Classified yet obvious: room for sale, dm for details
Last week, I was in an argument. Although no punches were thrown, I felt like I got slapped in the face a few times, but I thought I did the best I could. Even though I was ducking and weaving through the racist rhetoric, it still felt like I got my ass beat. As soon as it ended, I went upstairs to my room, pulled the covers over my head, and cried.
Now, I know I’m the only Black kid in my house.
Most days, I think I can handle anything.
But obviously, I can’t. And I should’ve known that. Even my grandma thought I was crazy when I said I was going to live with four white girls in a house my junior year of college. She knew that I didn’t really understand that being Black in a white house means constantly walking on eggshells, and making sure not to draw too much attention to your most prominent feature: your blackness. Ah, if anything, I’d like to ask Michelle and Barack… but they can’t come to the phone right now so I’m constantly stuck on mine. Scrolling, trying to muster up the strength to go to class.
And since, I have come to one conclusion.
The University needs to address and hold accountable the assailants whom bleed out the soul, compassion and fight of the Black students.
Because there aren’t any dead men coming to evict me.
But these little white girls are doing everything in their power to make sure I don’t stay.
It felt as though they kicked me repeatedly while I was down; I had just lived through a week of white supremacist posters were affixed to campus structures. The word “n****r” was being written on the backs of Black students’ dorm doors, screamed at a group of students and posted on Snapchat by groups of white kids.
You all want to be able to say the word “n***a” in your snaps, songs and at your parties, but do you realize you use n***as every day?
We write the music you blast at frat parties. We create the culture you steal. Kim Kardashian came on the scene, and now everyone wants the fat ass that was exhibited as a “freak show attraction” on numerous Black women, most famously Sarah Baartman, in circuses during the 1800s. Kylie Jenner has made the big pouty lips (which pushed pseudo scientists to argue Black people were closer to apes) attractive. And Katy Perry has told you it’s okay to wear cornrows, despite the discrimination Black people encounter in schools and the job market when they wear them.
Additionally, many of you all exploit Black people for a chance to reinvigorate the white savior complex passed down to you from your imperialist ancestors. You volunteer for Teach for America so you can have a feel-good résumé booster. Yet you don’t know a damn thing about the inner city or its trials.
And I’m that n***a a lot of you at the University use. Somehow, somewhere along the way, I became your Negro — the proof to your friends and family that you aren’t racist.
Yet, you watched as I was verbally assaulted.
While I crafted intellectual, academic arguments from the Pew Research Center, academic journals and personal anecdotes, my roommate repeatedly told me systemic prejudice no longer exists — that my experiences were superficial and fake. That white and Black people move throughout the world in the same way — insinuated that institutional racism and systematic injustice are simply in my imagination — that I have a “chip on my shoulder” and racism is only as meaningful as I let it be.
I sleep in a bed 29 inches from my other roommate. Yet somehow, even though she saw me hurting and upset, she couldn’t muster the strength to say, “Stop”? Or, “She’s had enough”?
You saw my eyes watering. Hands shaking. Lip quivering from the anger I felt as she dismissed my statistics and data.
But you complained that I was making too much noise as she made slight after slight.
We were “disturbing” your ability to study.
So, I smiled. I chalked up our exchange to “politics” and went to bed.
And as I lay there, feeling assailed, I realized I no longer feel safe in my home.
I don’t know if I will heal.
All I know is that I might need a new place to stay.