Four Things Black Womxn Can Relate to on Campus by Joi
29 Oct 2018 11:27 AM
It has been 4 years since I decided to leave my predominantly black neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri and come to Iowa State’s campus. It was a huge adjustment, but I’ve come to realize that a lot of other black womxn have had similar experiences on campus. Here’s a list of a few things that I think other black womxn will relate to:
You walk into class on the first day of the semester and scan the room before choosing a seat. You notice no other people of color in the room. You sit down by yourself and scroll through your phone before the professor starts lecturing. Then something catches your eye, another black womxn walks into the room. You can celebrate that you’re not alone in at least one of your classes. You’ll have someone to exchange eye rolls with across the room all semester when someone makes a questionable comment.
When the professor mentions something about black history or culture and you know that everyone is expecting you to give the “black perspective”. No one should have to assume the role of spokesperson for all black people in class, but believe me, it will happen.
Not being able to skip class because the professor always notices when you’re gone. In a sea of white bodies, they always seem to remember your name and take note when you’re not there. What makes it even worse is when they call you out on it next time they see you. How did they even notice that one empty seat in a 90-person lecture?
Seeing a black girl with a bomb hairstyle and running up to ask her where she got it done. Almost 75% of the time, their response is that they got it done “back home”. If you don’t know how to do your own hair, you will have to learn. Your best bet is to sit in front of a mirror with YouTube tutorials playing in the background. And for all my fellow black girls out there who feel inadequate because you can’t cornrow, I stand with you.
Being one of the few black womxn in your classes can be hard. Minoritized populations make up less than 14% of Iowa State’s student population. It can feel as if you have to constantly explain yourself and your identity to those around you. I am grateful for the community that I’ve found during both on and off campus, who have made my experience unforgettable!