Monday, September 21, 2009

Because it's hard being of African descent at Penn sometimes.

I know the video is already a YouTube phenomenon, but its message is ringing particularly true for me today. The clutched purse move is a classic, but I've been experiencing a much more nuanced brand of racism as of late.

The fearful look at night on the train.

The confusion at my anger over an ignorant comment in my African History class.

The silent bewilderment when I say where I go to school.

The eyes that scream, "I have no explanation for you. Black boys aren't usually found around these parts. How did you get here?"

One of my older family members said yesterday that Governor Paterson should know there are certain things Black folks just can't say. That he's been Black long enough to know that.

Maybe that's why I blogged about this instead of standing up in class today and shouting it, instead of forcing everyone to see me, really see me, for the first time. Not as performer or anomaly, but man. A fragile man whose skin isn't bulletproof.

This is the most honest piece of writing I have created in a long time. The video is funny but the reality isn't. Back to the mask for another day.


  1. I have a question. An honest one.

    Why does ignorance anger you?

    And when is anger justified?

  2. Just stumbled across this...dig it. What's most ironic is that so many black and latino men live in very real (reality-based) fear of being attacked and brutalized by the police. Messed up.

    Something that Bob Avakian goes into in depth in the first 30 minutes of this talk. Likening the fear any black man must have lived in during slavery/jim crow with the fear so many youth live with in their interactions with the pigs...
    As he says, "the youth deserve a better future!"

  3. you know..just because someone has had fear instilled in them..rightly or wrongly towards black men and hasn't had the experience or hasn't taken the time to know better...doesn't necessarily make them a racist. and it's not just white women, i get scared too. late night on the train etc. (ok, not in elevators), and granted not just of black men, of any mildly suspicious looking character.