I am just starting my career as a cancer biologist, but I have always been a Black man in America. This means that I have always inhabited a world that generally disregarded my existence in some form or another. It is June 17th, 2020 and protests have been happening for weeks since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The current state of America may be uneasy for some, but for many Americans, the looming threat of exclusion and violence has been an unwelcome companion since birth. This letter is not about a single person, but the Black academic’s experience of race inside and outside of the academy during a time of social upheaval. I have trained in a variety of institutions, big and small, and all the while acutely aware of the impact of my Blackness on my science. The intent of the following is to provoke the reader to reflect on how we as a nation can move toward radically positive change and not incremental adjustments to the status quo. The views expressed are my own and are the result of years of personal experience observing the anti-Black standard in America.
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