Daylon’s Daily: Black excellence

Idea of Black excellence source of inspiration



Daylon Hicks prepares to jump at the Hayward Premiere in Eugene, Ore. on April 2.

DAYLON HICKS, Evergreen reporter

Being an African American is a challenge to say the least. For centuries, African Americans have been judged and hurt based on the color of their skin.

For me, it is hard to ignore the past because my mother always taught me about things from our culture. When I learned that Black people had to find success their own way during the times of Jim Crow, it inspired me to become better in anything I am involved in.

I remember vividly in 2013 hearing about the passing of Trayvon Martin and the world being upset as George Zimmerman was declared not guilty. Watching CNN report about the story, I saw tears in my mother’s eyes, my brother’s jaw clenching in anger and the look of worry from my father. At  that moment, I learned that in order for change to happen, I had to focus on achieving Black excellence and bringing glory to my family.

The definition of Black excellence means a high level of achievement, success or ability demonstrated by an individual Black person or by Black people. I had the mindset that if I made my family proud, it would showcase Black excellence and lean away from the agenda that America has set on African Americans.

In school, I would sit in the front of the class and find ways to connect with my professors to help me succeed, and it worked! I noticed my work improving, learning more about each subject and helping myself in the process which caused a snowball effect of showing Black excellence.

Black excellence, however, for me always started with my family. Starting with my mother working at Apple, my father working for the Oakland Police Department and my brother recently graduating from college with two book releases, I knew I needed to find my own way to achieve success for my race.

As a kid, I saw Black excellence on TV watching Michael Jordan, Serena Williams and Allyson Felix. Through watching them, the thought of doing sports flooded my mind and high jump became a sport that I connected with the most.

I used track and field as a platform for me to receive recognition and help out my family by earning a scholarship for WSU. I knew that I would play a sport in college whether it would be football, basketball or track.

The concept of soaring over the bar feels similar to jumping over the high bar of racial inequality. Having that as one of my mindsets helped me achieve massive success in high school and consistently improve at the college level.

While at home, it felt good to receive recognition by other African Americans who noticed my high jump success. However, on Feb. 19, 2018, I noticed a shift in the sports world.

LeBron James, one of the greatest athletes in all of sports, was told to “shut up and dribble” by Laura Ingraham, a commentator for Fox News. Seeing the topic trend on social media made me worried about how the rest of the world would view LeBron as an AfricanAmerican athlete like myself.

However, LeBron created the I Promise School, which provided free tuition and guaranteed college tuition to graduates. It provided a way of hope for African Americans showing that whatever you set your mind to, you can achieve.

It gave me the courage to seek out who I want to become. I found my inspiration to become a better writer through African American greats such as Ida B. Wells, Ed Bradley and Max Robinson.

I realized in order for Black excellence to be achieved, I must use my platforms to encourage African Americans to get out of their comfort zone, speak their minds and use that influence to change the world.