Feminism S&F Online Scholar and Feminist Online, published by the Barnard Center for Research on Women
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Volume 3, Number 2, Winter 2005 Monica L. Miller, Guest Editor
Jumpin' at the Sun: Reassessing the
Life and Work of Zora Neale Hurston
About this Issue
About the Contributors

Issue 3.2 Homepage

Esinam Bediako
·No Place Like . . . : On Living in a Small Brown Place Self, Space, and Universe(city)
Alexis Gumbs
·White Girl Oh White Girl
Leah King

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Testimonials (page 1 of 3)


Esinam Bediako

I am a student at Columbia University.
But let's FACE IT.
I DON'T DESERVE to be here.
I am BLACK and I am FEMALE and IT'S BEEN SAID that I'm getting a FREE ride.
But what am I? I am:

Walking down the streets of Morningside Heights behind a woman who's constantly looking over her shoulder at me as she clutches her purse and her cell phone in fear, then realizing this woman used to be my PROFESSOR.

EARNING an academic prize and having the secretaries in the Dean's office eyeball me when I go to pick up invitations for the awards ceremony . . . "Are you sure you won a prize? Did you get an e-mail from our office?" . . . they check my name on the list once . . . they check it twice . . . and then they make sure to let me know that there's no campus housing for any guests I might want to bring to the ceremony . . . "Can you AFFORD to invite guests?"

Expected to BE THE VOICE OF THE COMMUNITY during the SOULS OF BLACK FOLK discussion in CC . . . and being made to feel as though the Core is GENEROUS in its inclusion of just ONE DIVERSE VOICE among the important words of the WHITE MEN OF THE CANON.

Walking into Lerner Hall, my so-called student center where I should feel I have a SPACE OF MY OWN as a student here and hearing people shout that Columbia should CHECK THE GRADE POINT AVERAGES to prove that I and others don't belong here (check them and you'll see that we do).

Yeah, this IS all FREE. I'm not paying for this experience, this having to JUSTIFY my existence. I'm not paying for the bitter knowledge that I MUST LEARN the classics before I graduate but that another student can graduate from this institution that praises its own DIVERSITY without learning much about the ACCOMPLISHMENTS of minorities who were NOT SO MINOR in building this nation and the WORLD. I'm not paying to be ignored, to be assumed ignorant, to be condescended to by "SYMBOLIC" bake sales, to have to beg to be heard, to compromise my personhood, to be told that this school doesn't have to change because I SHOULD'VE KNOWN WHAT I WAS GETTING INTO.

I am black, I am female, and I am told I don't deserve to be here. But I'm here, and I earned it, and I am still earning it every day.
But what else am I? oversensitive? overreacting? complaining too much? asking for too much?
I am a student at Columbia University, and I am seeking a community of UNDERSTANDING.

Tools 3.2 Online Resources Recommended Reading S&F Online in the Classroom
S&F Online - Issue 3.2, Jumpin' at the Sun: Reassessing the Life and Work of Zora Neale Hurston
Monica L. Miller, Guest Editor - ©2005.