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“I’m Through”

"I'm through," says Jocasta from CBS's "Big Brother"

This might seem very strange for me to write since I devote much of my professional life to teaching, researching, and writing about race and racism in education. But, with the exception of my scholarly pursuits, I am through talking to white people about race and racism. My absolute “through-ness” (I know, a made-up word) came to a head when my university covered up blatant racism (a man in a Trump costume had a noose around a man in an Obama mask at a recent football game and the university president called it “free speech.”)

Below is a litany of what I am through with:
• I am through trying to assuage white tears whenever the topics of race and racism arises;
• I am through acting like I don’t notice when I’m the only black person in a room of white people with authority and power;
• I am through pretending like I don’t notice that college football fields and basketball courts are filled with black players earning enormous sums of money for universities that have stadiums and arenas filled with white fans;
• I am through trying to explain why Donald Trump is racist … indeed, I am through not reminding people that the entire presidential election has race as a subtext;
• I am through giving white entertainers and celebrities a pass when they do racist foolishness online, on social media, etc. and then “walk it back” with, “I didn’t mean to offend anyone!”
• I am through with trying to explain when something is racist(e.g. police shooting, lead water poisoning, the justice system, schools, housing, voter suppression);
• I am through going HARD for other people’s issues and then finding myself standing alone when the issue is racism;
• I am through with people using “implicit bias” to paper over their racism;
• I am through with explaining why Confederate flags, nooses, references to fried chicken, watermelon, and “black on black” (what about “white on white”) crime are racist;
• I am through explaining the need for affirmative action (when you break stuff, you are obligated to fix it);
• I am through trying to get people to understand why slavery is still relevant to black people’s ongoing plight;
• I am through pretending appropriation of black culture is flattery (don’t braid your hair or try to enhance your butt and stop putting kale in everything);
• I am through worrying about if something I say will “hurt your feelings,” “make you feel uncomfortable,” or “make things ‘worse’;”
• I am through thinking it’s okay for white people to move into and take over Harlem, Detroit, or West Philly;
• I am through explaining the need for HBCUs;
• I am through explaining why I attend a BLACK church;
• I am through explaining why I am in a BLACK sorority;
• I am through with the unbridled hatred of Serena Williams, Cam Newton, and President Obama;
• I am through with your children being so ignorant that every time they see a black person they rudely stare (I will be staring back);
• I am through listening to you start sentences with, “Well, you know I’m not racist, but…” (Yes, you are);
• I am through with white mediocrity being called excellence while black excellence is ignored;
• I am through with people trying to pit the plight of black people against that of others implying black folks should still wait;
• I am through indulging comments like, “everything is not about race,” when most times it is;
• I am through explaining my style — hair, dress, swagger;
• I am through being your teacher when I am not paid to do so;
• I am through supporting “liberal” causes that don’t make race central to their work;
• I’m through trying to get folks to understand that “Black Lives Matter!”

Yes, I’m just through! So you may wonder what am I going to talk to White folks about. Well, we can talk about Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones (although I don’t actually watch that), Portlandia (which I’ve only seen 3 times), and why every fall you turn EVERYTHING into something “pumpkin” (lattes, muffins, and bread).