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LEVEL
Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

Essay

In LEVEL. More on Medium.

There’s nothing quite like the mental calculus around a chance meeting with strangers

Our little Bean. Photos: Shane Paul Neil

When we got our Dalmatian puppy, Bean, I learned one quick and hard lesson: To own a dog is to reconcile with the prospect of forced socializing.


I’m glad you’re trying to figure it out, but where the hell have you been all this time?

Photos: Shane Paul Neil

Four days later, the results were final. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were in. Donald Trump and Mike Pence were out.


Language can be a battleground — and I choose to wage war on the confines of convention

Credit: Maskot/Getty Images

Let me state, emphatically, that I do not hate White people. Quite to the contrary, I love White people. I just hate what some have done and continue to do to Black words, thoughts, appeals, and feelings. Let me also state, with the same enthusiasm, that the United States has never liked me. With the constant erasure of Black culture, White America still makes it inherently clear that the color, gloss, and hue of my skin unsettle the puppeteers of the nation’s power structures.


There’s more to this than skin color. If you don’t know my journey, you can’t know my words.

I am afraid of White people touching my shit. Explicitly, I am fearful of those who lack a comprehensive understanding of Black culture and language adding commentary to my work. It’s like someone going to an NBA game and asking me, “So, when does Tiger Woods come out?” I have seen what White people do to Black shit — to the work of Dave Chappelle, Paul Robeson, and Etta James.

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