Black Excellence, but Make it More Inclusive
Black Excellence should not only be limited to STEM
What does it mean to be black and excellent? If you search Twitter, Instagram or any other social media where #BlackExcellence exists, to be black and excellent, means to be black and successful. It means to be black and to be an aspiring doctor, lawyer, scientist, engineering other jobs that traditionally correlate to wealth and intelligence.
However, black excellence is so much more than science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors, it should be more inclusive of black people with all types of aspirations, whether it be in the STEM field, humanities and arts or those who did not even go to college.
The Black Excellence hashtag started around 2016 with a video by three young black men who attend VCU. In the video,Terry Everett, Terrence Everett and Jonathan Brooks rap about their future aspirations, the Everett brothers are both biology majors and Brooks is a physical therapy major. According to an interview with HER campus, they were inspired to create the video because of their STEM. majors and to uplift the black community.
"Everyone in a STEM major was an influence because most people believe that being a STEM major is very demanding and cannot be fun and so just showing that it can be fun was what influenced the video for myself," Terrence Everett said.
"I think Black Excellence to me is bringing the attention and appreciation back to our culture because we’ve become so deviated from it", Terry Everett said. “It’s important for African American people to appreciate themselves and it’s important that we also encourage other minorities to do the same."
Though the hashtag was started by students who happened to be STEM majors--and there is a big push for more black students to become STEM majors--these are not the only black people that should be deemed as "excellent".
Being a doctor or an engineer seems to be the pinnacle of success in the black community because of the tendency to make more money. African Americans are underrepresented in the STEM field and it is important to encourage students to get involved and expose them to these opportunities. However, we can encourage and celebrate those who do this without bringing down and undermining the accomplishments of those who choose not to go into these fields.
Making Black Excellence more inclusive isn't meant to lower the definition of excellence, but to expand it to people doing things that don't traditionally coincide with what excellence means. Black Excellence can come in many different forms and many different majors and have different impacts.
Black Excellence is never stagnant, it is a constantly evolving concept that extends to doctors, lawyers, artists, writers and should be anything that moves the culture forward and shines a light on the amazing things black people can accomplish.