Brownfemipower has a post about the football program of University of Delaware, my alma mater, and its persistent refusal to play HBCU Delaware State, where my mother went for a year while working towards her BSN. I graduated with Jeff Pearlman, but I had no idea who he was. I didn’t pay attention to the football program, either. I attended one game, an away game against Navy, but only because I wanted to go to Annapolis with some friends.
When I was in school, I was shamefully ignorant about race and racism — my own, my family’s, my friends’, and institutional racism. If I even knew that UD refused to play Del State (even though I was in school the year Pearlman’s letter was published in the Review), I doubt I would have grasped the implications. I wasn’t aware when I was at UD that the minority enrollment was six percent; the predominance of whiteness seemed perfectly normal to me, which is no surprise given that I grew up in a town that is 98% white.
Anyway, I don’t know where I’m going with this, exactly, except that in as much as I think about UD at all, I feel sorely disappointed at how little progress they’ve made. Like I’ve said before, Delaware in general tends to wallow in its white privilege. During my most recent visit to my parents, I decided that my strategy for coping with my racist family was to call them out on their racism. When they would make sweeping generalizations about Black people or Latino/as, or use racist words, or tell racist jokes, I tried just saying, “That’s racist.” And wow! You would think I had accused them of being murderers for all the denials and offense that they took, because my family, like so many others from the area, have never really had to examine their own racism. And that’s really sad.
I’m reading through the coverage of the Del State shootings, and might make a post about that soon.