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Diary Of A Black Queer PHD Candidate

Afraid of being "stereotypically angry" many accept micro-aggressions.

This article was originally written by Sassy Peachez ,UCLA '17| SJSU ‘20|Future PhD 🎓📚|Intersectional Feminist|Gemini♊|Sapiosexual|Gay 👬🌈|Poz +|#blacklivesmatter ✊🏾|#lambily🐑|#beyhive 🐝|He/Him/His


 This semester has been a lesson in moving within academic spaces while Black. I have encountered racist texts without a robust conversation surrounding race. Ideas to write about queer black representation as a final project have been shot down and I have been deemed combative when I called him out on his assertion for a black male critic not liking a black women's writing. Yet, the last week have been heightened in the level of vehement vilification of blackness.

Last week my group and I did a presentation in our History of Rhetoric class about African Rhetoric(s). In our research we found that Egypt was the birthplace for African Rhetoric and it evolved and changed across the continent and by ethnic group. Not only were we to present this material to the rest of the class, but we were to have them read a scholarly article that gave them a taste of our tradition and they had to write a short discussion post about it prior to class. We decided to have them look at an article surrounding the goddess Ma'at. Ma'at was the goddess of truth and justice, but to the Ancient Egyptians, she was the guiding force for all communication (written or spoken). As we opened the floor up for discussion about the article one classmate deemed the material to be "cultish" in relation to the other materials and presentations we had seen thus far. Why? What deemed this reading any different than anything else we had to read or understand? Religion is a large part of many cultures and traditions. Cult like offers a negative connotation. This comment put a bad taste in all of our mouths. Furthermore, when pressed about it the student gave the "why are you getting upset for?" Really? You just dropped that bombshell and then when we are trying to see your line of thinking you don't want to critically engage in your position? Fuck that! Own it.

As we are trying to engage into that dialogue another student is having a side conversation with the professor surrounding slavery. This seems to be of importance because we had posited how Africa is seen as poor, chaotic, and ilrepute, but it actually is a vibrant place full of intellectual history and continuous to be. I pushed back because I'm like many of the negative images we have of Africa is from the West. He counters with some of that perception is found on the continent itself. I re-countered with yes, but that is the result of colonization. There is still European influence at play here that many could argue are fighting against. Then of course we had to have a discussion surrounding slavery. How it was a huge rhetorical endeavor well before slavers landed on the continent to invest in human cargo. Of course we had to discuss how this was a new system of slavery and that slavery of old was different which I also lent my voice to. Yet, in that moment I felt myself getting angry and upset. For a good while we chose silence. We were silenced because we had to be cognoscente of how we were perceived in this predominantly white space. We cannot be seen as aggressors or angry black women, my other group members are women. At one point we touched one another because we were experiencing this anti-blackness as a collective. One of my group members even posited that "anytime Blackness is centered or celebrated it is critiqued much harsher than anything else." I starting snapping my fingers and said "say that." She voiced our feelings and their critique in that statement. I left that classroom angry, upset,  frustrated, and with a headache.