Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What It Feels Like to Be a Black Professor

The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 26th, 2015

A young child scribbling on a blackboard perched atop an easel in the hallway of a two-bedroom Brooklyn apartment.
That’s one of my earliest memories. I’m writing my ABCs and spelling out three-letter words, fingertips and palms caked white with chalk. For as long as I can remember, probably from about my second birthday, this was my afternoon routine, a ritual mandated by my stepfather, who would periodically make stops at the chalkboard on his way out the front door, or to the bathroom, just to confirm that I was demonstrating the kind of progress that he expected.
He was determined to make sure that I was better prepared for school than all the other kids on the block. More to the point, he had convinced himself that I already was. The man loved to pump me up with positive reinforcement about my intellectual abilities, my God-given gifts—only further enhanced by his judicious enforcement of my daily chalkboard regimen.

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