The constant shootings of Black men and boys are a source of trauma for many who identify with the Black community. They contribute to our overwhelming feelings of distrust towards authority in America and they do not dissipate simply because changes of one’s surroundings occur. I feel them each and every time I walk into class and hear a classmate or professor say something off color about people of color. They rise to the surface each time I’m expected to read something that dehumanizes my people, knowing that many of the miseducated White people in my class are reading the same exact thing and not understanding or even noticing the implicit fear and hatred in it all. I struggle with this tension each time I think about the fact that one day I may just be a faculty member at an institution that has historically worked to marginalize my people.
It’s a lot to take in.
Not to mention the fact that not a single professor acknowledged any of this in class this week, but instead carried on like it was any other week. While in the meantime, I was hurting inside. I, along with the other Black students in my program, was mourning with my community. But that seemed to be of little importance.
It’s hard to remember that any of this work will have a positive impact in the future when it’s not even acknowledged in academic spaces as it happens. And it seems almost impossible to heal when the world and the work don’t even pause for just a second to allow you time to cope.
So I’m going to stop here. Because I’m out of answers. But my hope is that the conversation doesn’t stop here. Please comment below with advice on any of the following:
- How you've dealt with these tensions in your academic career
- How to bring up these issues in academic spaces
- How you’ve begun to heal after such deep hurt
With the utmost love and hope for healing,
The Blackademics - Tiffany & Autumn
Autumn is a former middle school literacy educator. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Teaching, Learning, Policy, and Leadership with a concentration in Language, Literacy, and Social Inquiry at The University of Maryland - College Park.