If you have never heard of George Hosftetter, you should. He’s a native of Oakland, a tech genius, and owner of GHTech. He’s a technical philanthropist who ensures that marginalized communities are given the opportunity for increased engagement, training, and participation in information technology spaces. In essence, he lives to expose our children to opportunities in computer science and technology.
I know him. I’ve had the pleasure of being in a couple of meetings with him and his vision is beyond any expectation people have of African-Americans (Blacks). He wouldn’t harm a fly. His soul is for his people and that’s what is disappointing about his experience after reading a LinkedIn post by Demetrius W (he gets full credit for bringing the article to my attention). The article about his summer experience at Cambridge can be found here. Read it. All of it. Let it soak in. Let it piss you off. May it infuriate you to action.
I have spoken with George. He is one of the most intricate, intelligent, brilliant, and philanthropic minds I have met. What he has already accomplished in life is mindboggling and expected. This article speaks to his character, his roots, and his passionate drive to educate the racist he confronted in a Cambridge classroom. The sheer brilliance and genius way he tracked down a coward who sent out a racist Airdrop message to students in the class will forever be legendary in the halls of Cambridge. This coward was given the opportunity to step forward prior to George being granted permission execute his cybersecurity skills and successfully track down this coward who could no longer hide behind an iPhone. His technical aptitude and skills allowed him to let an entire class of non-Black students know that he belonged there and bullying would not force him out. Insert “WuTang Clan Ain’t Nothing to F*$% With”.
Ironically, I was introduced to George by a young man in our mentoring program who is a graduate of Stanford University. This particular young man was told by a white professor his freshman year that he didn’t belong. Yes, folks, RACISM still exists in this great nation of America. Yet, he pushed forward, completed his degree and has started a company. Like George, this young man is also in the business of community.
The challenges that Black students face at predominately white institutions (PWI) is real, even in Oxford. I recently wrote a blog to encourage Black men struggling for promotion in their careers to know that, “You ARE Enough”. I take time now for our young Black, African, and African-American students to know that “You Belong”. Whenever you are working to better yourself, accomplish goals, and excel, there will always be those jealous of your success. On the precipice of greatness resistance shows up.
Colonizers will colonize, oppress, all due to fear. They fear replacement, they fear being inadequate, the fear being overshadowed. It’s all false. We are all human. Until this is realized, Black people can’t afford to ever think that we are accepted. Some person, some politician, some bill, and some law will work to strip away our basic rights and make us feel like we don’t belong. The USC should have stated “All white men are created equal”. That was penned by a slave owner, who enslaved his own children after raping Black women. Let’s not pretend the sex was consensual when slaves had zero human rights.
Parents, we must prepare our children for life post high school. The level of racism our children experience in high school will be nothing compared to what they will experience in college at a PWI. Every level of progress leads to a different level of racism. When they get to corporate we will have to teach them the same process again for dealing with all issues regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion. My daughter has lived my own experience while sharing hers. This isn’t a blanket statement for all. I went, later in life, to a PWI. Most of my friends and colleagues attended a PWI. I’ve seen the brokenness of people who couldn’t endure the racism and I’ve witnessed the endurance of those who could. I will be intentional preparing the young people in my village for life after high school; I recommended all parents do the same.
Unfortunately, there were no consequences for the young racist who sent the message. Typical slap on the wrist justice for such actions. He’ll carry this on to his children, his nieces, his nephews and the cycle will continue. Why? Because in all our humanity, religion, and spirituality, some people have no inkling of what it means to love thy neighbor.
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