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Is black trauma porn over? Minorities are still expected to stay in their lane

American Fiction has been praised for saying the 'right' things — rather than for being funny. (American Fiction/IMDB)

American Fiction has been praised for saying the 'right' things — rather than for being funny. (American Fiction/IMDB)


March 11, 2024   6 mins

Monk Ellison, a struggling black college professor, writes My Pafology as a prank: the stereotype-laden novel is a clapback at the publishers who equate “Black stories” with tropes of poverty, brutality, and violence.

But the joke, as it turns out, is on Monk: a major publisher wants to buy the novel for almost a million dollars. When he takes the call, he nearly blows the entire deal.

“This is he,” he says, crisply — and the publisher, a white woman named Paula, flinches at the sound of his voice.

“Really?” she says, incredulous.

Monk reluctantly, hilariously, gets into character. “Yeah,” he growls, putting on an exaggerated blaccent, and then adds: “God damn it! Motherfucker!”

Monk Ellison is the protagonist of American Fiction (one of the nominees for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars); when I saw the movie, this was the moment when the people around me started to laugh — not just because of the swearing, but because of Paula’s reaction to it. Her whole body relaxes as she laughs and nods: “I was a little confused at first,” she says. Now, she’s relieved: expectation and reality are back in perfect alignment, and all is right with the world.

The audience, meanwhile, is experiencing a different kind of relief: finally, someone has admitted that the emperor has no clothes.

If 2020 was the peak of culture’s great awokening, 2024 may be remembered as the year the dam finally broke. Within the past year, satirising the identitarian obsessions of the publishing world has almost become a genre of its own. It’s not just American Fiction — adapted by Cord Jefferson from the 2001 novel Erasure amid Hollywood’s sudden circa-2020 surge of enthusiasm for stories by and about people of colour. There was also R.F. Kuang’s Yellowface, in which a white writer passes off the manuscript of her deceased Chinese-American friend as her own. And this week brings us Andrew Boryga’s Victim, a novel that pokes similar fun at the pieties of an industry that runs on equal parts white guilt and black trauma.

Victim tells the story of Javi, a young, bookish man from the Bronx who slowly awakens — with the encouragement of various well-meaning white authority figures — to the power of being powerless. Much like American Fiction‘s Monk, Javi’s greatest asset is his ability to tell privileged liberals the feel-bad stories they yearn to hear. The events of his childhood, from the death of his drug dealer father at the hands of a disgruntled associate to his best friend’s arrest, secure his admittance to a prestigious college — a ripped-from-the-headlines plot development based on the real phenomenon of a college admissions process that heavily incentivises applicants to produce narratives of minoritised suffering.

On campus, Javi hones his skills. “I peeped game and realized I happened to be uniquely equipped to thrive in it,” he says. He embellishes, obfuscates, appropriates, and reaps the rewards — even as part of him marvels at the absolute grift of it all. But he didn’t create the game, or write the rules; he’s just playing to win.

If stories like this centre on the marginalised people who manage to medal in the oppression Olympics, they are also implicitly about the game makers: people like Paula, whose self-proclaimed interest in black voices applies only if those voices are singing the right songs, parroting the prescribed lines, playing the assigned role. Both Victim and American Fiction zero in on this dynamic, exploring the precise moment when a white person’s unspeakable thought becomes sayable — if expressed by someone of another identity. “I know you want me to write about being poor and stuff,” Javi tells his high school guidance counsellor, who hastily and nervously corrects him: “I didn’t say that.” When Monk trolls his publisher by insisting on changing the book’s title from My Pafology to FUCK, an obsequious marketing executive enthuses that the new title is very, um…

“Black?” Monk says, dryly.

“That’s it, yes, that’s it!” the other man giggles. “I’m happy you said it, and not me!”

But unlike Monk, who watches in horror as his practical joke takes on a highly remunerative life of its own, Javi is more than happy to master the art of wielding power through the pretence that he has none. “I felt like a dominatrix,” he observes, after he skewers a white editor — who has just offered him a coveted staff writer job on the diversity beat at a Brooklyn magazine — as a gentrifier. It’s a moment that reveals the astonishing cynicism of the entire enterprise: the suffering, the degradation, the stories, are all part of a sadomasochistic farce in which everyone, including the self-consciously woke white editor with all his grovelling assurances that he intends to do the work, is just playing a role. Like the purveyor of trauma porn, the dominatrix takes your money and puts on a show of making you lick her boots — but as long as she stays in character, what do you care who she is when the costume comes off?

“Javi is more than happy to master the art of wielding power through the pretence that he has none”

In the past 10 years, as American centres of culture have become increasingly politicised, publishing has become increasingly convinced of its own importance as a driver of political and social progress. In the meantime, some critics (including myself) have observed that the initiatives meant to elevate writers from marginalised backgrounds have a funny way, in practice, of pigeonholing them. Instead of simply opening their doors to good stories told by a diverse variety of authors, publishers built a rarefied ghetto and got busy filling it with token writers telling token tales of trauma, oppression, injustice.

The result is not just a homogenised literary landscape, but a reading public that increasingly cannot grok that “diverse” writers do not, in fact, all look or act or think alike. This has long been a point of frustration for black writers whose interests lie outside the narrow realm of “Black stories” (an early scene in American Fiction finds Monk ranting over the discovery that his books are shelved in the “African-American fiction” section of a store, shouting: “The blackest thing about this one is the ink!”) But it has also ironically fuelled the phenomenon of racial hoaxsters in places like academia, where minority scholars who eschew minstrelsy find themselves passed over in favour of pretenders who play to stereotype. In a world obsessed with identity as aesthetic, a white woman in feathers and beads inevitably reads as more “authentic” than a Native professor in a three-piece suit.

The success of writers such as Jefferson and Boryga lies in the way they step outside the paradigm that demands stories of black suffering, choosing instead to turn a mirror on the guilty white liberals who yearn to be One of the Good Ones. The whole thing puts me in mind of the court jester, privileged with permission to mock the nobles — but only by the grace of the nobles themselves. Publishing has painted itself into this corner, has made itself ridiculous, but nobody in charge can admit this; instead, they carefully appoint writers of the proper identity to point out the absurdity. I’m happy you said it and not me.

For this reason, much of the praise for these works makes me somewhat uneasy. It’s in the tone and terms alike, at once fawning and familiar: American Fiction, for instance, is “scathing“, “a searing indictment of biased norms“, and “perhaps the most vital film currently in theaters“. Victim is similarly congratulated for pulling no punches; a glowing blurb on the book’s cover describes it as “brave”. That these works deserve accolades is not in question — they’re both brilliant, irreverent, and funny as hell — but it’s hard not to notice that the critical apparatus talks about them using the same language it once bestowed on the same personalities, the same grift, which these satirists so gleefully and effectively eviscerate. How is it that even now, the highest compliment we can think to pay a minority writer is not to praise the beauty of his language, or the quality of his storytelling, but rather to congratulate him on making the right people — which is to say, white people — uncomfortable?

That a book like Victim even exists is no doubt a step in the right direction — and a welcome relief, too, after however many years in which anyone who dared to question the effectiveness of the DEI-industrial complex would be instantly smeared as a racist. It would be nice, though, to someday move past the mockery, into a world where gifted writers could simply write good books without identity ever entering into it. Lampooning the pieties of publishing’s self-styled white saviours is a good start; seeing them discarded entirely would be even better.

Perhaps we will. Given the length of time it takes for a manuscript or screenplay to become a cultural product, the most optimistic take on works like American Fiction and Victim is that they represent the seeds of a saner, slow-growing consciousness that is finally bearing fruit. Indeed, the extreme salience of these stories to our present moment is only possible because their creators had the audacity and prescience to anticipate this moment, and to speak to it, back when it was still professionally risky to do so.

And of course, our satirists are often harbingers of imminent cultural change: permission to laugh at the thing is, in many cases, the first step to dismantling it. Self Care, a satire of the wellness industry and the powerful women within, was released in 2020, just as girlbosses began toppling en masse from their millennial pink pedestals. The movie Saved! offered a send-up of American evangelical Christianity at precisely the same moment when it lost its cultural power. American Psycho, released in 1991, was a blood-spattered, cackling adieu to the archetypal Eighties yuppie.

And yet, for the moment, the future remains unclear. Not long after finishing the last page of Victim, I stumbled across a deal announcement for another book called THE OVERSEER CLASS: REPRESENTATION AS REPRESSION. Written by a black academic, the book argues that there exists a cabal of power-hungry Uncle Toms — people of gay, black, or otherwise minority backgrounds “who amass power by cracking the skulls of their own”. The announcement describes a “good” deal, which is publishing code for a six-figure advance. In other words: even as some people, like Boryga, are subverting the thing, others are clearly continuing to do the thing, or to pay other people good money to do it. And if woke literature is on its way out, at this moment, rumours of its death are still greatly exaggerated. “Representation as repression?” If Boryga’s fictional protagonist had been a real boy, he could not have done better.


Kat Rosenfield is an UnHerd columnist and co-host of the Feminine Chaos podcast. Her latest novel is You Must Remember This.

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Daniel P
Daniel P
4 months ago

I just ordered both Erasure and Victim.

I could use a good laugh and I love satire.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

I loved the film American Fiction and I’m interested in both books. Given my current plan-to-read stack–including an 1826 pocket edition of Hudibras–I hope you’ll get back to us and tell us how good they turned out to be.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
4 months ago

There’s a famous study from Yale that shows how white liberals talk down to black people, changing their tone and syntax.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2018/11/30/white-liberals-dumb-themselves-down-when-they-speak-black-people-new-study-contends/

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Interesting article. What do you think of its supplementary conclusion: that a key reason white conservatives don’t adjust their speech or tone downward is that they are “less motivated to affiliate with racial minorities” and “would not bother” to seek their approval?
I wonder if you’ve read the study itself (I have not).

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
4 months ago

Meanwhile at the Oscars, an ’emotional moment’ is provided as a winner who is black and female (and by far the largest person on stage), in an enormous powder-blue frock, thanks the audience while blubbing for……

‘seeing’ her.

alan jones
alan jones
4 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Wonderful irony. Thank you

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
4 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

What’s sad is that we’re not, though, really “seeing” her as an individual.
We’re seeing her as a symbol, or a token, or a representative.
We’re not seeing her at all.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago

I was sure the Native American actress nominated for best actress would win because she was “the first.” People were surprised that she was up for the top female performance, because she is on screen very little, and when she is, she’s sick in bed. Only so many ways to interpret that. Anyway, she would be the token win. To my surprise, she didn’t. That will teach me.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Let’s hope she’s not like Sacheen Littlefeather who turned out to be a Latino cosplay nobody.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
4 months ago

Ugh. Just so sick of race in general. Who the f*ck cares?

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
4 months ago

Best comment today … cheers.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
4 months ago

Racists like you seem to care very much indeed

Brian Matthews
Brian Matthews
4 months ago

No, THAT is the best comment today.
Racist!
lol

Ian_S
Ian_S
4 months ago

I certainly enjoyed the wit of Kat’s essay here, but I’m not sure about the whole woke DEI-industrial publishing complex being about to collapse on the heels of being ridiculed by it’s supposed beneficiaries. The reviews Kat mentions of the satires, e.g. when she writes: “American Fiction, for instance, is “scathing“, “a searing indictment of biased norms“”, suggests that this could just be the next ratcheting up of elite discursive codes for entry into the cool club. As in, first-wave wokeism is now passe, and that’s what is being satirised. Second-wave wokeism is now woke to gauche first-wave stereotyping; so now to be hip, as a progressive publisher or creative, you need to negotiate the *irony* of your wokeness. There’ll be no collapse, just a new cultural competency to ridicule yesterday’s cultural elite and establish the bona fides of the new elite.

T Bone
T Bone
4 months ago
Reply to  Ian_S

Correct. The Dialectical is always progressing to increase the institutional power of Administrators and cultural curators. Like all forms of Emancipatory Socialism; the flaw is never in the Idea but that the Idea wasn’t implemented correctly.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

Like fervently or dogmatically followed isms of every kind, from Originalism to Universalism, Romanticism to Utilitarianism.
Please excuse me for posting a poem I first wrote about 12 years ago and have recently revised:

