Just Being: Black Bodies in Chapel Hill (Orange County, NC)

Twelve years ago I made the very conscious decision to move from Maryland back to the “southern part of heaven” Chapel Hill. Although the job offer from my alma mater, the prestigious research institution University of North Carolina (UNC), was compelling, the overall lifestyle of the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill) area including the food, liberal bent, location, and slower pace made the sale pretty easy. I thought I knew this attractive small town having been a graduate student in the mid-1980s. And on the surface, all my fantasies about living in a diverse, creative, and hospitable community have come to pass. However, over this time period I have intentionally kept my eyes and ears open to stay grounded and cognizant of those trap doors (more so than the glass ceilings) that confirm the very rich research findings that speak to the challenging environments that most Black people experience when living and working in historically white institutions and cities. My connection to Tar Heel athletics excellence and fandom can’t even mask the racist practices that exist in our wonderful county.

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Being Black in White Spaces invites stress
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“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” B. Franklin
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“A turtle makes progress when it sticks its neck out” — Anon

Professor. Advocate. Connector. “Inspiring Thought & Action.” www.dstroman.com

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