On Being Black At A Southern College That Is Very…Not Diverse.

Rochelle Nicole
Rochelle Nicole

I don’t fit in anywhere. I’m a sophomore in college and I am completely alone. You see it’s not easy being Black in a southern predominantly White University. The diversity in my school is more like a salad than it is a smoothie. Everyone violently clings to people that looks like them. I’m not used to that. All my life, I’ve been taught that the world is not one color, and the earlier I learn to interact and understand people that are different from me, the easier and more fulfilling my life will be.

I took that advice and ran with it. In high school, I had a diverse group of friends from all cliques, classes, and backgrounds, and I really enjoyed that. It was a nice feeling being able to go into any class knowing that I would have friends or be able to go into a local store and see someone that I know. Now, that’s not the case.

I came to college with the naïve idea that, even if I didn’t make friends with everyone, I would still be able to sit by people or make small talk with anyone. The pointed knife of racial tension, rapidly busted my bubble. My first main shock was when I was sitting in a crowded Math lecture hall with 3 seats beside me that were empty and incoming students saw those seats but chose to sit on the floor in the back instead.

I quickly checked to make sure I didn’t smell (I didn’t), and I cried that night. I had never felt so unwanted in my life. I even downloaded Tinder to make friends, but after only 1 match that said he had never been with a Black girl and wanted to check that off his list and no other matches after a month, I came to the conclusion that I’m either really ugly or nobody really wants a “black-looking black girl”.

I withdrew into myself, and I began to observe how compartmentalized the student body around me was. Sure there were people of all races but you would very rarely see a friend group that consisted of multiple races. Then the “Black Lives Matter” movement started in full force and through twitter, I saw the racist sentiments shared by the students of my school.

Yes “ALL LIVES MATTER”, but how can all lives matter if Black lives don’t? Why are you so quick to condone the killing of a child by saying he shouldn’t be stealing? Since when was the punishment for stealing, DEATH? Once again, I felt unwanted. We are supposedly known for our “hospitality” and “friendliness”, but I had never experienced any of that. Instead I watched in silence as a group of White guys in my Physics class said that calling people the “N-word” wasn’t a big deal because he had been called fat and didn’t get offended. It’s funny though because no one has ever been banned from voting because they were fat or was counted as 3/5ths of a person because they were fat.

To make things worse, I don’t fit into the “African American” stereotype. I’m African, and I’m not slim-thick, “fine as hell,” or a twerking goddess. I’m not in with the “lit” Africans nor do I hang out with the Black athletes that make up our sports teams and throw the livest parties. I am Black, but not really. I have the skin but no friends that look like me to show for it.

My Indian friends that I came with to my school from college always hang out with their Indian friends and don’t invite me to come along, and my one Chinese friend moved to a different college. I’m not welcomed in sororities (read the SMU letter that circulated last year if you want to understand why Black women are not welcomed in Southern sororities,

https://twitter.com/MyPWI/status/659732218533679104)

So, where does that leave me? I don’t know. I hate staying in places where I’m not welcomed. I don’t fit in with the Black people, and I don’t fit in with any other group, and I don’t know why. I like to think I’m a pretty likeable person, but I don’t fit into the acceptable Black girl stereotype. I’m not light-skin (the only form of black that is widely acceptable due to our Eurocentric culture) nor do I look like all the Black chicks on the rap videos that everyone watches in order to establish what an “acceptable black woman” should look like.

Before you comment, boo-hoo, you feel so sorry for yourself; I don’t. I’m done trying to apologize for the way God made me. I’m tired of being forced by society to “hate being black”. Why does speaking properly somehow diminish the amount of “black” a person is and become a compliment?

I’m tired of people saying my braids look like worms or Medusa’s hair while the Kardashian’s get praised for their edgy “boxer braids.” It’s funny how people sit behind Twitter and tell Black people to stop saying everything is racism, even though it is. Why should we be forced not to remember slavery or Segregation because it happened years ago, but we are called to never forget 9/11 or D-Day? Why can’t we remember slavery and remember 9/11? Why do those things have to be mutually exclusive?

Why are we called racists for having our own sororities when they were created because we couldn’t, and for the most part still can’t, get into PanHellenic sororities? We didn’t create Black sororities/fraternities or the NAACP to exclude other races, they were created because white people EXCLUDED US!!

Why do “equality warriors” on twitter seem to forget that fact? I’m done trying to act like racism isn’t systematic and ingrained in the moral fabric of America, because it is, and I will unapologetically speak about it; I mean, I have nothing to lose I already have no friends.

Would my life be a heck of alot easier if I was white, of course? Would it be easier for me to have gone to a historically black university; probably. However, you can’t just retreat into your own race forever. That’s what I wish people would understand.

Yes, it might be uncomfortable listening to different opinions, but it’s a great thing to be able to engage in dialogue with people that bring different points of view to the table. What makes a smoothie so nourishing? It’s the different fruits and vegetables that you blend into it. All of them retain their health properties but when they come together, they form a super food that is even more nourishing to your body than eating a single fruit or vegetable. [tc-make]

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