Is it too late to drop the class?

This is what you asked yourself when you saw the title of Thursday’s reading: “The Code of the Street”

Your brow furrowed

Your body felt tense

Your breathing slowed

“Of all the problems besetting the POOR inner-city BLACK community, none is more pressing than that of interpersonal violence and aggression” (emphasis yours)

You froze

Looked straight ahead

The camera zoomed in on your face

And then into your left pupil as 

The vision of Thursday’s lecture manifested

Your white, male professor stood at the podium

The words “Cultural Sociology” stood before you and 250 other predominantly WHITE students

You made eye contact with the four other BLACK people in the room

You placed your left hand over your right hand to stop the shaking

Is this fear?

You snapped back into reality with a sharp inhale 

Your right hand was still shaking

Your left one was too

The shaking had traveled  to your stomach

Your legs 

Your arms

Is this anger?

You looked back at the reading

“Elijah Anderson”

A BLACK sociologist, according to Google

You decide to skim the reading

Tried to block out the shaking and the vision and the fear-anger

“The inclination to violence springs from the circumstances of life among the GHETTO poor…”(emphasis yours)

“So-called STREET parents…often show a LACK of consideration for other people…” (emphasis yours)

You close the book, tired

You go to sleep


Thursday comes

And the shaking comes with it

The lecture slide reads “Cultural Sociology”

You are one of five in a sea of predominantly WHITE students

Your black girl magic cannot help you disappear

Cannot help you suppress the thoughts of their stares

Cannot help you float in this sea of WHITE

Black girl magic cannot help you here


The predominantly WHITE class discusses the plight of POOR BLACKS

The BLACKS are silent

The BLACKS stare

The BLACKS disappear

Into caricatures of POOR BLACKS

Into stereotypes of BLACKS, POOR

Is a synonym

Is a character trait

Is your fault


The lecture ends

The BLACK does not

Your hands

Are mahogany brown

Your face is wide, flat nose

Your hair is kinky, coily strands 

Growing like the hands of BLACK Jesus

Raised to the heavens




Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *