Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Free College!

Last night, in the wake of the Department of Justice's announcement that they would be going after anti-white discrimination in college admissions, writer Ashley Ford tweeted this series of thoughts:

This [DOJ announcement] would be hilarious if it wasn't so fucked up. Do you know how many white people truly and genuinely believe that black people get to go to college for free?

I spent the summer between my senior year of high school and freshmen year of college teaching wilderness survival at a boy scout camp. I was SO excited about going to college in the fall I literally carried around my course catalog, so I could read all the class options.

I was the only black person working at the camp and the only black person to ever work there that anyone could recall. It was a weird summer.

Anyway, one day I'm sitting at the lunch table taking notes in my course catalog, and one of my fellow counselors asks me what I'm doing. I tell him that I'm trying to figure out which classes I want to take in the fall. He says, "Yeah, I didn't even apply for college."

I'm like, "Why?", and he literally says, "Can't afford it. I'm white, so you know, it isn't free for me." Y'all I just stared at him.

What messed me up was he didn't say it in a snarky or accusatory way. He said it like we were just talking about water being wet. After a minute, I say, "Um, I'm not going to college for free." And no shit, he says, "Oh, do you pay up front and get it back later?"

Y'all he was dead serious. No malice intended. And the rest of the dudes at the table were like, "That's not how it works?" And I'm like 😳😳😳

At this point, I'm confused AND curious. I say, "Who told y'all black people go to college for free?" They all cited parents, friends, etc.

Understand I came from a school system that was 96% black. I'd never been around this many white folks in my life. I had a lot of questions. They had all these stories about white people they knew getting passed over for jobs and promotions in favor of less qualified black folks.

I asked how they knew the black folks were unqualified, and they all got quiet and then said stuff like, "Well my uncle/grandpa/dad said..."

Most of them came from areas where you had stuff like Drive Your Tractor To School Day, and spent little to no time around people of color, period.

Telling them I wasn't going to college for free kinda blew their minds. They didn't know any people of color, but were SURE they knew what we were like. They thought we got all kinds of stuff for free: jobs, housing, food, and apparently, whole ass college educations. Genuinely believed it.

Anyway, I ended up leaving camp early that summer because I simply couldn't take it. The woods I got used to, but the people, I couldn't.

Before that summer I thought racism was something people did, not something they believed. I was naive af. But hey! We all gotta learn.
She spent today writing and publishing this article about the tweets, and responding to racist jerks and doofy white people in her Twitter mentions. After some of those responses, she tweeted, "Go home and ask the other white adults in your family if they think black people get to go to college for free." And this: "Folks in my mentions [are] trying to convince me no one believes this, tweeting right alongside folks trying to convince me we DO get free college."

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