The gravity of the situation is about 32 feet per second squared. The gravity of the situation is also hundreds of years of privilege, and a solitary representation of oppression in an otherwise black classroom in the overwhelmingly white Yale Divinity School.

So, I walk to my afternoon class that I’m shopping (we don’t preregister), and expect a crowd. One of the larger halls of the div school, should be a big lecture.

Six students, one professor. One whitey.

As follows, my meditations and worries so far. I’m incredibly interested in the subject matter, and learning more about Afro-American religious history, and the way social movements have formed around various modes of religious thought. But I’m also keenly aware of the way in which whiteness, and myself as a bearer therof, is interruptive of what is otherwise a safe space.

In my nation, my culture, my church, and this academy…the straightness is deafening. To even hear myself think, I need safe spaces.

On the otherhand, to withdraw sends two unfortunate messages. A lack of interest, school wide, in this type of class…as it would take the number in the class down to five. The other is a possible expression of white priviledge in the offer. It suggests the dispensability of the material, as well as placing the responsbility for the decision out of my hands.

Especially considering that my other possibilities are bothy extremely well attended classes, strongly within the “cannon” of the school, I tend to think it’s my obligation and opporunity to stay in a very interesting conversation about race in American religious life.

Advice?

-sly

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