Nerdy, Black & Confused
January 31, 2013
Filed under OPINION
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I like to complain. Those who know me know this. Some of my favorite things to complain about have to do with homework, snow, the perpetuation of white interest as “universal ideals,” sea kayaking and dogs. I don’t like dogs. I think I told a slew of people last semester that I liked dogs. I only did it to fit it, I’m sorry. Also, what is sea kayaking and why is it a thing people do willingly?
You might have heard me ranting about these highly controversial topics in the Prentiss dining hall, on Facebook or, god forbid, on Twitter, where my privacy settings have given me an extremely false sense of privacy. I can forever preach about how people of color, especially women of color, are underrepresented in academia in terms of content (I am no longer impressed by the thoughts of privileged white men in history) as well as in educational institutions such as this fine establishment.
But this has all been said before. Black girl on campus complains about how white campus is, complains about lack of diversity; it’s the first round of Whitman Encounters, I’m aware. It’s a reoccurring theme. Whenever underrepresented groups anywhere talk about issues they face that others can’t necessarily see, they are dismissed as just complaining. If others can’t feel racism or sexism or any other form of discrimination, they think you made it up. We just like to complain.
I also realized that I can complain all I want but if I don’t advocate for myself and speak out about issues that are important to me, I am just as bad as those who misrepresent me.
And honestly, who better to represent me than myself? I want to write this column as a means of injecting my thoughts as one woman of color into the public sphere. Fortunately for everyone, as a result of this column, I cannot complain that I am not represented in this particular aspect of life––or in this particular corner of the Pio. I plan to write about race, gender, class and their glorious intersectionalities as they have presented themselves in my life. I do not claim to be an expert. I do not claim to be the voice of all women of color. I only write what I know and have experienced.
Often I am told not to talk about issues of race or gender or class publicly because I will be perceived as the “Angry Black Girl.” Well, until I am not the only one talking about these “made-up issues,” I will continue complaining in the hopes that if there is at least one other lost black girl out there who is a Twitter addict, or never sees people like her on TV, or doesn’t like dogs, but is scared to speak out in the status quo, she won’t feel so crazy.