The N word. Reasons I hated college

College was an interesting experience for me, because I really hated it.

I meet teenage women of color at times (I give back and that crap, so I volunteer at places) and they think I’m so neat and they are impressed that I went to college and want to know what school I went to. I get conflicted as to what to tell them. Should I tell them the truth? My truth seems so harsh.

Most people of color always say this, “I loved college it made me such a better person and blah, blah, I was so happy to have the opportunity to learn to kiss ass properly.”

I hate the taste of ass.

It also taught me that certain people of color will screw you royally if they think you’re going to take their spot or if they want your spot.

(I’m putting out the dirty laundry.)

Among the arts and academia there is the Highlander syndrome, meaning there can be only one ethnic person allowed per genre and all people of color who went to college learn this game. They learn to either play it or take themselves out of the game.

That’s why the one black chick that hung out with all of the white girls was the only black chick, because she knew she’d be replaced if anyone went up to them owing to the Highlander syndrome, so of course she would completely bad mouth, make crazy eyes, or do whatever she had to do to stay the only black girl.

So college demonstrated to me many things that I already knew:

There are lots of assholes in college, in fact being an asshole is part of succeeding in college.

If you don’t believe in the views of the mainstream and that capitalism is fabulous, that your point in life is to be a good little worker bee, and you’re not willing to back stab for the betterment of the system, you’re going to be waging an uphill battle the rest of your life.

Pseudo progressive bullshit is encouraged: the focus of hyphenated cultural days (which there are lots of in college) is about food, dancing, and music. The other stuff is a downer. If I were in charge Asian-American history month focus would be the internment camps, the Chinese Exclusion Act, and how the LAPD let Korean merchant’s stores burn to the ground in 1992.

And if you don’t understand and embrace those three things your life is going to be very insanely hard.

Keeping it real is hard work.

You have to bend down and give up your given name of Kunta Kinte and say your name is Toby.

I’ve got a lot of scars from my higher education experience, but they finally caught me, cut off my foot, and I graduated (that’s why sometimes I limp around an issue and say the N word instead of just writing the whole thing out.)

“Toby, please come up and get your degree in watered down ethnicitiness.”

The only cool people of color left seem to be in their 50s. That’s sadness right there. The people of color now are all so well behaved. I have an African-American friend who is so paranoid about seeming aggressive and loud that her voice has become a permanent whisper. No one ever gets mad. When I’m out in the world there seems to be lots of things to get mad about. There seems to be lots of things to get loud about.

There are still a lot of poor black and Chicanos out there and I don’t think it’s just because they are all lazy. Unemployment is up for lots of people, but you know within the black and Chicano communities it’s quite a deal higher.

College is good for watering down people to nice safe little hyphenated adjectives.

African-American sounds so very, American. People who looked like me didn’t even have the right to be a complete American until the 1970s.

Chicanos and blacks, we’re the bad minorities, so what are we afraid of? There isn’t anywhere to go but up from here.

I am not a hyphen I’m an African or black, since I think it sounds way more assertive. I think it says to America, “you are not ok and I’m still here and I will be here forever and no I’m never, ever getting over it, so don’t even ask.”

I’m going to be very controversial here and say I don’t have a problem with other black people using the N word with other black people. Don’t freakin’ care. I think the obsession of the use of the word by intellectual black people and people who aren’t black is one of the most stupid phenomena of American culture, almost as stupid as reality TV. Black people not using that word is not going to make racism go away, it will just make black people who want to get tenure feel better.

I wish people were as concerned with ending real racism at the instituions of learning that they work, get grants, and drink coffee at as they are with a 15 year old kid from Compton saying to his friend, “What’s up niggah?”

I love the African-American studies teacher who lives in Santa Monica (or some other bs progressive exclusive enclave) with her white husband and tells of the horrors of using the N word and how people in Compton shouldn’t use it, because it’s bringing us down as a people.

Oh it’s us? The N word is bringing US down? No it’s bringing you down my “sister”. What’s bringing us down is classism and racism, but you know whatever get’s your book published.

