This letter was written by one of my classmates and best friends after she discovered extermely racist comments on her professor's blog. When she commented on the his statements to him, she herself was racially attacked. The administration at our school has been supportive and the situation and individual have been dealt with appropriately, but she felt called to share this letter to inspire others who have faced similiar oppression.
To My Uneducated Professor,
There are so many things that I wish to say to you but as I write this letter, but my mind goes blank on how to say exactly what I want.
When I read your posts on your blog, I see a white, heterosexual, educated, christian male who pretends to be colorblind. You believe that there is no race problem in America and anyone who disagrees with you is an imbecile or delusional, as if you (a white, heterosexual, educated, christian male) knows all there is about any form of oppression, let alone modern day racism. Who are you to say that racism doesn’t exist when you wouldn’t be able to recognize it if it hit you in the face. Oh wait…I’m sorry, it did and you didn’t even notice.
You have no right to talk about what racism looks like because you have not, are not and will never experience it. No longer does it appear as lynchings out in the field or blatantly segregated public buildings. It is being followed around a store at the mall while I am hanging out with friends because they are afraid i am going to steal (I am black so obviously that’s what I went to the mall to do). It is getting turned down for a job or housing, not because I wasn’t qualified (I had the same qualifications as the next candidate) but because I didn’t fit the image that they were going for. And for those who cannot figure it out, the person they were looking to hire wasn’t black.
It is our young men being expected to end up in jail not college. It is us, as young black women, to be expected to have lots of kids and lots of baby daddies with the drama to go with it. It is our men being stereotyped as mean, tough, calloused, violent and difficult. It is our women expected to have big boobs, a big butt and a tiny waist with long, pin straight hair. But we are called ghetto, loud, constantly angry with an attitude, unloveable and only good enough to be a “side hoe”. Modern day racism is the fact that our young men are being killed with little to no cause, little to no justification and instead of being punished for it, the police are protected and put on paid leave; let off with no charges and given pats on the back or high fives.
Being black in America is hard not only because of the systematic setbacks or the constant flow of microaggressions but because people like you feel like you have the authority to tell me and my fellow melanated sisters and brothers how to feel about the way the world actually treats us.
I say all of this to say that I want to thank you. Thank you for giving me a wake up call and showing me that people like you still exist in this world. I like to surround myself with people who understand and/or can empathize with my struggle and sometimes I forget that my job as an activist is not done because I found people who get it, who get me. You have reminded me that the world is far from where it should be. You made me realize that I have a lot more people to prove wrong and I look forward to it, starting with you!
Sincerely,Your Oppressed Student