When I grow up.

When I was much younger, one of my favorite things to do was to sit down and lose myself in a good historical documentary.  I loved how these shows made history come alive, how the facts seem to be filled with vibrant color and texture. I soaked up every minute of these talking documents. However, the best part of these films were the academic experts. The fact people. They seemed larger than life, they seemed to know so much about the topic, they were brilliant.  It was what I wanted to be when I grew up. This was because I had to drastically alter my original “when I grow up” aspirations. Primarily, I wanted to be a Black female Quincy M.E. (a show about a Medical Examiner, starring Jack Klugman – just in case anyone reading this has no idea what I am talking about). I realized that this career path was not going to work because my lack of tolerance for blood and guts on a daily basis was going to stand in the way. The back up plan was to be a police detective, which could be a slight problem with my growing up in an age of New York City style police brutality and having complete mistrust of “New York’s finest.” And I wanted to go straight to detective, not walking the streets in a uniform that I did not find the least bit attractive.  Plus, I just wanted to go straight to solving intense mysteries, doing research on the crimes, a Black female Sherlock Holmes (USA style).  That also seemed a dead end, and I realized I might have to see bodies, bones, blood and other such things that were not going to work for me in the long term. So, the alternative was to not be a detective of crime, but a detective of history. I remembered back to sitting for all those hours watching the experts on those historical documentaries, that was my calling.   179205_10151743364457571_891472591_n So, I became a history major and after a long story about the ups and downs of my love and hate relationship with the archive, the historical text, the inherent racism, sexism, classism, etc. I was introduced to the world of historical archaeology. Wow, the best of both worlds. I had the document, I had the material, and I had the ability to be a real time detective! But now what? I am an Assistant professor on the cusp of getting tenure, I teach from the huge class to the intimate seminar, I have a lot of community connections that I have to keep fresh, I am conducting research at at least 3 sites, I am an Undergraduate Program Director invested in making sure our program is tight, and I am a wife and mother of three. So, as I get caught up in the every day, the inability to find a moment to finish that article that I have been working on for a year and making sure I know what I am talking about in those lectures I do multiple times a week, I realize that I have not been on one of those historical documentaries. And I can’t figure out why?   Recently, I have watched so many friends appear on CNN, the Cobert Report, The Daily Show, Melissa Harris Perry, MSNBC, writing for the Huffington Post, Salon.com, Crunk Feminist, the Feminist Wire, Essence, and many other popular venues that I follow on Twitter or Facebook, etc. And each time I see them, I send congrats and I am so happy that it feels like I am on there with them. I watch every clip with pride, but to be honest, there is also some envy. I have come to wonder why not me? Do I have valuable things to say? Am I doing all this slightly in the wrong way? Do I need to step up my blog posts? Actually work at my Youtube page? Get a Public Persona Facebook page? Create a webisode series? Damn, what does a sister have to do to get “invited?” 8900_10151821079307571_1910996168_n And then I take a break and a breath. And remember, that to appear on these shows is not the only reason I do what I do and that is okay. Maybe it is not in my immediate path and the only people who ask me why I have not been in or on these venues are my family, because they love me and I love them back for their love and confidence.  I have a lot going on in my life with a bunch of stuff on many plates (while technically I only have two hands).  I still hold hope for the call about that historical expert moment, for I know it will come, even if it is a short 5 minute Youtube video project.   1382400_10152278280952571_872431532_n I want my identity as a Black Feminist Archaeologist to be taken seriously, not lightly. I do not want to be a novelty, I want to represent the real thing. I do not want to be trivialized and made into a sound bite, I want to add value to the conversation. That is my hope, but if I get that call, believe me I will be putting that right on Facebook and Twitter and letting the world know. But until then, I can keep my integrity and stay humble. However, if you want to book me, feel free to look up my blog and my email. I am more than willing to give it a try. Blog out…

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