Via Instagram 1.7.18

I ain’t always been like this. Ain’t finish a full book ‘til I was like 27 and that took me like 6 months. My literary shift occurred a year after that, when I applied for a PhD program and I didn’t get beyond the interview process because they said I didn’t know enough theory. A former professor knew my abilities as an educator and vouched for me but they told her, “Practice and experience is not enough. She needs to know theory.” They believed I would not be able to handle a PhD program’s rigorous reading requirements. So my professor gave me my first copy of a bell hooks book, “Class Matters,” sent me Gloria Ladson-Billings’ articles, some Neil Postman, and even Vygotsky. I devoured the texts and wrote my heart out in reflections and critical analyses. She cried, real ugly emotional tears. She was so proud of me because she was so hurt that the PhD board did not believe in me the way she did. She said, “Valencia, this proves that you can do this.”

Honestly, I knew I could do it. I knew what I was capable of... What I did not know was: “theory” was something that I had to know. No one had ever taught me about critical race theory before this experience and I knew, if I didn’t know about it, chances were, most of my peers did not know either. .

Since then, all I do is read. I’ve spent the last 3-4 years eating every book I come across. And I share everything I read because I don’t want anyone to experience what I went through.

When I was looking at the comments on my post with the authors, I noticed so many people felt bad about who they didn’t know. I hate that! Don’t down yourself.

Reading is so intimate and personal. I truly believe that we read what we need in the season that we need it. For instance, a person may read Angela Davis or Baldwin in high school and it’s just another bit of information to them. While other people read it when they are in their late twenties and resonate with it so much that they find a new meaning in their purpose for living. Feel me? We read what we need, when we need it.

No shame is welcome here. Strictly growth. All love and intellectual compassion.