation—and the asymmetric dichotomizing of public and private schools—are multifaceted. Public education treats brilliant, impoverished Black children like chattel and openly traded commodities. On the other hand, White children who live in wealthy neighborhoods like the Upper East Side and Park Slope are nurtured and insulated in selective gifted and honors programs. They are groomed to attend private universities after high school while their counterparts are tracked into community colleges, if they graduate at all.
This is not the result of innate intelligence, or meritocracy, or who worked harder. No.
Racism is an average-performing White student viewed as innocuous, a member of the community, and always evaluated holistically, even after receiving additional tutoring support and social capital.
Racism is a gifted Black student from a low income background always seen as a threat to White mediocrity and evaluated by strict standardized metrics. Impoverished Black brilliance is often asymmetrical.
It may be a low GPA coupled with exceptional test scores, or vice versa. Why? Because our very existence is under threat at all times. Our road is not smooth, and our academic records display this struggle. It’s like a credit report. This country punishes the poor and punishes Black people for bearing the very records of its discrimination. (Facebook post, 14 October 2017)
Patrice Marie Khan-Cullors Brignac. I am very pleased to meet you. My name is Kahdeidra Monét Martin. I have a story to tell. Like you, I grew up in a housing complex, Vanderveer Estates, which is located in Flatbush, Brooklyn. We lived on the third floor at 1350 New York Avenue. Like you, my neighborhood was mostly made of immigrants, in my case, families from the Caribbean and South America. “Ours is a neighborhood designed to be transient, not a place where roots are meant to take hold, meant to grow into trees that live and live” (Khan-Cullors and Bandele, 2018 , p. 11). I remember one time when I was in middle school. It was an otherwise normal weekday afternoon. A man shouted from the courtyard outside of my bedroom window, “Marcia, we have a lot of green down here!” Marcia (a pseudonym) was a popular drug dealer in the complex who happened to live in our building. She was always sweet to us, and her youngest son would often knock on our door and ask me if my mother had made macaroni and cheese.
One time, her eldest son knocked on my door and asked me to call a cab for him. The cops had been looking for him, I could tell by the way he shifted his feet from side to side, like a crack addict. By the time I had come back to tell him that the was line busy, he was gone. Two years later, he was gone for good. A few years later, after I had graduated from college and started working my first full time job at a community center in the neighborhood, I learned that his younger brother was also gone for good. I was too late. My heart aches for Marcia, wherever she is now. She did make a lot of green, but in this heat and dry, cracked earth, her own leaves wilted too soon.
Khan-Cullors, P., & Bandele, A. (2018). When they call you a terrorist: A Black Lives Matter memoir (First edition.). New York: St. Martin's Press.
Citing this Blog Post:
(In APA 6)
Martin, K. M. (2018, May 16). Wilted Greens: A Micro-Memoir [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.kahdeidramartin.com/blank-2/2018/05/16/Wilted-Greens-A-Micro-Memoir
(In MLA 8)
Martin, Kahdeidra M. "Wilted Greens: A Micro-Memoir"Kahdeidra M. Martin, 16 May 2018, www.kahdeidramartin.com/blank-2/2018/05/16/Wilted-Greens-A-Micro-Memoir