Prismatic Chasms
Anarchism is just another ism.
Iconoclasm is a painted fetish doll.
Establishmentarians get help building prisons
From the ones who say: “We must destroy it all.”
The altruism that never stretches out its arm
To catch a fellow being who is falling:
Is fit for academic talks about goodness:
A shorthanded reach that is weak, appalling.                 
The root of radical is radix, meaning “root”.
Radicalism goes for the stem and then yanks;
The state of the bulb below ground becomes moot
And remains unexposed by advancing tanks.
Numberless bodies lie dead by the blade
Of theory—sharp-minded, starved at its heart;
No ism is ever sufficiently humane;
No formal aesthetic a living art.
Trading soft wishes for fundamental isms
Doesn’t take the human rat-race deeper,
Except into ruts, or slews of bad waters
Where lives are priced, on balance, even cheaper.
Let the gentle be joined in one mind with the strong
In something like “real-world idealism”;
But no lens sees across chasms for long—
Unless cleansed, with each new day arisen.

T Bone
T Bone
4 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

It’s funny you responded because I actually thought of you and qualified it as “Emancipatory” Socialism to be more specific.

I do think you have a point about “Socialism” being a broad concept that can’t always be pigeonholed (especially if you consider safety nets Socialism, which I dont…but I digress).

When I refer to Emancipatory Socialism, I’m specifically referring to widespread theories of Activism that are based on: 1) Gnostic cynicism that Free Society is actually a prison environment. Think Rousseau “Man is Free but everywhere he is in chains.” 2) The belief and relentless desire to Transform Humanity and Human Relations by changing social norms and the environment. 3) The belief in Manichean Power Dynamics of Good and Evil. The belief that those who succeed or are content in the existing Society are either Oppressors or enablers and need to be overthrown. 4) Restorative Justice- A reallocation of resources from Oppressors to the Oppressed, dismantling of existing systems and a new egalitarian order that operates not under a system of production and consumption but “caring and sharing.” 5) The Ends Justify the Means. These goals are to be pursued at all costs without regard for the contemporaneous consequences because “History” will be the judge.

I could go on but these are documented patterns that are being implemented throughout the world. So when I refer to Emancipatory Socialism, I’m attempting to be empirical not because I don’t have a bias, I do…but clear patterns of thought do exist. I know I’m not imagining that.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

You’re both able and willing to think of these things in more intricate and abstract ways than I am, I’d say. Would Utopian/Totalitarian Socialism be a near synonym for the brand of socialist encroachment on individual freedom that you’re talking about with Emancipatory Socialism?
I see your case most clearly in points 1,2, and 4, although “restorative measures” can be part of an extreme reactionary or revanchist movement from the Right–including seizing the assets of a certain vilified group and claiming them for the “real” or more deserving group. With numbers 3 and 5–simplistic division of whole groups into absolute Good and Evil, and a Machiavellian approach–I think that’s in no way confined to Socialism, or the Left.
Words can be used in blurry and slippery ways, just look at The Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea!

T Bone
T Bone
4 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Correct. Emancipatory ideologies are by definition “idealist” and therefore utopian. They aren’t practical.  I can acknowledge that many Utopian Socialist Theories originally seek noble outcomes even though they don’t work and create horrendous consequences.  Wouldn’t it be great if everyone had roughly the same amount of stuff and felt better about themselves because others weren’t getting too far ahead? Yeah, and to some degree, we can and should acknowledge the Socialist (and religious) intuition that power and greed often corrupts. 

But that doesn’t mean that a bureacratic system where partisan “experts” determine and reallocate social privilege and cultural capital can achieve that idealist vision of a “classless society.”  The “experts of society” or Gatekeepers are clearly a special class.The yearn for power and greed was in no way alleviated by Soviet socialism. The Nomenklatura had immense privilege compared to the others.  Soviet society was far from Classless. 

But I’ve often heard that was because Stalin was actually a “Right Wing Autocrat” operating a Left-Wing system and the Nomenklatura were like his nobility. And…btw there may be legitimacy to that depending on how you define Right/Left.  I’ve also heard the Right described as anything representing the Status Quo or prior to the Status quo.  So if Stalin was trying to turn the Soviet Union back to it’s Czarist roots than maybe he was on the Far Right, if that’s the barometer.

