Who Writes Your Life Story HBCU Students?

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Using the TEDx presentation to encourage all HBCU students to live up to their expectations and not to listen to the stereotypes of others based on color, gender, and social-economic background.

Each HBCU student has a story to tell, an adventure or a situation that allows each of us to share our travels in a world of continuous change and adaptation. The human spirit is sometimes defined by the actions and inactions, we take as we make the journey into and through the challenges, chaos, confusion, storms and welcoming the calmness that we experience during the time we are on this the plane of life.

Students in my educational technology class are required to manage a traditional blog, writing for several weeks about their talents, passions, goals, likes and challenges. Just as other classes for the past 4 years that have taken educational technology, social media, and STEM at Edward Waters College. Those that are in the Department of Education and Urban Studies are required to take this class, but more and more students in other disciplines are seeing the value of writing for their life.

Encouraging students to write can be challenging because you have to show the reasons why they should do this and how it can benefit them.

There need to be tangible and connecting situations and circumstances to show that writing can increase networking, create a positive digital footprint and show the potential to
increase visibility in the job market and potential financial benefits.

Attending an HBCU there are benefits and some potential things that can hold a person back. The term HBCU is not always beneficial in the white corporate world because it may be perceived as unskilled, ill-prepared, lower educational achievement, minority, ghetto, inner-city and slow. These may be some of the perceptions carried by labels and assumptions.

Labels can deny access to equitable educational access and even the mental stereotypes that can affect performance in the classroom. I share with my students to never let someone else’s expectations define their life and their successes.

As a father of two college-age young adults, I have seen how low expectations of teachers, friends and even the community affect the self-perceptions of children. When my children were in elementary and middle I constantly encouraged them to read, to think for themselves and not like the crowd, I took my kids to conferences, workshops and other events that offered exposure and learning.

Understanding diversity was important because my children had to understand that this world, this nation is diverse and they had to be able to cope with the integration and collaboration of races. Too many times people said I was raising my children like they were white, but in actuality, I was raising them to live in a white world where mental toughness was necessary, having dreams, goals and a mission in life made living valuable and being Black was an asset, not collateral damage.

Parents must always build up their children even if there are challenges to their mental abilities, children can overcome and compensate for many challenges if the parents do not have lower expectations for success. Speak and breath life and a love for learning. This is where too many African American families fall short, living under the expectations of others that see them as second class citizens, as potential criminals, welfare recipients and even kids being in ESE and EBD classes not Gifted and Talented classes.

The parent is the first educator and creates a foundation for growth and development for a lifetime. Parents create the mental foundation for how their child will stand and deliver
energies that motivate and expand success or accept the mode of below average living and relying on governmental assistance.

HBCUs have a history of overcoming challenges and even atrocities that are thrown at them because of the strong will for success and rising like the Phoenix. If the parent assumes their child cannot read past a certain level and mental comprehension they deny their child the gifts of literature, reading, exposure and even interactions that can open mental doors to expand the horizons to be better than they currently are.

In my class, I use TEDx Talks to show the similarities of cultural and generational experiences to help students to understand they do not have to live by others expectations and stereotypes. They have options to experience and manage their life to be what they want it to be by embracing learning and exposure to new things in life.

Using a platform of blogging to step out away from the limitations of people placed because they only see color, zip codes or area codes, student writing can take them globally anywhere world because they can adapt their writing to embrace not just the diversity of people, but the diversity of thought, rationalization and the emotional connections that bring about unity and respect.

Is a way for students at HBCUs to share in a story of mental and emotional neglect and abuse. Even through the hell of low expectations HBCU students can rise to new heights and accomplish unbelievable success. HBCU students start to write your own story, never allow anyone else to write your story, to cast you into a category and try to keep you there. It is a choice, a decision that you make.

Choose wisely what direction you will go, by your decisions or by the decisions of others that only see you based on ignorance, racism, prejudice and hate.

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William Jackson
William Jackson is a graduate of South Carolina State University 1985 Earning a Bachelors Degree in Education, currently a proud educators of 32 years. Earned a Masters Degree from Webster University Masters in Educational Technology, Social Media and STEAM. William is a national and international blogger, speaker, and community activist involved in WordCamp conferences nationally and internationally. Employed with Duval County Public Schools and past professor with Edward Waters College from 2004 to 2017. A Content Creator, Digital Innovator, Blogger, Educator and Influencer, he has over 10,000 digital impressions a week through his social media platforms and his Brand - My Quest To Teach Recognized and respected as a published blogger and international traveler.