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Being Black in Laramie: A Follow Up

Last year I wrote about some of the more comical aspects of living in Laramie as a Black woman. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll make jokes about really any ignorant thing someone says to me because of my melanin. However, with some of the current race issues, it’s important to also address the less comical sides of low-key racist remarks (and high-key remarks).

 

Two of us felt the need to follow-up with some of the more serious issues of living in Laramie. If you’re overly sensitive about race issues, this may not be the space for you. If you want to know more about some of the more bothersome things people say to us, read on. Understand that these comments occur frequently, and we’re more than happy to unpack some of the feelings that accompany what we discuss.

 

“The athletes probably did it” in reference to something being stolen, broken, or messy.

Don’t assume that. You know what assuming does right? Mostly makes an ass out of you.

“You’re not like other Black people.”

You’re right, I am not like other Black people. They’re far more successful and role model excellence daily. Here are a few examples to consider:

  • Michelle Obama attended Princeton and Harvard. She’s a lawyer. Oh and she was the First Lady of the U.S., so yeah, I’m not nearly as excellent as her.

  • Beyoncé slays and I could never achieve that.

  • Serena Williams is literally the best athlete. Period.

  • Laverne Cox advocates for trans-issues. In comparison, I am the scum of the earth because I don’t take the time to be more active about issues I care about.

I know when this phrase is used that it’s essentially a backhanded compliment. It’s like saying “Oh you’re not like other women.” Well, as it turns out, I am. Don’t devalue my identity just because you want me to separate more from it.

“You’re basically White.”

Did you fall off the potato truck yesterday? I am not basically White. To my knowledge, I don’t have privileges that come from being White. Do not tell me I am basically White. I’m proud to be Black, so don’t shat on my identity because it doesn’t conform to your preferences.

“Why can you say the n-word and I can’t?”

The fact that people still legitimately ask this question baffles me. This question is on par with “Why can’t I say the r-word? Or the f-word?” Why do you need to use a word that puts people down? Maybe ask this question to yourself before you ask a person of color why you can’t call them a slur but they are allowed to use it within their group. Then read a book on in-group and out-group dynamics.

“You’re being racist towards White people.”

First, look up the definition of racism. Second, get out of my face.

Literally any comment on my hair.

Did you learn manners from your parents? I refuse to conform to your Western standards of beauty just because you don’t like the way my hair reacts to humidity. Face reality and realize not everyone has the same hair texture.

“Microaggressions aren’t a real thing.”

To some, my complaints are menial and I should “get over it.” My challenge to those people, consider how frustrating and tiring dealing with conversations every day about race wears on you. I know, this would require you to see outside of your own experience. If you need help understanding, watch this video.

“I could totally have sex with a Black girl, but no way in hell would I date one.”

First, can I punch you in the penis? Second, why? Is it a status thing or are you just a horrible person? This is a rhetorical question. I already know the answer.

“I don't even notice that you are Black anymore.”

Please stop saying this. It infuriates me to no end. The Colorblind Approach is a bullshit idea made up by people that were trying to prove they weren't racist (but they were). Everyone notices skin color, it is impossible not to. It is one of the first things you notice about a person. So instead of taking that away from someone, maybe you should learn to appreciate everyone, including the color of their skin. The human race is so cool. Appreciate it.

“Racism doesn't exist anymore. We had a Black President.”

If I hear this one more time I will flip a table. Look at the news! Look at our current President! Just look around!! Racism is very real, you just don't notice it because, 1. You are purposefully ignoring it. (It is so hard to miss), 2. You are racist and you are trying to act like you aren't. 3. You live in the state of Wyoming and are White so no one has ever been racist to you. It is real. Stop denying it. Please read this article if you are having a hard time believing me.

Also, just type ‘racism in America’ into the Google search bar and educate yourself. Thaaaanks. Byyyyeeee.

Shutting me down when I go on rants about the state of racism in the world.

“You are just being too sensitive. It's not that bad.” Yes it is. Pull your head out of your butt. It's not a hat. People are being killed because of the color of their skin and the people that are killing them aren't being reprimanded for it. If you kill someone unjustly you should go to jail. It is not a hard concept. People are being denied access to the U.S. because of the country they come from. Come on. How do you not think that's messed up? Don't shut me down and don't shut other people down. If we don't talk about it, nothing will change.

“Black Lives Matter is a terrorist group.”

No they are not. There are bad people within the group, but there are bad people in every group. Saying BLM is a terrorist group is like me saying that the Pro Life group is a terrorist organization. I mean people that subscribe to that group have blown up organizations that perform abortions. BLM is trying to make people in this country realize that this country places little value on the lives of Black people. This country doesn't care about us and BLM is trying to change that. So please shut up. Thanks.

 

 

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Emily Cornell

U Wyoming '17

Emily is a graduate of the University of Wyoming with a Bachelor's in Business Management and Master's in Communication. In terms of career, Emily interned for Wyoming Athletics, and wants to eventually work in sports marketing. When not working or in class, she can typically be found baking cheesecakes, drinking coffee, or having random adventures. If the idea of these three things seem exciting, you can follow her on Instagram or Twitter, username: emilproblems. 
I like pasta, but I am gluten intolerant. That statement basically explains my life.
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