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“White folks crazy.”  That’s the way my elders put it. The sentiment has been echoed since Europeans brought us to a land they had no business inhabiting. The sentiment was the same in the life work of Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, whose contributions to the field of psychology are demeaned because of her truth. The sentiment was also the same in the life work of James Baldwin, who spent millions of words asking White people why they ever needed a “nigger” in the first place. The sentiment also happens to be the most fitting reaction to the recent poisoning of a Black University of Hartford student by her White roommate, but the “meaningful dialogue” that the university’s president has promised won’t be enough to heal that kind of crazy.

RELATED: White Student Accused Of Systematically Poisoning Black Roommate

Briana Brochu, the accused student, fits the profile of a Trump supporter. She is a young White girl who was incensed because many of the assumed benefits of whiteness have been withheld from her: money, beauty, and intelligence. Just look at her worldview. She called her victim, Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe, a Black Barbie, but she is the one with bleached blond hair and pancake makeup that she used to contour an unfortunate nose, according to Heavy. Her systematic torture of her roommate seems rooted in deep-seated insecurity and projections of those feelings onto her most convenient target.

The Barbie projection only scratches the surface of Brochu’s insecurities. Brochu likely felt she was outclassed at University of Hartford. She told interviewers that she was disappointed going into her senior year of high school because she was headed to community college. In a surprising turn, she won an art scholarship to the University of Hartford for a project she admitted was riddled with mistakes.

In fact, she called herself “the Queen of mistakes” and “a walking accident” and admitted that she starts art projects without a plan, without intention. Just inspiration. Is this not the mythology constructed around whiteness? That it is the unplanned, unintentional art of excellence?

In fact, she called herself “the Queen of mistakes” and “a walking accident” and admitted that she starts art projects without a plan, without intention. Just inspiration. Is this not the mythology constructed around whiteness? That it is the unplanned, unintentional art of excellence? That America is just one huge dorm room for brilliant White people with no tortured Black or Indigenous roommates to speak of. Aren’t we trying to evict or imprison the very people who try to shatter American exceptionalism?

Torture was another one of Brochu’s unplanned but inspired art projects and it was thoroughly White American. Willful isolation is the other American culprit in this crime. Brochu could have been jealous that her roommate found (what must have seemed like) instant community when she walked onto campus. It could have seemed unfair that her roommate found a table mate in every cafeteria. Brochu hadn’t read Beverly Tatum (or many books at all) and didn’t know that she and her hateful terror campaign were the reasons all the Black kids sat together in the cafeteria. It is like she designed her own isolation, which is as American as apple pie.

It must have seemed like a gift rather than a burden that her roommate’s success was tied to a community. Brochu ascribed to a self-centered model of success, telling her high school that she was going to college to “make something of [herself].” How miserable and lonely a wish. What’s absent is the critique of “something.” It is as if she has accepted the Western binary that makes her “nothing” until she arrives at the unspoken qualification for American citizenship— owning land, owning people (whether CEO or warden), making people move when their existence reminds you that you don’t belong.

The myth of “something” must be harder to let go of when you believe it is owed to you because of the color of your skin. Some white folks never find the freedom on the other side of “something”–the realization that their beloved country doesn’t treat the majority of its citizens fairly.

The myth of “something” must be harder to let go of when you believe it is owed to you because of the color of your skin. Some white folks never find the freedom on the other side of “something”–the realization that their beloved country doesn’t treat the majority of its citizens fairly.

Such a realization emboldens one with a will to fight injustice everywhere. Lack of clarity about this fact is the foundation of White folks’ crazy. It’s a White problem that can only be fixed when discontented White folks educate themselves about their country. Too often, that task falls to the Black intellectual, many of whom are called to a lifetime of educating White folks when they are the victims of racism on college campuses.

As all university presidents do, Woodford has promised “meaningful dialogue” about this act of torture. The dialogue need not be between Black students and White students, with Black students begging White students to see their humanity and promise not to poison their food. The conversation needs to be between the White elite and the White class minority.

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