Striving Higher

goingupthestairs

February 11th was a very influential day and marker of my academic career. I attended the Conference on African American and African Diasporic Cultures and Experience (CACE) held by the African American and African Diaspora Studies program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) as a panelist.

It was interesting to see the different theories expressed in the same place. As an English major I was it was refreshing to be in the presence of more than just English majors and professors discussing theories and research. The panelists consisted of undergraduates, grads students and instructors from various departments. The audience was diverse also.

I spoke on Hauntings and Trauma of the African America community and I wanted to make sure I spoke on it not being just an African American problem but an issue for America. It is my belief that all American citizens suffer from this haunting in some form or another. I sat alongside two other panelist one was a film student pursuing her Doctorate and the other held her Doctorate in Earth and Environmental Sciences. The diversity of our backgrounds whether it was personal, professional and/or academic proves how we can all connect with one another for a common goal. Today the goal was to talk about the different facets of the haunting and trauma.

I’m glad to have had this opportunity because I was able to connect with other like-minded individuals. The audience also provided good insight and feedback on our theories. I was also able to explore other concepts and even received some advice on grad school and the department in which I wish to go in.

The night before was the first day of the panel. It began at 6pm. The 7 o’clock session consisted of a spoken word event titled the Poetry Café. That was the icing on the cake for me. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Oral history is very much a part of African American tradition and I believe it was the perfect ending to the evening.

Networking is one of my favorite things to do so overall I gained a lot from this experience and I’m very glad my professor insisted that I send in one of my papers last semester. I really feel like this is the beginning of a possible career as a public speaker. I enjoy having a platform to discuss certain issues and possible solutions. I am a believer and supporter of Anna Deavere Smiths’s theory of open conversations. This was only the beginning.

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The Struggles of an Oreo

Oreo-Barbie

I don’t like movies like State Property. Growing up somehow my black card was held in question because of statements like this because I couldn’t quote lines from those types of movies. So naturally my response or thoughts on issues like such was that you’re not cultured enough, that you must be ghetto or maybe you’re a basic black person.
An aspiring hoodlum

Back then, I quoted lines from movies like Parent Trap, She’s All That, Big Mama’s house and Nutty Professor, Pretty Woman, Drumline, Sister Act 1 and 2, Bad Boys and Rush Hour. Oh yea and I loved Mary-Kate and Ashley movies.  I know lines from the first and second Friday but I’m recalling a friend going thru my movie collection and commenting that I didn’t have any real “black” movies. Her brother chimed in like, “Yea yo DVD selections are like a white person tryna be black”. I guess they ignored the color of my skin but I must agree our life experiences are different which I can assume provides insight to what type of movies we will like.
I don’t like movies without any hope, like these thug movies or street movies. Sorry John Singleton but Boyz in the Hood is like that for me. Good movie but why did Ricky have to die?

This is a topic I’ve revisited over and over again but it just reoccurred because I couldn’t decide between watching The Barbershop or The Breakfast Club. I love Ice Cube, Eve, Cedric the entertainer and all the others but I also enjoy Molly Ringwald and I like the plot of breakfast club plus I haven’t seen it in a while. I probably should’ve picked breakfast club because I can quote lines from both Barbershops all day but somehow I felt as if I was slighting my own.

This feeling can also be stemming from a conversation held last night when I discovered I’m not up on my black writers like I thought I was. I am an English major with a concentration in African-American Literature. I chose this because I didn’t learn a lot about black authors, black culture and black history growing up so I wanted to study it and teach it to others in some shape form or fashion but anyway my friends, a graduate from Clark University, a current student at Florida A&M and I current student of North Carolina A&T are having a conversation about music. Tupac comes up first we talk about listening to a whole Tupac Album. They were telling me it was common more than it was uncommon. It just was more uncommon to me.  He’s a poet I’m a poet so they asked if I’ve ever read any poems or books by him and I’m like no. Then we go on to discuss films. My home girl from Clark graduated with her degree in Acting that’s a little background on her and how the film Sankofa became a subject. This was also something I had never watched.

