After Dartmouth

by Alfred Valrie Jr. | 5/22/01 5:00am

Before I begin this editorial, I must take a break and go to class. My thoughts, in a compressed, stream-of-consciousness sort-of style: My neighbors can see and hear everything I do and they laugh at me (I don't care), butch it up, lock the door, did I brush my teeth? (no, the campus will simply have to pay the penalty), the sun is shining in full force, slow down on these stairs, you're going to hit your head one day, throw open the door, yes world, I'm black, it's 80 degrees, I'm wearing corduroy slacks, people are staring at me, butch it up, Student Loans is pestering me again (something about an "Exit Interview" -- are they offering me a job?), I have to re-file my major card, what is he looking at? (yeah, I'm black, what's your problem?), butch it up, she stopped speaking to me (must be about my despising the Greek system), wow, in procuring educational loans, I'm now over $20,000 in debt, my hair smells even though I just washed it (black hair is sometimes so agonizingly difficult to maintain), I'm late for class, why are there so many people on the Green, what is it to them -- a beach or something?, butch it up, ha, a student driver (I'll retard my movements so as to slow them down -- crush their monumental sense of Land Roving entitlement), onto the sidewalk and then the dirt and gravel of the Green, it's amazing that they've transformed the game of frisbee into a sport: look at them, sweat-drenched, panting, content, look at me, out of shape, skinny, butch it up, people are staring at me, there's another black person (nod hello), two more black people (sometimes they travel together -- for protection), people can smell my hair, they're wrinkling their noses in dissatisfaction (Dartmouth students have such keen olfactory senses, there's no fooling them), lots of naked legs (my twigs, my walking stilts, are covered in protective corduroy cloth), eeeewwww! she doesn't shave her legs or armpits (I recognized her long ago as a social misfit), butch it up, people are walking around me, either my hair smells or I'm not walking fast enough (it's nearly time for class), the Dartmouth bells are ringing that '80s song that everyone knows except me (can it be my socioeconomic/racial background?), I should know that song, I should be wearing shorts, my hair shouldn't smell, I'm representing the whole African American race here, oh, why can't I just go back to Detroit where I don't have to worry about race, it's not them, it's you, you stigmatize yourself and then blame it on the white people, that's not true, oh yes it is, you think about race, you imagine the white people moving silently away from you in the street and in class and in Food Court, that's not true, they really do that, no they don't you imagine it all, no, I want to improve Dartmouth for students of color so that they'll feel like they belong, no that's not true, you want the notoriety and celebrity of being an op-ed columnist, well maybe that's true, keep walking across the Green, butch it up, nod to the black person (why must I say hello to all the black people?), I'm going to make this car stop for me, it better, ha, another student (slowed her down), oh here we go, butch it up, three big white young men (they also travel together -- for protection), I'll have to move onto the grass to accommodate their massive bulk, why must I be afraid of them?, Dartmouth Hall, up the hill, I hate Hanover, mountains, DOC trip, couscous, mountains, inclines, hills, walking up hills, tiring, level out hill, or I will pound you down, finally Dartmouth Hall, into the building, cool, butch it up still, my hair smells, I don't care, let's learn.

As far as my future ("After Dartmouth," you see), I can't really think that far ahead.

A final word:

This is my final editorial as a staff columnist. My one hope in writing these columns has been that somehow my words would proceed from me and, fully understood, gain new life in the mind of the reader. That has not always been the case, I know, and I sincerely regret the clumsiness of my diction. This "clumsiness," however, at no time weakened my fervent commitment to better understanding -- full empathy -- among all peoples. What I mean to say is that this world is imperfect. And through my editorials, I sought to make it perfect. Illusory dream, yes, but my most satisfying.

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