I have been schooled in elite, predominantly white settings for most of my life. As of late, I can’t shake the feeling that much of this process, this everyday violence operating under the guise of access or achievement or inclusion, was geared toward making me into someone who is very, very good at making white folks feel safe. I have known for years that this labor would not save me from death at the hands of police officer or vigilante, but only as of late has it occurred to me that this very desire to be a non-threatening, respectable subject is in many ways a refusal of life itself. Which pushes me to think, now more than ever, about the ways I might teach students, and maybe even children one day, how to navigate an anti-black world while straining against even its most basic terms, how to help them survive without the mask.

Square Dancing with Giants


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