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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.


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

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.

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.


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....


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

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

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

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.

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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