It’s that time of year again. You start the semester optimistically. After all, you only had to sell non-vital organs to pay for textbooks, move, and sell your soul to gain access to this to the entry-level capitalist machine we know as ‘Higher Education’™*
*no jobs guaranteed!
All the logistics of payment for suffering are in order, but are you really prepared to dive back in?
If you’re feeling unease not caused by the aggressively neutral not-a-smile-but-not-a-frown mouths your classmates flash you when they make eye contact, then continue reading.
Have some ~school colors~ in your closet, better yet, ~~official~~gear.
Sure, it’s expensive AF and made from sweatshop labor, but SCHOOL SPIRIT is a must-have camouflage against the territorial non-POC–especially on the (not-soccer) football game days, as well as other sportsball events.
Donning “correct” gear—hats, lettered clothing, hell, even those sexy, striped dungarees—is like saying,“I’m with the Mascot,” the head honcho, the Boss of Bosses, the Don Capo Famiglia.
Know your mascot. Most likely HE is an anthropomorphic omnivore, part-time gang/cult leader of your institution. Wear his likeness on a visible part of your clothing and traipse carefree past tail-gating parties and drunk majority-race classmates– they’ll pass over you like the plagues did for God’s chosen people in ancient Egypt.
Bring a bottle of pepper spray.
On second thought, bring two. Many of these ((hush)) ‘White’ people are deathly allergic to Spicy. For an even quicker, more disposable getaway, carry a Carolina reaper pepper on you. When the time of use comes, simply break it open in the midst of a menacing stranger. They’re are afraid of anything that isn’t a sweet bell pepper—it works like a charm.
Alternate substitute repellants can include, but are not limited to: good rap music, a basic understanding of actual US history, on hand & ready clap-backs, direct sunlight, and anything they can’t pronounce.
Create a catchy jingle to help people learn your name.
This can be melodic or rhythmic, whatever is your style. This will entice the Whiteys and bring them onto your side.
It will not only help your peers remember your name, but also (MAYBE?)how to pronounce it correctly.* Remind them once or twice of your jingle during the first week.
After the first week, it’s instant-death penalty. If all White People can memorize the (not-soccer) football and other sportsball chants, they can learn a few fucking syllables to identify you.
If they fail to make the effort of mindlessly being recipient to your uniquely created, Super Bowl commercial-worthy earworm, just make a point to call them by generic, incorrect White People names. Bonus points if the beginning letter isn’t the same.
*Just kidding. They may never pronounce it correctly. Just remember that your name is like, really exotic, and there is one other POC in the class to also keep track of.
Being the Token Friend can be a lucrative $ide hu$tle.
Just as the University likes to Photoshop showcase its diversity on every web page, article, and pamphlet, so do Whiteys.
Having a diverse group of friends on your social media is like shouting to the world that you’re a well-rounded person. White People don’t get the benefits of a Token Friend if they don’t have proof.
You’re in a group photo? Charge ‘em for that shit. Did they make that picture their cover photo? Awesome, charge ‘em double.
They regularly mention your existence to others (“I have an X friend,” or “My X friend says…”)? Make a jar – 25¢, 50¢ per mention. Bam! Instant laundry money. They want you to meet someone else in their life (to prove your existence)? $3 per cameo.
Who needs a part-time job?
By not being White, you’re automatically rare and unique. From there, it’s just simple economics, supply and demand.
Do seek out other POC.
Need to commiserate over shared experiences?
Laugh together at the ridiculousness that is the White Supremacist Patriarchy. When someone said something really Racist™ in class, make eye contact across the room with the only other POC in your discussion.
Can’t subsist on burgers, brats, rabbit salads and “brunch” alone? If you ask your people for help, they will provide; they know where the real food is at.
We may be small in number, but we’re here.
Just remember, you’re not alone.
Lauren Jia Gonitzke in love with stories in all their forms and mediums. As a critical and avid consumer of media, Jia is passionate about people who take and interpret, subvert, invert, and transform the original material. She’s a senior majoring in English Creative Writing with certificates in Chinese and Asian American Studies. Jia is a college student, storyteller, global thinker, and Chinese adoptee.