The Financial Cost of Being a Black Professional (AKA Smile Boy!) From 10 Keys to African American History


Wait, I know her. What is she doing on Fox News? It took me back to some bad memories of white supremacy….


Man was I doing well. At the time, I had straight A grades and only needed to complete my oral exams to become a doctoral candidate. Now, for many, the exams are impossible. You have to read hundreds of books and comprehend generations of historical thinking. Plus, you are responsible for this same amount of reading in various fields of study. Mine were United States History, Latin American History and History of the Law.

I did have advantage in that I had won a diversity scholarship. Since, California does not allow race to be a consideration, I applied as a military veteran hailing from the South. Got it! The scholarship provided funding for my first three years of school. All I had to do was complete my required coursework and pass the oral exam and I would then be free to research and write full time.

So, as you would expect, I set to reading books every waking hour.

I was living in graduate family housing, paying a very inexpensive rate for Southern California. What could be better?

Then, one day I got an email from the Housing Director informing me I needed to come in for a meeting. Strange, I thought.

The Hispanic Assistant Director was always cool. So, I had no idea what to expect.

When I got to the office, I saw her. Blonde and white, she had a smirk on her face. She told me that she had received a message that I was not getting along with other students in graduate housing. What?

Apparently, they thought I was racist because I did not join in any of their social gatherings, which consisted basically beer drinking. Ironically, I had actually started the Friday suite gatherings the preceding year. Only I and the Koreans attended. No whites. Now that the suite was majority white, they wanted to hold them again.

Well, I tried to explain that I was spending this entire Fall Quarter preparing for a December oral exam. No time to waste. “So, you think you are better than them, she asked?”

I knew she was going to be trouble.

She went on to tell me that she had a law degree, so she knew about PhD programs too. Ridiculous, of course. “You are studying too much. Perhaps the program is too difficult for you?”  “Perhaps the other students can tutor you.”

Again, I told her I was in a specific doctoral program, those white guys were pursuing Master degrees in non-academic fields, not the same thing at all.

I further explained how completing my oral exams now, rather than later, allowed me to get around having to take more classes and teach, which would slow my research and writing. Big mistake. Never tell a racist anything.

She then realized that my plan was to be the first in my class to advance to PhD candidacy and then spend the rest of my graduate career writing. I would also be living in graduate housing, receiving the financial benefit of not paying the high California rent.

“Well, I will not allow you to live here without some diversity training,” she told me.  “I think you need to  report to me each week for further training.”


“Yes, you should be interacting with whites. They tell me you don`t even smile when you see them around campus.”

I then told her this all made no sense. But it got worse…

She suddenly screamed, “Do not point that pen at me. I know what you’re doing!” Apparently, I had taken the pen I was using to take notes and pointed it when emphasizing a remark.” Everyone does that at times. We stop writing, make a comment, hold the pen, then start writing again. No crime….except when done by a black.

I was shocked. She told me I had aimed a phallic symbol at her, proving my intent to commit rape!

Enough, I walked out and reported her to the Dean. Apparently a black man who does not smile around whites poses a threat.

I moved out of graduate housing to adowntown apartment that cost me more each month than what I paid over a whole quarter in graduate housing. My school bills just grew exponentially because of my race. This is white supremacy at its worst.

Ironically, I saw her on Fox News recently. Conservative pundits were destroying her. She had taken things too far. Lying on black men is one thing. Now, she had railroaded a white male student into a rape charge. Conservatives investigated her and found she clearly violated his constitutional rights.

However, I have no rights a white person is bound to respect. (The Dred Scott Case).


10 Keys to African American History is a book by an historian who has taught at major colleges and published in top academic journals. He believes campus administrators and local school board leaders obstruct the teaching of black history to such a degree that most students graduate with no real understanding about race.

This book takes the ten most important concepts in African American History and explains them for a general audience. Knowledge of self can save your life.


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