It’s easy for folks to dismiss the perceived issues with “post-racial” America as paranoia in the Black community. Most of the time it will be these peers that will never know what its like to walk into a room and automatically be presumed ignorant or unknowing. College changes nothing; in fact, it’s where all the representations circulate, and are therefore reaffirmed. I find it backwards that people leave college with even more illusions than when they came in.
So for the record to be set straight, the experiences that frustrate Black people all originate from conversations.
The Humyn Resources representative that gets you the job and the kid next to you in class who must share his genius are both taught by the same institutions; that make assumptions legitimate enough to suppose a minimal truth. Here is where people need to be reflexive, because they themselves are institutions. What is a dialogue but an imposition of our thoughts and an affirmation of what we think is true through another person? Even this sounds like the potential for reciprocity, but too often is the Black person approached as the object, by which problems are confirmed to be in Blacks.
Even I, who is smart enough to write this post, can’t say that my intelligence has never been challenged. When I went to get a counselor’s signature for a scholarship application there was much reluctance to sign it, not only because she didn’t want to review my records but because I must not have been eligible—you know because I am Black student. After my insistence that she check my records, something changed in her. My conquest of A’s made her give me her business card and tell me about her family, her “knowledge” had indeed been challenged.
As long as people of color have to be exceptional, an ironic case since exception indicates one special person standing out from many, it is still the case that we are not in a symmetrical relationship with other, namely those occasional arrogant whites, as in the political identities. Apparently, Mr. PhD from Harvard “post-racial” does not imply that racism is impossible. Racism is embedded in the construction of the self in such a society.