The Life of a Black Woman in STEM
Start writing a post
Student Life

The Life of a Black Woman in STEM

I'm tired of explaining why I'm tired.

52
The Life of a Black Woman in STEM
https://az616578.vo.msecnd.net/files/2017/11/21/636468477191235679-1460010138_o-WOMEN-MORE-TIRED-THAN-MAN-facebook.jpg

I had an excruciatingly hard day and my white male classmate, while he meant well, kept asking me if anything was wrong. "Why do you seem so sad today?" he asked repeatedly. That is when I started to relay to him the struggles of being a black woman studying science on the medical track in college.

I explained that there is a lack of representation within my faculty. I explained that there is this underlying racist culture within our school. I explained the lack of support I feel. I did all this explaining, just for him to make one comment on how he feels bad and then turn the conversation to him.

I've never felt so stupid. I wasted my time and my limited energy explaining myself as if I had to justify my not being all smiles one day, to someone who would never understand and barely even tried to.

He gave a sympathetic statement and moved on because his privilege allowed him to overlook the struggles of others.

And THAT is what every day is when you are a black woman in academia, especially in the STEM fields.

Every single day you sit in a room where most of the students don't look like you and even look down on you. The lecturers that stand before you also look nothing like you and don't seem to be allies who advocate for your success.

Imagine something happens. An attack has occurred. You feel more like the minority more than ever. You've also been attacked solely for being black and for doing the EXACT SAME THING as your classmates: getting an education.

When you speak up about these attacks, you are silenced. When you continue to speak up, you become "the angry black woman." When you continue to speak up, you are told to just keep your head down and focus on your studies.

But focusing on your studies is so hard because you have so much pent up anger about your excruciatingly long day. When you don't understand something, you feel like there is no faculty support. You can't ask your classmates for help because you already know that most of them don't think of you as equal so you don't want to give them that satisfaction.

I am not writing this to complain.

I am writing this because:

1. I am going through a lot of emotional/mental warfare just to get my education, so if I am a little tired, sad, or "not smiling," leave me alone. Seriously, LEAVE ME ALONE. Let me turn off for a day.

2. If you are in a position of privilege from which you cannot relate to anything I've said, recognize your privilege. If you genuinely want to show solidarity or be down for the cause, that's great. College is a place for all of us and I worked just as hard to get here as you did, so your support is greatly appreciated. If not, take several seats far away from me.

My feelings on being a black woman majoring in STEM dig deeper than this. I have yet to touch upon the physical, mental, emotional, and academic toll of it all and at the fact that as a black woman, I'm fighting just as hard against structural racism as I am against the patriarch (sometimes harder).

This barely scrapes the surface, but to be honest, this piece is more of a catharsis for me than an explanation for you.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Sports

The Gift Of Basketball

The NBA playoffs remind me of my basketball journey through time

618
Syracuse Basketball

I remember that when I was very little, my dad played in an adult basketball league, and I remember cheering him on with everything in me. I also remember going to Tuscola basketball games when the old floor was still there and the bleachers were still wooden. I remember always wanting to play basketball like my dad, and that's just what I did.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Plus Size Appreciation: How I Learned To Love My Body

Because it is okay to not be "skinny."

2095
www.hm.com

In America, we tend to stick up our noses at certain things that aren't the norm. For example, people who are overweight, or the politically correct term “obese." Men and women who are overweight get so much backlash because they are not skinny or "in shape," especially, African-American women, who are typically known for having wider hips and thicker thighs. Robert Darryl, an African-American filmmaker, explains the overall intention of the body mass index in his follow-up sequel, “America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments."

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

It's More Than Just A Month

Mental Awareness reminds you that it's always darkest before the dawn.

3382
Wordpress
Odyssey recognizes that mental well-being is a huge component of physical wellness. Our mission this month is to bring about awareness & normality to conversations around mental health from our community. Let's recognize the common symptoms and encourage the help needed without judgement or prejudice. Life's a tough journey, we are here for you and want to hear from you.

As the month of May begins, so does Mental Health Awareness Month. Anxiety, depression, bipolar mood disorder, eating disorders, and more affect millions of people in the United States alone every year. Out of those affected, only about one half seek some form of treatment.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Pop Culture Needs More Plus Size Protagonists

When almost 70% of American women are a size 14 or bigger, movies like Dumplin' are ridiculously important, while movies like I Feel Pretty just feel ridiculous.

5964
Dumplin'

For as long as I can remember, I've been fat. The protagonists in the movies I've watched and the books I've read, however, have not been. . .

Keep Reading... Show less
How I Met My Best Friends In College

Quarantine inspired me to write about my freshman year to keep it positive and focus on all the good things I was able to experience this year! In this article, I will be talking about how I was able to make such amazing friends by simply putting myself out there and trying new things.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments