The Collegian
Saturday, July 04, 2020

Letter: Reponse to "Being black"

When I decided to write a response to last week's "poem" I had to keep in mind not to make it something personal against the author Isaiah Bailey. However, it's a difficult task because what he wrote was personal; his personal experience that he tried to generalize to all of us, something I take issue with.

Reading the title I was intrigued at the prospect of someone shedding light on the problems we have; I was horribly disappointed and not just because it's a badly written poem. I expected something deep and intelligent; instead I got the whining and nit-picking of someone who wanted to justify his anger behind the veil of race.

First I must point out that I have seen and know Isaiah Bailey. The reason people ask Mr. Bailey if he is an athlete is because he has an athletic build. He looks like a football player, probably owning to the fact that he played football in high school. This is not a question asked to every black male. Another black Richmond male of the class of 2013 has never had this question posed to him. In a sense they are judging Mr. Bailey based on his appearance but it's not his skin color they are looking at. Oversensitivity is not helping the cause.

And as for not having a car, that's frustrating to everyone, especially if you like getting off campus often. That's not a black thing, neither is being tired of the food, believe me. I honestly don't know what counting carbs or not counting carbs has to do with my skin color. Perhaps instead of targeting the black students as Mr. Bailey seems to think the school is doing in their food choice, they are merely trying to address the nation's obesity problem.

I don't think it's vital to the black experience to be smiled at by these two women Mr. Bailey has mentioned. Also Mr. Bailey has yet to prove how his not getting into a fraternity lodge is a racial issue.

In what I suppose Mr. Bailey thinks is the most poignant part of his poem, he mentions an isolated incident with a man who he admits was inebriated called him the n-word. This could have happened anywhere. I wouldn't call it part of the black experience at UR considering neither I nor my other black friends have had it. There were probably better reasons for not hitting him, like the fact it would have been more trouble than it was worth, and I don't think that it has anything to do with the University's money.

Sorry, my first roommate was not black and not because of the odd number hypothesis. Mr. Bailey needs to stop making assumptions and jumping to conclusions.

I did like the bit about the stumbling drunk white 'chicks.' I'm not exactly sure why I'm supposed to beware. Perhaps Mr. Bailey warns against catching something, but I digress. Drunken people, black, white, male, female, that's what we have to deal with, and by "we" I mean college students. It's a college campus. People drink.

But it's time for me to wrap this up. My main problem with Mr. Bailey's "poem" is that it is presented as some sort of guide. "Everyone listen up! THIS is what it's like to be black at U or R." No. I want to clear up the misconception that's he's thrown out there. All to be gained from this "poem" is that you now know what it's like to be J. Isaiah Bailey at the University of Richmond. There are differences and there are problems with being black at U or R but Mr. Bailey didn't even touch on them. The fact that he is trying to speak for all of us and pass off his experiences as universal is inappropriate. I can only hope too much damage hasn't been done.

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