Dismantling the “black wave” around campus

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By: Alysha Payne, Columnist 

In general, I wonder why there seems to be a large following of people who believe that being black means you get an automatic friend pass with other black people, simply for the fact that you are both black. It’s gotten to the point where others feels like it’s our duty to wave to the next black person we see walking through campus, and then try to dump this obligation onto others. This needs to calm down.

Waving to someone because of their race isn’t a wrong thing to do, it is just a very awkward pity party. In retrospect, you are waving to a complete stranger that you could probably never have a connection with beyond that point because you both have about the same level of melanin in your skin.

You don’t know their name, their hometown and you probably don’t even know what dorm they live in, but that doesn’t even matter.

Why? Slavery. Yes, because it is obvious that the best connector of Blacks and Africans is a period of time we never lived in. But why are we connecting based on something we didn’t personally go through ourselves? That cannot seriously be the sole motivator to greet somebody in the hallway. Feeling obligated to wave to someone because of slavery is a big pity party, and if they wave back to you for a similar reason, it’s an even bigger pity party.

But what else do they encourage us to wave randomly for? Oppression. Even in today’s society, Black Americans are under some form of oppression in some light.  This can drive someone to introduce him or herself if it’s something they have experienced but, if the individual in question doesn’t actually go through this oppression (i.e. unfair police encounters, not getting a job offer because of race, unfair grading), what is there really to spark this encounter? Obligation? No one should feel an obligation to meet someone, it should happen naturally.

Now, please, do not misconstrue what I’m trying to get across. Slavery and our oppression over time has been a very serious and dark time for many African Americans. A lot of our ancestors went through it and it should be something we look back on every now and again, but it should not be the sole reason you wave at somebody in the hallway.

Slavery is connected to us all in a way, but it can’t connect in that way. So please, do not make young adults wave at each other merely for their skin tone and their ancestor’s life. Make them wave because they genuinely want to have a connection, not an obligation.

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