I understand people of color who are the only member who look like them on the faculty at a college are very concerned at how they look to the people who let them through the door, but how is that the guy in Watts or South Central or Comptons problem?

It’s kind of fucking not.

And white people still can’t use the N word, because my cousin Tiny is 300 pounds and will kick your ass that’s why.

Fast forward to about minute four, if you want to understand the Toby reference.

by Browne Molyneux

Sidenote-I in no way am implying that have to just stick to your “own” kind with the interracial marriage example, but I’m just saying, don’t be a little bit of bullshit. You know what I’m saying right? If you don’t live in the hood and you don’t visit the hood, don’t use the hood for material for your thesis, book, movie, grant, because really how are you different than a white person stealing someone else’s identity? I never understood why there was this double standards in regards to that kind of bs.  I know you feel you have to give your life a point since that’s the role they gave you, but how about actually living the things you talk about, just being a person of color doesn’t give you the right to judge what you will never understand if you’ve never lived in the projects or a “bad” neighborhood.

Oh and another thing- Also college can be great, but it just wasn’t for me. I have no desire to be a 9-5 person or to be part of mainstream society, so I really felt it was a waste of my time. Nothing wrong with being a capitalist, but if you don’t have dreams for capitalist endeavors it’s going to be very disappointing.

In addition- My cousin Tiny is not 300 pounds, he’s 290 and no one is going to kick anyone’s ass, but on a serious note: Why do you want the right to call a person a slur? Why is that so important to some people?

This entry was posted in Analysis, Greater Los Angeles, Rant and tagged , , , by Browne Molyneux. Bookmark the permalink.

About Browne Molyneux

My name is Browne Molyneux. I'm a lady. I'm a radical feminist. I'm black. I'm an Angeleno. I'm an artist. I'm carFREE. I'm a freelance writer. I'm a blogger. I'm a philosopher. I'm a humanist. I'm a journalist. I formerly wrote a column on transportation, Tracks for LA City Beat. The above are all of the things I have to work on being, got questions email me. browne@shametrainla.com My topics of interests include but are not limited to politics, transportation, dark green issues, economics, race relations, feminism, culture, working class urban life, media, art, Los Angeles and literature.

21 thoughts on “The N word. Reasons I hated college

  1. That was a good post.

    I see the college thing like this:

    Wealth produces poverty
    Cops produce crime
    Ignorance produces college!

    (I friggin hate the university!)

  2. “My friends and I dropped out of some of the finest universities.” Chimatli

    I knew there was a reason I felt an online connection to you.

    Browne

  3. “That was a good post.” cwm

    Thanks. I so wanted to college to be about something and it wasn’t about anything. I was actually in shock. The point to college in the states (can’t speak for other countries) seems to be creating good workers.

    I don’t want to be a cog in a machine, even if that title has health benefits, my own office, and I get to wear “fancy” clothes.

    Innovation and thinking outside the box is frowned upon, hell thinking is frowed upon.

    Browne

  4. looks like college also taught you how to be a massive whiner. or did you already have that one down?

    college, like most things in life, is what you make of it. take a look in the mirror sometime.

    sheesh.

  5. Why is it whining to say I didn’t like college? I didn’t. I love discourse, I’m asking a serious question. Why is not liking something being bitter or whining?

    Browne

  6. Saying you don’t like college doesn’t make you a whiner Browne, it’s the WAY you say it. I don’t read anything constructive in your post… no better ideas, no constructive criticism, nothing positive… just a lot of nihilistic and callow whining about how unfair the world is. Well guess what… LIFE AINT FAIR. And if you don’t like it, then go out and do something about it. Or move to another country…. your choices are unlimited when you take into account the fact the the vast majority of the world’s population has NO opportunities to get ANY sort of education, let alone complain about their living conditions.

    Seriously, there are literally billions of people in the world who would KILL to have the opportunities that you just seem to take for granted. That doesn’t mean you have to like it, but you should at least understand that college can be an important means to an end.

  7. I just read this over @ Neatorama:

    “Education: the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.”

