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23 Things All Black Kids At Liberal Arts Colleges Will Understand

"Let me just play devil's advocate..."

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1. Hearing your own classmates say you only got in because of Affirmative Action.

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Right, so my perfect SAT score, Model UN trophies, theater participation, and four varsity letters had nothing to do with it.

2. Being mistaken for every other black person on campus.

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And, for the extra ignorant, a few of the Indian ones.

3. Having your history, literature, and heritage confined to a specialty department.

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Meanwhile "Western Lit" is a parade of dead, white authors.

4. Changing your hairstyle for the first time on campus and becoming apparently unrecognizable to people you've met before.

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My face is the same, even if my hair is not.

5. When Black History Month rolls around and you KNOW the dining hall is going to "celebrate" with fried chicken and greens.

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They never get the greens right anyway.

6. If you have communal showers you have to explain why you take so long to wash your hair.

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"Let me tell you a little something about detangling..."

7. Coming back after tanning on spring break and surprising the living daylights out of your floormates who didn't know you could do that.

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"I have a completely different view of you now that you're, like, dark-skinned." - a real thing said by a person to a real black woman (me) at college.

8. Meeting people who are super proud to be liberal and "not racist," then hearing them say some preeeeetty racist stuff down the line.

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"I'm not racist because I voted for Obama, but..."

9. Reading a racially contentious text in seminar and having that ONE person decide to play devil's advocate for some slave-owning founding father.

10. Everyone being ~very interested~ in your thoughts on the only black author on the required reading list.

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Ask me about Beloved one more time. One. More. Time.

11. When some white professor inevitably decides to lecture on the "black experience" and you're just sitting there like a very quiet human artifact.

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"As you can see, the text of Invisible Man speaks to Negro coping mechanisms in..."

12. Finding out that the class you signed up for has a black professor and making sure to show up early and be present because you're THRILLED.

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And you can count on one hand the number of black professors you have through all four years.

13. Realizing there's a Black Student Union and crying tears of joy at having a safe space.

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My people, my beautiful people!

14. And immediately having your thunder stolen by people who demand to know why there isn't a White Student Union.

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Well, the Young Republicans meet every Tuesday at 6 so....

15. People assuming you have some sort of athletic scholarship or hook-up.

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Oh, so the only way I got in is if i'm a baller, right? Harrumph.

16. And if you were an athlete, people assumed you were only there for basketball or football.

Surprise, I'm a swimmer!
Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

Surprise, I'm a swimmer!

17. Friends who know it's not okay will get drunk and ask if they can touch your hair.

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That was really eating away at you, wasn't it?

18. Having friends who can't reconcile your blackness with something they actually like so they say you're not "really" black.

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Or "the whitest black person they know." Ugh.

19. Listening to well-intentioned but misinformed liberal people talk about how to "fix" issues like poverty and gentrification.

They read one chapter of their Urban Studies textbook and all of a sudden they got solutions.
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They read one chapter of their Urban Studies textbook and all of a sudden they got solutions.

20. And locking eyes with the one other black person in lecture when you hear that kind of nonsense.

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Bruh?

Bruh.

21. Giving the Nod to other black students at parties, even if you don't know them that well.

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Bruh.

Bruh!

22. Telling your friends that someone you all know is racist and yet somehow that person is still invited to hang out with all of you.

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~Your Black Friend Is Not Being Sensitive, Show Some Solidarity 2k15~

23. And having one seminar class with someone and knowing in your heart that for the rest of their life, you will be the "black friend" they refer to when they don't want to sound racist.

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And Your Black Friend Don't Even Like You: A Novel

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