At this point I was frustrated. I began to ask where they heard about these authors, films and books. Were they discussed in their home was it high school? I had similar feelings in class when almost everyone had read Beloved by Toni Morrison and/or seen /read Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. I wanted to know who I could blame for not exposing me to such things. My home girl went to a “black” high school. I’m like ok me too mine was majority black too (insert light bulb). No her high school was focused and even catered to Black history. They instilled a sense of Black Pride.

Since I attend college in the south and most of my classmates attended high school there, this is why their required reading had been such things. I come from the north (I guess technically Midwest but whatever) and have attended schools more for “Whites”. I’m gonna say that’s a major reason why I’ve only been exposed to the token blacks, like Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou (R.I.P.) because they’ve won something.
This is the reason why I had to wait until I took Black History class in college to learn about other authors besides Langston Hughes and Frederick Douglass. I got a chance to read some Richard Wright, Lorraine Hansberry, and Alain Locke and see what issue they felt so strong enough to write about.

I guess the conclusion of this is because my mom wanted to expose me to better opportunities I got left out of the “black” loop. It was confusing and sometimes uncomfortable because I can’t exactly relate to the majority which is white. I hated being in English classes where everyone was talking about: Stephen King, Moby Dick, F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Da Vinci Code, Mark Twain, J. K. Rowling, James Patterson, when teachers asked for favorite book or authors and not one black person was named. Yes most times in college English classrooms I was one of the only black persons there (before I switched institutions).I was always left [questioning myself] with do I pick Langston or Maya because I was sure Omar Tyree was unheard of and anyone else apart of the Urban fiction family.

In high school and somewhat after middle school I started reading Omar Tyree, Sista Soulja and Eric Jerome Dickey. I loved the stories because I was reading about people who looked like me and it wasn’t all shoot em up bang bang and gang violence like the movies that held my black card in question. Before that I was reading Goosebumps, the Sweet Valley Series and The Baby Sitters Club. I even read some books by V.C. Andrews. What a transition. Boy was I “Cultured”.

Anyway back to the conclusion my mom wanted me to have better opportunities. So she sent me places that were supposed to provide such things. I learned stuff. Now I’m learning a whole lot in my adult life that I feel like I should’ve known but hey… Now I know what they mean when they say I’m just a black man tryna make it in a white man’s world. There are two worlds and something about a patriarchal society. See how I included my Black English vernacular throughout this entry. Hooray for code meshing!
[End of Rant]

Sigma Tau Delta Induction

So tonight I went to the English Honor Society Induction. I was an inductee!!!. I am officially a member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta. Theta Xi is my chapter name. I was and still am super excited about the opportunities that will come about because of this and the people I will get to meet.

The Induction was great. There were seventeen inductees for this semester. I thoroughly enjoyed learning my fellow students career goals and aspirations and the quotes they loved  from Biblical quotes to Shakespeare, Malcolm X, Audre Lorde and even Big Sean, mine was from Henry Miller “Writing is its own reward”. I was inspired by all the quotes. It’s the reason why I came home and decided to post this entry. I have to keep the dream alive.

In that moment I knew I was supposed to be an English Major. With this major every one expects you to just become a teacher. It’s actually a tad bit annoying. Although I do hope to teach one day and if I decide to study abroad teaching is definitely my way in I love that I am exposed to all different types of literature. I get to perfect and hone in on grammar, mechanics and rhetoric (skills I feel that are needed in all fields). I also learn how to defend and express my arguments or beliefs based on evidence provided (sounds like I’m training to be a lawyer huh?) and enhance my critical thinking skills.

Almost all of the people inducted wanted to give back in some way shape, form or fashion. All wanted to use their gifts to educate, uplift and encourage. It was a proud moment. I was standing next to people who were on their way to becoming Principals, Novelists, Advisors, Teachers, Editors, Lawyers and possibly the next Poet Laureate just to name a couple of professions. There are so many jobs an English Major can get and have. I guess this is for me also, don’t let anyone tell you differently. This English Degree is a good place to start building from.

