In honor of Black History Month, here is a collection of previously publishedStripes articles related to the black diaspora for your enjoyment. As always, feel free to engage with past pieces in the comments section, or even in day-to-day conversations out there in the real world.

Sass Mouth: The Bastardization of a Black Woman – Morgan Jerkins

But now I wonder whether my sex, my height, and most importantly, my blackness have caused others to place a box over me within which I myself cannot find the boundaries. 

Cultural Appropriation: Culturally Appropriate in America? – Kovey Coles

The underlying point of contention is this: Miley sure as hell isn’t bringing the twerking craze to African-Americans. Everyone who (unlike Miley and ABC news) knew of twerk-style dancing for years are now feeling hipster-like resentment – we knew of the move long before it was cool enough to become a suggested exercise for middle-age suburban white women.

No One Knows What It Means, But It’s Provocative – Zeena Mubarak

Or maybe I’ve somehow earned the right to say nigga. Maybe I paid for it in the hours spent straightening my hair, the childhood spent fending off awkward glances when we studied slavery and the civil war. Maybe I paid for it during the last couple of weeks in high school when people learned I would be attending Princeton, and the words “affirmative action” started getting tossed around (I turned “really black” really quickly). 

Being Feared, Not Loved – Kovey Coles

During elevator rides, when the person beside me very obviously clutches his or her belongings, I want to ask if they actually believe I could successfully steal something in a 4 x 4 foot space. Walking home after dark, when I can practically hear the anxious heartbeat of the person in front of me more loudly than their own accelerating footsteps, I want to apologize, pull out my student I.D. and assure them that I actually live on this campus. 

Let Me Not Explain – Martina Fouquet

“Why do all the black people on campus know each other?”

This in an unnerving question, because I feel that not everyone is equally subject to this interrogation. I wonder what the person is really asking, and why he or she seems so interested in my friend group and their racial background.

From Ivy to Inmate: Connecting the Dots Between Race and Class – Aisha Oxley

From the start, the inmates’ awareness of my blackness, my sameness, was too tangible to ignore. There were comments (about my hair) and stares (too pointed, too long) that put me slightly on edge.

Three Point Two Percent – Achille Tenkiang

So after dinner one night, I sat down with a couple friends and counted the number of black male undergraduates at Princeton (yes, I actually did this).  The results were shocking. We counted a total of 169 students: 48 freshman, 42 sophomores, 44 juniors, and 35 seniors.  169 out of a 5,222 student body, a measly 3.2%.

You’re Just Imagining It – Morgan Jerkins

As I let my mother vent, I meekly asked, “But do you really think it was racism?” Her eyes widened and she leaned in towards me asking, “Wait. You don’t?”

Fair And Lovely – Zeena Mubarak

Skin whitening is not okay, though, even if it’s explicable. Every small bottle of hateful bleach purchased is a spit in the face of our ancestors. 

Black Hair Politics: Dante De Blasio, Barack Obama and the Connotations of a ‘Fro – Aisha Oxley

In America, the public display of black person’s natural hair has always caused uneasiness. For many non-black people (particularly whites), natural black hair is a frightening, politically-charged declaration of “otherness.” But does it have to be that way?

Owning Your Stereotype – Martina Fouquet

Talk right. Dress well. Say something intelligent. Repeat. This was the recipe I was given to ensure that stereotypes would never apply to me.

Pop and Prejudice: Not All Fans Are Created Equal – Cynthia Andrianjatovo

…the most disconcerting aspect of the K-pop fandom was their defense of blackface. Unfortunately, since Korea doesn’t have the same history of blackface as the West does, some Korean celebrities have dressed in blackface for comedic purposes without any regard for its inappropriateness in a global context.