Skip navigation

Tag Archives: vassar

So I have a confession to make.

I’m a C+ student.

Sorta. I’ve been making a lot of A’s and B’s for the past year, but it is hard as shit to raise a GPA.

See Mama always told me that college would kick my butt. I breezed through K-12 without having to try. Then I got into Vassar; “a highly selective, residential, coeducational liberal arts college” according to the website.  Well I spent my freshmen year  still not trying: partying, hooking up with white women that exoticized me, and all around enjoying being 18 years old. And I still part, hook up with the occasional exoticizing woman, and enjoying being a young adult.

See, not to toot my own horn, but I like to think I’m pretty smart. And its not like I haven’t learned anything– in fact I’ve learned a shit ton ( a very relative unit of measurement to be sure). I take the hardest, most interesting classes I can, and so my GPA barely budges, but I’ve come to terms with that.

My sub-par (or is a C average, grade inflation makes it difficult to decipher) grade average reflects my laziness, my love of partying till 5am during the week, and my inability to do things that I’m not interested in.

But… I continually feel like I should try harder. I like to think of this as the POC burden. I’m one of I believe 6 or 7 Black American men students at Vassar in my year. That is out of over 600 members of the class of 2010, only 1% are of my demographic. I can see the White eyes from my peers, faculty, and administrators that I am a representative of a huge diverse group of people. So suddenly I feel like I should give up my passions that don’t involve course work, so that I don’t reflect poorly on every Black American male in the world. Of course many don’t expect me to do well, but that is a given.

But I’m not really one to conduct myself based on what Whiteness thinks. I am after all myself, laziness and all. Besides I just need to get my GPA up enough to get into grad school.

So the semester ended for me here at Vassar, and as all the seniors moved out of their on-campus apartments they threw out a lot food. So my friends and I did the reasonable thing for a bunch of broke students who are working on campus during the summer– we grabbed our backpacks and hit the dumpsters.

This isn’t the first time I’ve dumpstered food, I lived off of it last summer. And I run into a lot of freegans on my dives, especially when in big cities. But the one thing I never run into are freegans of color besides myself, and occasionally a close friend of  mine. So my question is– where are these freegans of color?

Freeganism is a largely white middle-class movement (that seems to forget that poor folks have been eating garbage forever). And when I’m dumpster-diving I seem to have a few more issues to deal with, as a Black male, than my white comrades. They aren’t nearly as afraid of the police (or security), or threats of calling the police (or security), nor do they get harassed by law enforcement while diving to the degree that I do. I got harassed by security several times while diving on my own campus, until my white friends pop their heads out of the dumpsters. I’m also extremely embarassed for people to see me diving, because I can tell that I’m not just me, I’m also a representation of Black people in general.

So other than that I was wondering if any freegans of color can shed light on experiences.