    – Mark Twain, writer and humorist

    College is very important for many people and for a lot of brown and black folks it can be a liberating experience that leads to success (however you want to define that). For myself, I felt much like Browne, a cog in the machine, like I was in a factory churning out professional workers. Since I didn’t have financial aid and I was going to have to fund my education through debt, I decided to take that money and buy my own books and read what I want to read. (I find that I tend to read more books than most college grads I know.) I’m glad I made that decision when I was young because it lead to some great experiences in my life and I have no regrets. Now that I’m older, I’m thinking about finishing school because I have a specific goal in mind that requires a degree (but to be honest the thought of it still turns my stomach.)
    Knowledge, curiosity and the “life of the mind” are all valuable traits that don’t necessarily have to be fostered in an institute of higher learning.

  8. Waahhhh,

    I think how I said it was entertaining. I think I also gave a different perspective. There are hundreds of posts, essays, columns out there with minorities touting how happy they were to be given a “chance”.

    I’m not going to write from a clichéd perspective, that’s pretty boring.

    Why is it that people of color should be grateful for every single experience?

    I’m not sure what your life isn’t fair comment? I don’t know where in my post you got the hating life thing.

    And in regards to constructive criticism I think to sum up my whole point of the issue is that in regards to race problems in the US college teaches you to fixate on things like the N-word and the musical culture of minorities, but not to focus on things like the inequalities that people of color and poor people face every day.

    In short college teaches you to be a psuedo liberal piece of bs.

    That was my criticism of the “system”.

    Browne

  9. Browne, I guess it depends on which college you go to, and how you spend your time there. Yes, if you go through college as a passive spectator just picking up on all the BS, then I guess I can see how it would be a total waste of time. But then, there is BS everywhere, in every endeavor, in every single square inch of earth. As Sturgeon’s law clearly postulates: 90% of everything is crap.

    Ill say it again…. College, like most things in life, is what you make of it.

  10. waaaahhhhhhhh, I think your response to Browne’s piece kind of misses the point. As I saw it, her post was mainly about racial/cultural dynamics in college and, speaking for myself, she definitely described something that I’ve seen with my own eyes. I was pretty psyched to see someone put this out on the screen in a very readable, thoughtful way.

    And you should realize that writing a critical post about college is actually doing something about it! Protesting, fighting back, saying that you want more is not whining, it’s doing something!

    So what if people have it worse elsewhere? Does that mean that we should be silent about the world we live in now? Think about it: if one dude gets shot in the head and another gets hit in the head with a big, fat, rusty shovel, should the guy who got hit with the shovel be like, “Wow, aren’t I lucky, I only got smashed in the skull with a big ass farming implement! That other guy got shot. I should be so grateful! Thank you Thank You!” Of course not! Getting hit in the head sucks no matter how you slice it, just like all the bogus, racist stuff that happens around college also sucks!

    For my part, I’m really glad to see a post like hers, which takes on these difficult issues.

  11. “What a bunch of bitter whining young Chicanos on this blog, to bad you all didn’t learn from your grand-parents, what it was like to grow up in real poverty, having to work twice as hard to stay even.”

    I hadn’t noticed your comment previously but whoa, what kinda assumptions are YOU making? If you want an example of some REAL whining from privileged people I can suggest a few other Los Angeles blogs. 🙂
    “Oh no, I can’t find a parking space, poor me!”

  12. Isn’t it great being a privilege American? we can bitch about anything, even on how YOU made college suck. Your assumption that college was supposed to be this beautifully inspiring, intellectually stimulating, and personally fulfilling experience, all wrapped up with in a bow and handed to you is sad. Your next essay should be ” How I failed to make college work for me”

  13. Get over yourself. My indignation annoys you? So what. This is not the 50s. People other than old white men are allowed to bitch.

  14. Browne! It’s good to see you on here again! I’ll say it here & now, I LOVE you, man!

  15. I just stumbled upon this blog whilst aimlessly wandering the internet, but I had to take a moment to express my appreciation for your poignant writing style. I think you’ll find that education is an intrinsic process that is unique to each individual; thus, to organize it around some bureaucrats erroneous beliefs of what is and is not worth learning bastardizes it. Ultimately college is what you make it. Does someone have to have grown up in the ghetto to realize that such an upbringing is accompanied by injustice? If not, then it is certainly worth noting. Why the fuck would it bother you that some hot air filled scholar wants to bring attention to the plight of the poor? I understand what you’re saying with the race issue, and I honestly agree with that. In examining poverty, its important to have @ss bags like that speak out about injustice amongst the lower socioeconomic classes. Perhaps such blathering might facilitate some kind of mobilization toward social change. Very well written! Funny sh@t!

