You didn’t earn anything. Stop being so selfish:  you might surprise yourself by how good soul food tastes.

My anger, frustration, and sadness drive me into the classroom. I think of the opportunities un-afforded to my family members, to my race, to my friends, and I want to be the factor of change. I want to go all the way:  I want to be a teacher, an administrator, an advocate, an ally, a colleague, a professor, a student, a mover, a shaker. I can’t afford to slow down, there’s much too much to get done. I want my students to define their success without a comparison to their race:  I want them to know that success and intelligence are not inherently genealogical or biological. I want them to succeed because of where they come from, not in spite of it.

I’m so incredibly angry at those with money who feel they’ve somehow earned it, as if the system didn’t select for them. For those with tennis courts, stone gardens, and looking ponds:  why do you think your kids will rule the world? Our position as a nation internationally sickens me:  who pays for the lives we take daily? What “earned” our right to destroy others, ourselves, and the land we live on? I teach, I educate in hopes of eradicating the obtuse notion that life is not a product of luck. There is no meritocracy. We are all the products of what we are given:  those who have fooled themselves with stories of bootstrap ascension are more victims of the system that selects for their tenacity.

I teach because I believe in the obligation to my fellow man. I teach because it feels right to give what I have.

“That which I have supposedly earned, I can credit to others. My hard work is never mine alone. I cannot think of anything I’ve accomplished without a network of support.”

For those who feel they were unsupported:  I encourage the introspection needed to eat humility. I teach to encourage credit where credit is due:  into the void of humanity and social consciousness, that we may do what is right because it is right, and to thank the circumstances that afford us our luxuries.

Do not mistake my call to humility for weakness or docility. I am angry that the lies of success have come to this, the sociopolitical situation we are in now. (Scream and yell in protest by education):  I know and believe in the long game, the years long struggle to fix what was purposefully broken. I can be angry and humble. I can be frustrated and introspective. My hate and sadness burn together, they fuel my drive to give back, to demand equality, equity, diversity, and recognition.

I want success to be understood as the product of circumstance.

Storyteller Daniel David Reveles is a student teacher in Berkeley, CA. He is currently studying at San Francisco State University in hopes of getting his teaching credential with BCLD (Bilingual, Cross-cultural, Language and Academic Development) certification.

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