When neo-Nazis marched at UVA on August 11th, they didn’t come in the KKK head-to-toe white garb that history textbooks showcase in black and white. They didn’t come with cloaked heads and hidden identities. They came as themselves, wearing costumes of “normalcy,” which made them all the more frightening.
Why was anyone surprised?
Our university: adorned with shrines to the Confederacy, built on top of graves where slaves were buried after their backs were broken building its white columns. Where our president and deans speak of incredible diversity as they stand in front of the Confederate plaques at the Rotunda. Where we black students try to push back that little voice in our heads asking:
“Do they really mean it?”
“Why is OAAA confined to former slave houses on Dawson's Row?”
“Why is the Multicultural Student Center hidden away in a basement?”
As the school year winds down, many have already started asking themselves, “What will I binge watch during exams when I really should be studying, but who am I kidding no time to study when I have all this free time?!!!!” We all do it, so let’s stop pretending we are all in the library “studying” for 12 straight hours. No, we’re catching up on Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO GO, Showtime Anytime, Hulu and whatever other streaming service there might be out there.
At eight o’clock in the morning, Megna’s phone alarm chimed on her bedside table. She reached over, swiped her finger across the screen and checked the notifications on her phone. Megna, Allah bless u… I will be there in two hours. Remember to do ur prayers. Replying with an ok, ma, Megna tossed her phone back on the bedside table and reclined backwards. She hadn’t prayed since her mother sent her to a Sunday Islamic school when she was a teenager, but her mother liked to believe otherwise.
Well, the time has come. Classes are ending. Libraries are filling up. The days are getting longer and the hours spent asleep are getting shorter. This academic year is coming to an end, which means, The Black Column is coming to an end too. The end of an era.