  16. I concur with Eric’s comment. Blogging/commenting is a privilege. Can’t we all just get along? Who’s down for less cyber-bitching and more social events that involve aguas and broomsticks (to sweep the sidewalks)? Early morning futbol games?

  17. I’m going to have to disagree with you Victoria. Cyber bitching is not what I do it’s cyber critiquing. In LA we have plenty of people doing the fun and happy talk. That’s not what I do. We all use different tools to push society, if you want to push society with social events, great, but to act as if I’m negative or “bitching” just because I’m not you is a bit unfair.

    I think the person who feels as if they are beyond being critiqued is the person we should be critiquing the most.

    College does water down people into good workers and teamplayers.

    Screw team players who want to be accepted by using the working class in some scheme to get book deal, grants and art projects off the ground. That person is a complete asshole that needs to be told that what they are doing is obvious and not authentic. People need to build on their own experience and stop trying to play on other people’s experience just because they happen to share a person’s skin tone.

    Browne

  18. I enjoyed reading the article and the comments below. I enjoy disagreements and I hope that all parties will someday read what I’ll write here. The most of you seem like you swallowed a thesaurus, and although that irks me, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. Hell, most people should swallow a dictionary. But, it’s annoying when everyone’s using the most unique vernacular in order to stick out. Hipsters want to be unique: I get it. Now, some fun sentiments:

    *Life IS what you make of it. College contains ass kissing, because Professors want their students’ to follow their model/vision. College also contains the one-of-each-skin-tone or one-skin-tone-to-all rule. But, it also contains discussion, lecture, facilitation, diversity and unique thought if you seek it out. Everything is what you make of it.

    *Her comments are helpful. I don’t care if they fit your little buzzword categories of either constructive or destructive. Her comments identify what’s wrong with many, many, many universities.

    *Browne, if a African studies professor wants to even fake about making the world a better place, let her.

    *Telling someone to be grateful might sound tough, but it certainly isn’t intelligent. We don’t make progress by being grateful for what we’ve got. If the kid shitting his pants is grateful for what he’s got, then that’s certainly not going to change anything. It seems like your messages are contradictory, Waaaaaahh6hh, because being grateful is NOT doing something about it. But complaining or bitching certainly is. Don’t be afraid of connotations, Browne. Concede that you’re bitching and ask the motha f’er if there’s anything wrong with that.

    *In regards to the N word used by blacks, I would say that it’s satirical and that I’m okay with that. It’s not impressive and it’s certainly not going to change things either way. But, it’s certainly their ancestors they’re doing a desservice to. But who cares? The dead are dead.

    *What’s up with the misuse of the word nihilistic? When did Nihilism become a pejorative emanating out of the tongue of anyone other than a bible beater? Really? It’s pretty f’ing brilliant to be nihilistic. It’s also tough. Because it’s hard to accept that.

    P.S. A hipster would type out ‘difficult’ instead of ‘hard’ because that’ll make them read more unique.

    *Your words about your paranoid black friend are the most stunning things I’ve read in a week or so. Thanks.

    *Authenticity is difficult to find. I agree with Waaaaahhh’s comment about finding it gift wrapped for you, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and realize that you probably didn’t think that way. At least I hope that this is the case. Anyway, good luck finding it.

    *I am not my own person. I am just a collection of other people who are collections of other people and maybe, just maybe, one of those other people is their own person … but I doubt it.

    From Chicago With Love,

    Mr. Gridda

  19. “looks like college also taught you how to be a massive whiner. or did you already have that one down?

    college, like most things in life, is what you make of it. take a look in the mirror sometime.

    sheesh.”

    The only truth on this whole site. Judging by your whining, you learned more from your ethnic studies program than you think.

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