14 Problems Only “Blackademics” Will Understand


Blackademic: an African-American who has chosen to work in the professoriate, e.g. a black academic.

1. Your colleagues still can’t pronounce your first name, even though you’ve corrected them, like, 100,000 times. At this point you just let it go. You’re fine being Xasdqerpal.

2. Trying to decide between going to a Janelle Monáe and doing something scholarly, especially when pressed against a deadline of some sort. But my whole thing is, you’re already late anyhow — might as well hit up the concert!

3. It’s so hard to watch television or movies because they are almost always “problematic,” the word you use when somebody asks if you like _____________.

4. The fact that you are sort of bougie now, like really bougie, even though you grew up in a different class situation. The thing is, though, you’re aware of your own bougieness, so enjoy that Frittata bitch.

5. There’s nothing that infuriates you more than the comments section on virtually ANY internet article that is even remotely about race, an article you will then share on Facebook with a comment like “Oh lord” that will then itself be commented on by all 2,000 of your blackademic friends.

6. Your friends and colleagues know not to step to you on “Scandal Thursday.” And if you’re one of those blackademics who doesn’t watch Scandal (side eye), then your entire Facebook newsfeed is full of all your fellow blackademic friends reacting to/commenting on this or that, giving you the FULL unbridled tea.

7. Worrying whether your hair/overall style might be too ethnic for your campus/department.

8. You LIVE for Melissa Harris Perry. Oh this isn’t a problem, just a statement. MHP takes you where you need to be TOOK.

9. Someone is steady asking you why you speak so well.

10. That or people thinking you are THE EXPERT on black studies even though you are a chemist?

11. Wondering if students question your authority in the classroom because you’re black. Having to overcompensate for that by doing things to remind them that you are indeed Dr. Professor XYZ, get into it.

12. You’re not quite sure how to respond when you’re on a conference panel that is clearly about black studies and in the Q+A somebody asks about white people (THE WORST!!!!!).

13. The possibility that your community engagement and outspoken politics will count against you when your tenure review comes up.

14. Having to deal with subtly racist jokes or other condescending commentary made by members of your department. Like, that person is the chair of your department and you’re not tenured yet. If he says something ratchet can u really come for his lace front?

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