Decolonial Refusal – What it looks like to me

You don’t go to college to get a degree in financial aid. There is a running joke that you do not end up in the field of financial aid administration on purpose you end up by accident. While that may be how I entered the profession, it is not why I stayed. I got some financial aid assistance while I was a student in college. However, I held down a few jobs in-between. It was not until my junior year that I was given an invaluable federal work-study grant and landed a job in the financial aid office. I immediately gravitated to what financial aid can do for an individual. Allowing access to education, upward social mobility. However, La Paperson’s A Third University is Possible has allow me to critique the academic from a colonial and decolonial perspective. What really resonated with me is the settler colonial apparatus that all colleges trade on from an enrollment and recruitment perspective. That whites without college degrees have established more wealth than Blacks living in poverty with college or partial college degrees. It is the idea of middle-class status vs. middle call material status. I have a college degree, but I cannot get a job vs. I do not have a college degree, but I own my own home, land and do not pay rent into a settler colonial system. I was brought up to believe that education is everything and I still believe that to some extent.

Anderson’s Educating Blacks in the South tells a history of the education of Blacks in America tells a story of sacrifice at all cost to be educated. The period for Blacks in the antebellum South marks a particular evolution of the American public schooling system for all races beginning in the ninetieth century. In the first moments of Emancipation, Blacks sought to do nothing more with their newly found freedoms, than to seek education. The roughly 250 years that mark slavery in this country, Blacks were largely left illiterate. Particularly, after Nat Turner’s revolt because the education of a slave was made illegal. Many Blacks solidified in their minds to pursue education even at great personal risk. However, anger was an emotional sentiment carried by ex-slaves for being kept illiterate by their former slave owners. Many likened this to a sin, of being robbed of an education for so many years. The struggle for education by Blacks can be separated into two categories: short- and long-term goals. The short-term goals of education were to enable the race to stay out of slavery, not to be cheated and to defend and extend their emancipation. The long-term goals are to participate in democracy as free and equal citizens.

Participation in a democracy as free and equal citizens, is a very egalitarian ideal. La Paperson would lump this into Second World University, freedom and liberal ideals from a liberalist perspective. But, that Second World University also trades on the same accumulations of the First World University. Colonial refusal is seeking out aid policies that intend to put students in direct academic eligibility conflicts. Becoming a Scyborg that can navigate or ghost ride the bureaucratic channels that  make it hard for Blacks to succeed in college regardless of financial assistance and need. Not every student enters college having reaped the educational benefits of a society that is designed to benefit the settler class or whiteness.

In my research, vibe, breath, I wish to take these ideas of settler as land, Native as world and slave as a system with me. That in order to contribute to decolonial refusal, I can exist in the breaks, the gaps, and use the technologies that have been set up in support of the First World University towards decolonial progress. Taking those tools wherever possible and shaping them to my objectives to remuneration, restorative justice and contributions, however small, that seeks the best interest, benefit, wellness and nonexploitive practices of Black and Brown bodies.

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