Connecting the dots (Written by AmbassadorNique)

This feels different… This past weekend while spring cleaning I had an epiphany. Forced to think about life, and wondering what could I be doing better to achieve different results than the ones I was getting, I came up with a solution. The issue reached its peak Friday morning when I received a denial letter from the University of Washington’s iSchool for their mid career program. Obviously I was a bit angry and down, but realistically  I definitely applied knowing I didn’t have the years expiereince they were looking for in a ”mid career” student. This is definitely not to say that I couldn’t hang with any other student in their program intellectually, or that my perspectives and experiences could not provide them with new outlooks. I knew I was taking a shot in the dark, and unfortunately I missed. At that point you can either stop shooting and go home, or you can continue to map out a way to make things happen.

What was my epiphany?

My epiphany was I don’t need anyone to validate my vision or my aspirations. Paying $30K+ for a piece of paper is not a down payment on happiness. In my opinion happiness is something we make happen for ourselves. There are things I could be doing NOW to get to where I ultimately want to be.

Furthermore, I started thinking more about identity, and how I’d been blogging my truths and my life under an alias in order to protect myself from those who wouldn’t agree, or take offense to my truths. Was I afraid to share? What would people think? What if I had gramatical errors? lol

I guess through my journey of finding out who I really am I became someone whom could care less about who found my gramatical mistakes, who was offended, and whom just didn’t agree.

Naturally when I separated my government name from my beliefs, it was for acceptance, thinking about the consequences if someone with power found my blog posts on social justice and discussions on race and fighint against institutional oppression? At the time I was unemployed, I just wanted to be someone a job would hire! Wow, how wack is that? I would be embarrassed  but this is my truth and I KNOW that I am not the only one who was hiding.

Great women and men stand behind their words and their truths. They are students and life long learners able to admit what it is that they do not know. My goal is not to be famous, or even to change the world anymore. Today, my goal is to tell my story, tell my truth, express my opinions and find out more about myself. So today I merge my brand with my name and I stand behind my thoughts, my passions, my words, as a progressive and forward thinker. Yes, I still have a lot to learn, but who doesn’t? I predict I will use language that could offend, I will say things that may be incorrect or inaccurate, but I wont be the first and I am sure I won’t be the last.

Today I know who I am, and I know the power of my words, do you?

-Domonique Meeks
AmbassadorNique Productions

How does your identity affect your experiences and perspective (both professionally and personally)? (Written By AmbassadorNique)

Recently a friend of mine who will soon be finishing his Graduate degree in school counseling sent me a few questions about identity. I did my best to be as open as possible and telling my truth. In the coming days I hope to share my responses. Right are wrong these are my personal experiences, my thoughts, and my assumptions. I found that answering these questions became therapeutic and I hope they can help shape me as I grow closer to discovering my purpose here.  

QUESTION: Worldview Perspective and identity development: How does your identity affect your experiences and perspective  (both professionally and personally)?

My identity affects me every day. Race and how it affects my everyday life is something I am conscience of during most moments of the day. I believe not learning enough about my identity as a k-12 student lead me to wanting to learn as much as I could as an undergraduate. After my first Sociology class once I discovered there was a whole major that spoke to me I knew I had to take as many classes as possible. Knowing the major would never make me any money was okay with me, and to this day still is because knowing myself and becoming a better person was more important to me than how much money I hoped to receive. I became a Sociology and Criminal Justice double major primarily trying to understand institutions of oppression that have effected those whom share my brown skin. This oppression has gone on for years and continues to go on today with no signs of slowing down.

Growing up in Washington State and always attending schools where the hall ways were dominated by white faces exposed me to the good, the bad, and the ugly race relations. While Washington State to many outsiders is considered progressive, many times kids have no filters and the bigotry from their parents shared behind closed doors often end up on the playground.

Growing up with two African American parents from the south I was always proud of being black, and wore the black struggle as a badge of honor. This badge may have lead the younger me into falling into the traps of chasing what mainstream media defined as “cool” or “being” black. Having two parents whom pushed education, eventually I would learn that black was much more than what my television showed me. It was more than a hair style, a dress code, and coded slang.

I still feel to this day the discussion of race scares most white people. The younger me could never understand the disconnect between what I was experiencing everyday living as a young black male, and the image that most of the white people I came across assumed I was experiencing. As I get older I realize that interaction and collaboration is the only way to stop these assumptions. Understanding that social justice isn’t a priority to most people as it is to me.

Professionally, being one of two blacks in my department I constantly find myself losing my masculinity inherently knowing there is a fear of strong black men in mainstream America, This can be intimidating to anyone that feels as though their power is being challenged. When I catch myself changing my tone it constantly pisses me off, because I know that I am not being true to myself. I know that I should not care about such a thing, yet I find myself putting on my “corporate voice” or “white voice”. As ignorant as it sounds, and as educated as I am, I suppose it just happens. It’s definitely a habit I am trying to break. I suppose I am guilty of looking at and judging myself through the eyes of white people. This is known as double consciences a term that was coined by W.E.B. Dubois