Hi, everyone! It’s ironic because on Tuesday, I made a statement about how important it is to start conversations in classrooms on a level playing field so that everyone understands the vocabulary and context of what is being said. But I also made another comment on Tuesday that failed to take into account that everyone is coming into this class from different levels of understanding when it comes to the topic of race in the United States. This is partly because I haven’t been in a learning environment in an over a year; this past year, I’ve spent a lot of time with other activists who understand the severity of race relations in the United States. I have since learned that my comment made some people uncomfortable. It’s unfortunate that in the midst of talking about my own discomfort and limitations, I made others feel comfortable. So the professor [Please note that the name of the professor has been redacted] and I thought that it would be great to take a moment in class to clarify exactly what I meant.
In class on Tuesday, I made a statement in which I said: “In my experience, I’ve come to know that I cannot spend a prolonged period of time talking to White people about race because I start to think about the historical and real-world implications of what it means to be Black in America.”
I said this for two reasons. One reason was for my comment to serve as a disclaimer. Throughout my time at this college [Please note that the name of the college has been redacted], dating back to my first semester, I’ve realized that whenever I am in a class that engages in a discussion about race, I leave the classroom feeling physically, emotionally, and mentally drained. In my experience, I’ve had classmates ask my why I undergo such a huge shift in my emotions; for most people, it’s bizarre because I’ll walk into a classroom ready and willing to delve into a text or a discussion about race and then I’ll leave the classroom visibly frustrated, angry, and sad. So, I thought it was appropriate to make y’all aware of my own limitations.
I also made this comment because it’s my personal truth. Although I am making this statement today, I still stand by my comment because it’s what I’ve come to know about myself.
I don’t think that conversations about race will ever be or should ever be comfortable but I acknowledge that it’s my responsibility to clarify any statements that may make people uncomfortable. So, as we proceed in the course, if I ever say anything in class that makes some of y’all uncomfortable or is something that you want to push back on, please feel free to talk about it with me in class or outside of class and if we’re both comfortable, we can engage in further dialogue about the topic.