And if you look at the 20th century Far-Right tyrants you’ll see that many of them were actually quite Liberal if not Marxist before they shifted Right.  The Left/Right shift happens because bureacratic centralism created by the Left creates an opening for a worse type of tyranny if/when the Right or New Right chooses to govern with the Left’s big government tools.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

I don’t see a smooth line between the Liberal and the Marxist, nor the Conservative and F a s c i s t. As someone centered in liberal humanism (more than otherisms) I do not like it when Liberal is used as a near synonym for ultra-Progressive or Left-illiberal. I also have certain traditional leanings, and don’t like to see the Conservative or preservationist mixed up with the most reactionary gargoyles. Plus I have a radical and subversive streak–one that I don’t join to bloody or utopian designs–so I don’t like to see the name Radical monopolised by sociopaths and simpletons*. Just a few quibbles I wanted to get out my system–perhaps repeating myself from earlier threads. I’m not an American Exceptionalist but I do have a stubborn habit of always looking for exceptions, a kind of “qualification-ism”. Feeling better now.
I assume you’ve heard the idea that social and political thought are like a horseshoe: they bend toward one another at the extremes. Down with tyranny, Left or Right!
Did you once mention that you are currently a student, or did you mean that in the extended sense of lifelong learning? In any case, whether you are of traditional university age, a graduate, or more of an autodidact, I hope you will continue to seek with an open mind and not become too entrenched during your ongoing studies.
I’ve found myself bogged down at various times and places (left, right, and center) from my adolescence onward, but there is always more to know and consider, not least in attempting to understand, even what we dislike and disagree with. I think you are attempting to do this with Leftist thought, and I hope you will see value and good-faith there when it there to be seen.
Myself? I can’t read much intellectual certitude or polemical/ideological rigidity at one stretch. I’ve read some Marx and related far-Left stuff, and some A.H. and his “struggle” (for a research paper on Holocaust Denial) and far-Right stuff too. In either case: I was not inspired and found it hard going, with sort of a hollow or queasy feeling afterward. I tend to think Marx makes a less malevolent argument than the Other Guy, but he was still way too given to violent “solutions” and so are many of his real and costume followers, since 1848. It’s fair to note that not all his ideas are unique or original to him–but he really helped to light some nasty fires. Same with the German chancellor. Of course one lit fires with his pen, the other with huge rallies and an orchestrated campaign of mass murder. So maybe Stalin is a better figure of comparison.
There is also honesty and seeds of wisdom in admitting that there is much we don’t and almost surely will never know. I’m going to admit that now, and sign off at midnight Pacific Daylight Time.
I enjoy these discussion threads. Cheers.
*Lastly, but not least: I believe in Someone beyond ourselves, Whomsoever that is, and don’t like to see spiritual faith hijacked by extreme hedonists or dogmatists.

T Bone
T Bone
4 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I personally believe in God and that life is far from meaningless random chance.  I accept most micro-evolution theories.  I’m very skeptical of Macro-evolution theories.  I’m decades outside of my academic days. I just enjoy History and I’m trying to process why the world is structured the way it is.  Like I’ve said before, I’m trying to be intellectually honest and empirical to the best of my ability.  When doing that you have to make Hypotheses and adjust them if they don’t equate to observational reality.

In the process, you have to make pragmatic assumptions based on patterns of observation.  That’s why dialogue is so helpful, because it helps correct flawed or overly broad assumptions.  We live in a world where people are trying to “Be Right” instead of gaining knowledge.  That to me is the opposite of wisdom.

You’re correct about the use of the term Liberal above.  I was using Liberal to denote an “Open-mindness to other perspectives” because I didn’t have a good word to describe the Left/Right shift.  In reality, I don’t think the Left/Right Axis is all that useful except to classify groups by the issues they currently support. The Left/Right spectrum actually seems like a circular globe to me with the Far Left and Far Right meeting at the point where State power is promoted to impose an Orthodoxy.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

Aye, the “horseshoe” meets at the extremities! I was trying to think of a figure to describe that; I thought of a piece of pie or pizza, with a gentle curve at the base and steep sides that meet at the top. A globe, or sphere, expresses it more elegantly.
Thanks for the general info about where you are coming from. I admire your approach, and its evident sincerity. We might be of a similar age. I’m 52.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
4 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

I think the RW cliché of what is going on (identity politics) as “Socialism” is becoming a rather lazy cliché, especially amongst Americans, to whom any form of social democracy has often been thought of as an attack on “freedom”. No society can produce perfect “freedom”any more than it can pure equality. Ultimately libertarianism is yet another utopian idea. If the state gets out of the way; gangsters take over (obviously sometimes these can be aspects of the same powers, as in Russia today, but the state can be better or worse run.

