Because the World Told Me I Could Not Have It

Because the World Told Me I Could Not Have It

By Dr. Dwayne Lee

 

 

 

I can still remember the halls of my high school on the daythat I was told, by my principal, I would graduate from High School. For thosewho been blessed, all their lives, with academic accomplishments may besurprised that a student would need to go to the principal’s office to makesure that they would graduate, others may remember sitting in the offices ofthe School Administration having  thesame conversations. The principal reminded me that I had the school record for1-hour detentions and my GPA was under 2.0, yet I would still be able toreceive my diploma. I remember how the principal looked at me that day, as alost cause; a person that would end up working at a gas station for the rest oftheir lives. The principal saw me as another statistic attributed to many ofthe African Americans that I had grown up with in my neighborhood.  I was not a violent person, just lazy in theeyes of those who claimed to commit their lives to the formation of the childrenentrusted to them. {{more}}             It was notthe first time someone thought little of me, I am an African American who grewup in one of the urban neighborhoods of Long Beach, California. Mypeers in Middle and High School would graduate from the public schools and participatein the environment of gangs and drugs that were prevalent in my community. Mydyslexia would hinder teachers from taking the time to help me grasp theinformation and allowed me to get by, so that they did not have to put up withme for another year. How did I escape the violent atmosphere of my youth? Howdid I let go of the rage deep inside of being from constantly prepared to fightmy enemies who “made their bones” by bullying me? It has been 14 years sincethe meeting with my principal, since then I have earned a degree at anaccredited university and now I am striving for 2 masters, so one might say howcan a person go from a delinquent to a graduate student? I found most of myinspiration from people, in my life telling me that it was impossible to movebeyond my stature.               Because thehistory of doubt placed on me by the cynical people that have crossed my path,I feel compelled to give a message to those whose background relates to mine. Ialso feel inspired to say something to those in the education field who havelost the ability to inspire those around them. For those who can relate to mynarrative, I encourage you to listen to the negativity of those in power,listen to them! I say this as a declaration, not to fall in the incarceration inadequacyand stereotypes the world has placed on you, but to transform the fightingspirit born out of the atmosphere of violent altercations into a vessel oftransformation. If someone tells you that, “you can only be this” or “youcan only do that” use the energy that was once focused on attacking yourenemy to energy to pursue goals that society has only claimed for the elite.               To theprincipals, teachers, and key masters of society, I give you this message. Ifthere is a person in your class who is without any redeeming quality, please donot forsake them so easily. Force yourself to sit down with this bad seed, andfind the courage to listen to their narratives, allow your heart to be brokenand help such pre-criminals to change their narratives for the better. Ninetypercent of the time, your assumption of the hopelessness of this individual maybe correct however if you have the fortune to meet that 10 percent, who havethe undeveloped potential to go to college take a chance to help them reachthat potential. There are those, from low-moderate income neighborhood, whowill listen to the world and their destiny will be to join gangs, sell drugsand lay around the community. There are the lucky few who can change the worldif they were only given a chance. They shout to the world that spurns them, “Iwill become what you say that I cannot be.” Key masters will be shocked bytheir passion and their drive and ask, “why do you continue on?” Whyhave you not given up?” Why do you strive for something that is beyondyour stature?” Boldly stand up and proclaim, “Because you told me Icould not have it.”