A Very Black Survival Guide

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I see you’ve got some extra melanin there, pal – that should make your university experience interesting……

As a “chocolate mama” (*gag*), there are some things that have happened to me at uni – weird things – that no-one ever thought to warn me about. So, with that in mind, I’ve compiled a fun little list of dos and don’ts to help you survive uni: 

DO 

  1. Prepare to have your hair touched… A LOT! Like a farm animal in a petting zoo, you will be touched without your consent, so get used to it!
  2. Prepare to explain your existence. A lot of people come from sheltered backgrounds. This means that they probably think that black people are a myth or an urban legend told by parents to scare them into being good little boys and girls. As a result, you will have to explain that, yes, you are a human with normal human tendencies, and, no, they cannot have an n-word ‘pass’. 
  3. Remember that not knowing stuff and refusing to learn or see things from other perspectives isn’t ignorant. Remember those sheltered little girls and boys? Well, there is a high chance that they will be learning new things about you and your hair, culture etc., BUT some of them will continue to spout ignorant nonsense, which is okay because if it doesn’t concern them, then does it really matter? 
  4. Remember, racism is dead- we have to stop complaining about something that doesn’t exist anymore. America had a black president, remember?
  5. Speak eloquently and dress properly and you won’t be racially profiled – simple as that really.
  6. Remember my beautiful melaninated brothers and sisters, you WILL be fetishised. Use this as an opportunity to debunk (or ratify) stereotypes. I myself have taken to becoming many a middle class privately educated boy’s plaything.  
  7. Remember that rappers say it! And if they didn’t want everyone else to say it, then why use it in the first place? 
  8. Learn ALL of the words to Mr. Brightside – you will be hearing it on average 37 times a week. 

DON’T

  1. Be black whilst shopping – I almost forgot that black skin automatically makes you a thief. If possible, leave the black skin at home. 
  2. Cook ethnic, “smelly” food in the kitchen! 
  3. Play the victim! Remember that racist experience you had? It was probably all in your head, so grin and bear it. 
  4. Discuss history. The past is the past, so stop complaining. 

And most importantly….

HAVE FUN!

In all seriousness, university is meant to be a time for you to discover new interests, make new friends and avoid going to lectures. So, buckle up and enjoy the ride! But don’t have too much fun; remember, those coming from BAME groups have a lower chance of receiving a first or a 2:1.

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