10 Things I’ve Learned In My Two Weeks As An Editor

I’m happy that I came across this article/blog entry/story. I started my blog with high hopes. Like yes! I’m going to do it! This will definitely put me on the map and instantly I became afraid after the first post. Wait I was afraid before posting the first post. I wanted to start a blog about things I felt needed to be said and shared and discussed. I also wanted to share a bit of  me but being a writer (in my mind and personal notebooks) and a journalist (former MATC Times Reporter) I was afraid someone would come across with a red pen and destroy me and all the confidence I was trying to summon to keep this hobby/dream going.
Oh yeah maybe I should’ve started this off with

Hello My Name is Ashley Miner and I’m addicted to fear.
Now that that’s out the way. I tend to let fear and certain insecurities stop me from doing things that I really want to do.

These are definitely the points that stood out to me.

#1 Punctuation Police.

I’ve found out that sometimes I turn into the punctuation police not to say I go looking but we all make mistakes so…

#4 Ryan O’ Connell said it best: “If writing for the Internet has taught me anything it’s that people are ANGRY & they need to take it somewhere they won’t have consequences.”

Another thing I was fearful of but oh well I guess it just comes with the territory. People talk mess in real life so of course there will be internet gangsters and blog mobsters. At least they checked out my blog right? In my mother’s words “Put your big girl panties on and do what you need to!”

# 7 You can’t be productive without something that sort of resembles a schedule.

For this point she went on to say that her blog was her blog and she could put whatever she wanted.  I needed to hear this (or read it at least). I’m also going to probably need to hear it over and over again. This blog is mine so I can put whatever on it is the attitude I definitely need to adopt (I’m working on it btw). The main point she was making though is that you definitely have to spend time on your craft. I understand that so for those days I don’t want to write or I’m lying in bed at night trying to fall asleep and I get that feeling that I should be writing, especially since sleep is not coming I’ll probably just get up and write it out. #LateNightsEarlyMornings

#10  It’s not always about what I think is important.

Here she made the distinction between blogging and journalism. When I was a reporter my editor gave me my stories and if I had an idea I had to get it approved. My blog gives me freedom to write what I want. It was kind of scary and liberating at the same time. In this case, I am my editor and Chief. Actually, that kind of feels good to say (or type but after I typed it I said it out loud so yea).

 

Thank you for writing this Ms.Bullets and Blessings. I really appreciated the advice even if it wasn’t directly directed at me.

 

Bullets and Blessings

So about a month ago as I was waiting inside the lobby of my job for my ride and I scrolled through my Yahoo inbox to see an e-mail from the deputy editor at MadameNoire.com titled “Weekend Editor Position”.  It turns out that the current weekend editor had some other obligations leaving the position open.  A little birdie otherwise known as the site’s awesome assistant editor had referred me noting that my writing was clean and after writing for the site for five years, I expressed wanting some growth in my writing career.

You may note that a little over a month ago with the start of the new year, one of the goals listed on my dream board stated, “I will not freelance forever, however, I will be a journalist, staff writer, editor or assistant editor.”  Now maybe I’m a little high on faith and the laws of attraction…

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Olivia Cole’s Article Reacting to Twitter Hash-tag during Black Girls Rock

Olivia Cole Article Reacting to Twitter Hash-tag during Black Girls Rock

After reading this article I wholeheartedly agree with Ms. Cole here. Growing up as a black female in America we do not get as much positive light shined on us in the media. That’s another reason why I wanted to do my blog so bad. The fact that she is a white female writing this is what touches me the most because she gets it. We only have a handful of positive role models in the media for our next generation to look up to. So I am extremely excited about Black Girls Rock. Its not intended to knock anyone else it was simply to create and generate some pride for a black female in America.

1st time

This blogging thing is something new for me. I always hate trying something for the first time because mistakes happen. The thing about blogging is, there is always room for improvement. So that’s why I decided to just go for it. Watch my progress. I can only learn by doing so here I go!