Black at Milton – Originally published 2/18/71
by The Milton Measure on Friday, September 16th, 2011
Author’s note: this is an elaboration of what I said during a meeting with Dr. Krachauer. I have heard second- and third- handedly that a few faculty members were puzzled if not dismayed by what I said at the time.
As a black person, I believe that going away to private school has been and will be one of the big mistakes of my life. I can only speak from personal beliefs, which may or may not hold for every black person. It was not my choice to come here; my parents made the decision. I don’t blame them for it because they don’t know what it is to go through a place like this. Looking back, I feel that some of the best years of my life have been wasted. I have accomplished very little in bettering myself and in some cases I feel that I have regressed in building my character, and that my morals have deteriorated to nothing.
I have been socially cut off from black society. I have no social contacts at home because I have different interests from people there. I have no social contacts in the school community because I have been severely limited in my ability to reach out from the school.
The school community is really oppressive to the black. Our entertainment is almost non-existent compared to the “average” white students who can party at the white day student’s house or the close boarders’ house. He is not accepted by the white community, nor does he desire to be. And he is set off from the black community because of his lack of contact with that community. Out of necessity, for the black student to survive here he must assimilate to some degree.
I’m glad we have enough blacks to warrant a black house where we can gather. With our limited monetary resources and the lack of sufficient numbers of black women on campus, the black male is hard pressed to find suitable social outlets. I am “lucky” to a certain extent in that I can channel my energies into sports and somewhat into dramatics. Without these I would literally go out of my mind.
There is a serious lack of sufficient counseling for blacks. When whites have a problem there are many “good men” they can turn to for advice. Where can the black turn? At present there is only one black to handle the counseling for every black—male or female. If a certain situation develops, one which you wouldn’t feel comfortable discussing with this person because he doesn’t seem the right person, it’s tough luck. You’re up shit’s creeks, and the white man has the paddle. When you’re going through growing pains, it is critical to have someone you can talk to, to share the pain with; and one black counselor cannot relate to everyone.
I definitely don’t feel that the academic advantages are worth the mental hell a black has to go through. I have become disillusioned and bitter. There is no interest for the blacks in the books because a place that is socially oppressive to a person becomes academically oppressive also. Therefore, I’m not taking advantage of the opportunity to get all the knowledge this place can offer, and I couldn’t care less. And if you don’t hit the books, what else are you here for?
I am disillusioned because I had always looked forward to coming back here to play sports or just get away from home until I opened my eyes and saw how this place was eating the life out of me. When I talked to other blacks outside of school, I told them what a wonderful opportunity going to private school was if you can make the adjustment. I now feel that the adjustment is not worth making. I could have gotten into a decent college by going to a public high school and I could have gotten one hell of a college education anywhere I went if I wanted to and I wouldn’t be as messed up as I am now. I feel guilty for having told all the people I did tell what a golden opportunity this was. Now that I can’t honestly feel that way it is as if I betrayed them along with myself.
Well, for me three years are up, and I have done absolutely nothing. I am more confused than when I started. But I will take at least one thing away with me: that white people don’t change their attitudes towards blacks overnight. The miscellaneous quotes in a past issue of the bi-weekly showed that the black conferences went almost for naught.
Don’t get the impression that all blacks here feel the same way. The other brothers and sisters may or may not feel this way. Don’t waste their time and yours by questioning them about what I say. We are all different—believe it or not!
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