Pro-Tips for Surviving Class When You’re the Only Person of Color


Photo via Buzzfeed

Kenyon has made some great strides in its diversity since I started here in 2013: 22% of the student body is domestic students of color, nearly double what it was in 2013. 1 in 4 faculty members identify as people of color. We have a black president of our college and our country. So much melanin! What a time to be alive! Yet, too often I find myself the only vaguely ethnic person in the classroom, a fate I am afraid many people also share. So here are some strategies I’ve developed over the years to help you, my fellow POCs, deal with these silly white people. 

  1. Always carry highly reflective sunglasses on your person, so that when triggering issues (slavery, white supremacy, colonization, Tupac) inevtiably arise you can slip them on and all your classmates who have turned to you for your ethnic analysis of said issue will see a reflection of how ridiculous they look in your sunglass lenses.
  2. Tote around several copies of your family tree tagged with your family’s geographical origins, so that when somebody asks you where you’re from-but like where are you really from-you can nip that question in the bud. Surprise I’m American! Your great grandparents used to own mine! What fun we’re having! 
  3. When taking a photo with your classmates, especially if the people who take the photographs for the brochure/website are on the scene, place your iPhone flashlight under your chin or over your head to light yourself. If you don’t, the picture will come out, everyone will look great, and you’ll just be a dark shadow with some chiclets for teeth.


    Photo via Imgur

  4. Wear a motorcycle helmet at all times to prevent people from touching your hair. Alternatively shave your head. Is that your natural texture? I don’t know Kelly, why are you asking me weird shit, it’s 8:10 in the morning! 
  5. Constantly reference your inability to sing, hold a tune or understand rhythm so people will stop asking you to be the rapper in their acapella group. No I don’t want to sing a mashup of Macklemore’s greatest hits. Please stop singing Ain’t No Sunshine at me Trey! 
  6. If your Psych professor tells you he recieved a result of “moderately favoring white people” on the implicit bias test, create your own test that will determine whether or not he should have shared that information with you. Surprise, the answers always NO!
  7. Milk this #wokebae trend for all it’s worth. It’s all we’ve got guys. Good luck out there.


    Photo of large group of silly white people via Paul Ryan’s twitter account

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