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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

The Color of Silence: Black Card Revoked; The Internal Battle


Written by Nia Hernandez

We sat on the swings and all turned in unison to watch the three of them walk down the path into the woods of Stanley Park. Just as quickly, we turned back and started to chat, the conversation shifted into these comments about one of the girls: “Who does that, like who tucks their braids behind their ears, everybody knows you take two pieces and tie them together”, “I knowww, she’s mad white you can tell she’s not around Black people, like look what she got on” “And why she talk like that”. And at that moment, a Black Card was metaphorically revoked.

The group I was with were six Black students I had met about an hour or so before when I was eating lunch on The Green. It started with just me when I was approached by three Black girls who came to compliment my hair and introduce themselves. Next, a black guy who had just met the same girls came and shook my hand doing the same. We sat and chatted about what it’s like being a student of color at Westfield and where to find more of us. The girls were freshman and saw from their few days on campus the population of students of color were slim and seeming like none. As we continued to talk, the others waved down any person of color they saw, by now two more people joined us: a black guy and girl . From here I gave a short tour of campus since they were mostly first years and eventually led the way to Stanley Park. That’s where the communal feeling started to die down and the judging began.

Judgement isn’t anything unexpected when meeting new people, everybody acts cordial until they feel free to say as they please. And I guess that instance on the swings is when the tea was spilled on how they felt towards that girl. In the moment I thought nothing of it, but as I shared the encounter with others and thought about it, I felt guilty for not defending her. I had no direct obligation to feel like that, but as a fellow black female I should have had her back to tell those girls to chill out. I could’ve reminded them Blackness IS NOT a narrow definition or little box to fit in, but the beauty of Blackness is variety.

It’s hard enough to feel alienated on a predominantly white campus and feel like you don’t know who to chill with. Yet, to then feel like, “ok I’m not alone, I met some cool people who look like me”, just to find out you are alone because you don’t fit THEIR definition. This internal and external battle students of color experience is all too real. Around campus, in the classroom, and just in everyday life we fight against the judgement and mistreatment of white people. We shouldn’t have to face the same thing when we’re amongst each other, we should be allies, NOT NECESSARILY FRIENDS, but allies. At the very least I want to know you won’t do wrong by me.
By Nia Hernandez

There’s a saying that goes “too white for the black kids, and too black for the white kids”, simply meaning you don’t have a home with any group because you don’t fit the description of either. If that’s you, it’s ok you’ll find your group in due time, be open to everybody and keep your head up. wink

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