“I’m Through!”


This might seem like a very strange blog for me to write since I devote much of my professional life to teaching, researching, and writing about race and racism in education. But, with the exception of my scholarly pursuits, I am through talking to White people about race and racism. My absolute “through-ness” (I know, a made up word) came to a head when my university covered up blatant racism (a man in a Trump costume had a noose around a man in an Obama mask at a recent football game and the university president called it “free speech.”) Below is a litany of what I am through with:

  • I am through trying to assuage White tears whenever the topics of race and racism arises;
  • I am through acting like I don’t notice when I’m the only Black person in a room of White people with authority and power;
  • I am through pretending like I don’t notice that college football fields and basketball courts are filled with Black players earning enormous sums of money for universities that have stadiums and arenas filled with White fans;
  • I am through trying to explain why Donald Trump is racist…indeed, I am through not reminding people that the entire presidential election has race as a subtext;
  • I am through giving White entertainers and celebrities a pass when they do racist foolishness on line, on social media, etc. and then “walk it back” with, “I didn’t mean to offend anyone!”
  • I am through with trying to explain when something is racist…(e.g. police shooting, lead water poisoning, the justice system, schools, housing, voter suppression);
  • I am through going HARD for other people’s issues and then finding myself standing alone when the issue is racism;
  • I am through with people using “implicit bias” to paper over their racism;
  • I am through with explaining why Confederate flags, nooses, references to fried chicken, watermelon, and “Black on Black” (what about “White on White”) crime are racist;
  • I am through explaining the need for affirmative action (when you break stuff, you are obligated to fix it);
  • I am through trying to get people to understand why slavery is still relevant to Black people’s ongoing plight;
  • I am through pretending appropriation of Black culture is flattery (don’t braid your hair or try to enhance your butt and stop putting kale in everything);
  • I am through worrying about if something I say will “hurt your feelings,” “make you feel uncomfortable,” or “make things ‘worse’;”
  • I am through thinking it’s okay for White people to move into and take over Harlem, Detroit, or West Philly;
  • I am through explaining the need for HBCUs;
  • I am through explaining why I attend a BLACK church;
  • I am through explaining why I am in a BLACK sorority;
  • I am through with the unbridled hatred of Serena Williams, Cam Newton, and President Obama;
  • I am through with your children being so ignorant that every time they see a Black person they rudely stare (I will be staring back);
  • I am through listening to you start sentences with, “Well, you know I’m not racist, but…” (Yes, you are);
  • I am through with White mediocrity being called excellence while Black excellence is ignored;
  • I am through with people trying to pit the plight of Black people against that of others implying Black folks should still wait;
  • I am through indulging comments like, “everything is not about race,” when most times it is;
  • I am through explaining my style—hair, dress, swagger;
  • I am through being your teacher when I am not paid to do so;
  • I am through supporting “liberal” causes that don’t make race central to their work;
  • I’m through trying to get folks to understand that “Black Lives Matter!”

Yes, I’m just through! So you may wonder what am I going to talk to White folks about. Well, we can talk about Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones (although I don’t actually watch that), Portlandia (which I’ve only seen 3 times), and why every fall you turn EVERYTHING into something “pumpkin” (lattes, muffins, and bread).

Stay Black & Smart!

21 thoughts on ““I’m Through!”

  1. There truly is no ceiling effect when it comes to Dr. GLB’s excellence, the way she eloquently gives voice to our collective pain/anger and “through-ness”. I, too, am through. And yes, the disappointing response to the racist and hateful debacle at last wkend’s game was the final straw for me. This essay is simply awesome. It should be required reading for people who say they want to understand and they really want to be part of the solution. Although it’s difficult to choose among all these gems, here are my favorites:
    –being through with “implicit bias” to paper over their racism
    –being through with White mediocrity being called excellence while Black excellence is ignored;
    –being through trying to get others to understand that Black Lives Matter
    Yeah, I’m through with a lot of things. But I will never ever grow tired of reading this wonderful insightful blog. Thank you for speaking truth to power.


    • …because it All Lives Matter then mentioning, supporting, and advocating for the Black ones shouldn’t be offensive, controversial, or evocative of even more racism that proves that Black Lives don’t matter.


    • Thank you for your powerful response to those (Whites) who think they know and understand everything there is about us, when in reality, it has ALWAYS been their curiousty and their deep rooted insecurties of us who we are ( African Americans). I don’t want to go on, or to add anything that you have written, for your words spoke enough for us ALL (African Americans).
      Thank you for opening my eyes to be THROUGH TOO


  2. Dr. Ladson-Billings-


    1. I’m through explaining why my son and my daughter wear their out naturally and proudly, that her hair is NOT “wild”, “out of control”, and “a distraction”, and the “keep your hand, feet, and other objects to yourself” rule applies to my children’s hair as a part of their personal body space and “others” should not be touching, pulling, and examining their hair without their permission.

    2. I’m through explaining to mostly white, female receptionists at schools, businesses, and medical/healthcare offices that Black fathers are present and active in our children’s lives and activities and are knowledgeable about our children’s health and well-being.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I was through 30 years ago (a little older than you) and answered questions with questions. I realized that they were not my questions so I didn’t need to have the answers. Now if you ask me questions that confuse you but not me, it is my duty to keep you confused until YOU figure it out. I have a more peaceful life.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, indeed! Lately I’ve been thinking about my grandmother and my mother, those times when they would just come out of nowhere with, “I am through with these white folks!” I was just a little girl, but now. . . . yes, we all members of the #twtwf club. And DIane’s reply has me thinking about required reading, I agree and a companion piece could be Peggy McIntosh’s Unpacking White Privilege Knapsack. Thanks for this, GLB. It’s right on time.


  5. Amazing words! Thank you. You should be through. None of that crap is worth putting up with.

    I’m through with hatred, ignorance, racism, injustice and inequality (mostly from white people) too. I love black folks and honor that their contributions are most of what make us Americans and American culture (even at this very strange time) admired across the world. For better or worse. #BlackLivesMatter, do matter, must matter.

    You have no responsibility to teach us, but we will learn through your example and your words.

    Just another old white boy.


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