I am no socialist – it fundamentally doesn’t work but we now have an increasingly unequal society in economic terms, a million miles from any concept of socialism proposed by socialist writers.

Martha Bayles
Martha Bayles
4 months ago

This has been going on a very long time, BTW. So long, in fact, that the author of this fine and cogent piece does not remember, or bother to mention, the name of the person who wrote “Erasure.” He is very much alive, and his name is Percival Everett. Talk about erasure!

Gregory Hickmore
Gregory Hickmore
4 months ago
Reply to  Martha Bayles

Thank you Martha for acknowledging Percival Everett. His body of work deserves far more attention than it gets because he is good. Period.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
4 months ago

Fetishizing black trauma will never be over. Because it’s too lucrative financially, politically, and socially. We’re 60 years removed from the civil rights era and there are blacks who insist nothing has changed, as if “colored only” still exists. It’s not just an insult to the minorities who lived through that era, it’s insulting to the rest of us who like to get on with life and not having every single event filtered through a racial lens.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago

As a Jewish person, I have recently discovered that many people in the UK (white and non white) are “totally not antisemitic, just very anti-Zionist”. To many of them it seems, Jews are absolutely fine as humans! But only as victims though, and preferably of genocide – not say, verbal abuse. Dare to defend yourself or even attack? You’re automatically turned into the worst nation in the world. The hate that comes our way for daring not to be victims! Of course, mentioning that *far* more muslims have been killed even this year alone by other Muslims is Islamophobic, so I guess we’ll all go back to being victims then…

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

By this logic: How many Muslims can I kill before my mention of the greater number who are killed by other Muslims becomes hollow and beside the point?
Of course Israel has a right to defend itself, and even to avenge itself against the horrific outrages committed by Hamas and their active supporters. But that is not a license for unlimited, unceasing vengeance. Nor cause for a blank check, in USD, to carry out a program of severe, insufficiently discerning retribution.
*Perhaps you will find much to agree with Michelle Goldberg about, as I did:
https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/11/opinion/antisemitism-vs-anti-zionism.html

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
4 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

But the “meta” point here is why is almost no mention whatever made of those far greater killings, by you and many, many others.

It is, let us say, at the least a little suspicious, that anti Israel protests garner tens if thousands of supporters, while protests against mass killings of Kurds, Armenians, Rohingas, even Uyghurs a handful, mostly expat members of those nations. I recall the Assad regime has levelled entire cities killing tens of thousands of its own (Muslim) population with nary a peep out of most western leftists or progressives..

Obadiah B Long
Obadiah B Long
4 months ago

I would claim that, yes, writers resemble other writers more than anything else, but this proves nothing about the general population of people.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  Obadiah B Long

I appreciate, though I’m unable to emulate, your brevity.
–Isaiah B. Short

Michael Layman
Michael Layman
4 months ago

Sorry about this somewhat off-topic diversion, but my mind could not help but go here to throw gas on the fire. Aoplogies to those offended by a twist on black trauma. What if a white male student applied to Harvard with the following introduction? Would he be welcomed in the interest of diversity?
“I am a white boy from the South. I live in a poor county where the majority are black. At school, I am ridiculed for my “whiteness” and I am often bullied. Black students threaten and beat me if I do not do their homework assignments for them. My teachers have little interest in me and focus on empowering the black students. I am called a racist and told that whites are the root of evil in this country. I tried sports, but the blacks are better athletes and I was cut from every team. My father is an alcoholic and my mother deals drugs to support our family. For some reason, I was born with above average intelligence. It is not hard for me to get good grades at my high school, but fortunately I do not have to take a college admission test to get into an Ivy League school. I have heard that Harvard is the best school for oppressed students like myself. I want to rise above my poverty and prove that poor white lives matter. I want to prove that I am equal or better than the black students at my school, and I am sure Harvard will support me.”