Terrence. . .
You’ve seen this lovely young fellow before. He works in your office. If you’re in grad school or law school, like myself, you’ve seen him when you briefly visit the undergraduate main campus. His name is Terrence. Let’s take some time to get to know this unfortunate soul.
Terrence was lucky enough to be brought into this world as the only son of black parents who rose from humble beginnings. His mother, Felicia, grew up in the South. She hustled her way to the top and went to college and then grad school. His dad, Malcolm, was from inner city Detroit and escaped the oppressive poverty to also earn a degree and then went off to law school. Because of his successful parents, Terrence here was brought up in the suburbs. . .with white people. Alas, this was the fatal flaw. You see, unlike his parents, Terrence has never felt struggle. He didn’t have to eat mayonaise sandwiches and never saw an eviction notice on the apartment door.
Thanks to his pedigree, Terrence here was lucky enough to go to a great school. He got into all his top 5 choices. None of which, incidentally, were Historically Black Colleges or Universities. Though his parents went to HBCUs, Terrence never considered one. He couldn’t ever imagine being around only black people. ALL DAY. FOR FOUR YEARS. That would just be too much. He and his high school sweetheart Becca just knew they were going to an Ivy. Besides, those black schools are all in the South. They don’t have much funding and they are not that well-respected in Corporate America.
Thus we find young Terrence enjoying his life at a majority institution. He doesn’t hang out in the “multicultural center.” He’s not a part of the black student union. He doesn’t understand why they all sit together and go to the same parties. Why they try to “dap” him up when they meet him. “Haven’t they ever heard of a handshake?” Terrence couldn’t tell you the latest Wayne mixtape and he has never seen an episode of “The Boondocks” He prefers Chromeo to Drake and thinks Obama’s fiscal policy is Socialist in the truest sense of the word.
The next time you see Terrence across the yard, and your black soul reaches out to him as he is walking with his group of white friends on the way to the ultimate frisbee field, stop for a moment. Save your breath.