BY PERCY ALLEN III
How is it that I feel so incredibly isolated from the campus on which I live, that I feel so disconnected from the faces I pass each day?
That I feel disconnected from the faces that sit with me in classes? How is that?
How is it that the attention I get is typically unwanted, unwarranted? How is it that the only attention I receive is hardened stares, confused stares?
Stares which remind me of my place, that carry the legacy of once not being allowed in this place.
How is it that when I question the divide that separates me from my white peers I am questioned on what I am willing to do about it?
That I am questioned on the degree to which I am to assimilate? To fall in line with the standard?
To play nicely with those who do not wish to play with me?
Is the question not instead why do we feel so alone – why do I feel so alone? Why do I feel uninvited on the campus of the university that I pay to attend?
Is the question not why my college experience has rotted to résumé-building?
Is it not why I have resorted to opportunism, resorted to drowning my loneliness in words, in work?
Is the question not how am I to feel comfortable in an environment where I am but one of only one thousand?
One of 40 in my major?
Is the question not how it is possible that I am one of less than 2,000 students that look like me?
Is the question not where are the rest of us?
Is the question not why are we not here, not what is keeping us from being here?
How am I to navigate the remainder of my stint here being treated like a remainder?
With the cruel ones reminding me that I am a statistic, an anomaly?
A factor of a quota?
That my success is an exception – unexpected rather than impressive?
The only way to get these questions answered is to ask them. Loudly.
To question the inherency of the world around me, the inherency of the divide that paints the world a sinister shade of pearl.
Education is empowerment, and empowerment is advocacy.
The answers come only to those who ask. Loudly.
Is the question not why are you still silent?