The Afro: A determinant of my “Africanness”

“I like it when you look African.”

I ask, “What exactly is African?”. He waves his hand around his head and fluffs up his hair, indications of an Afro.

“I like it better when you have an Afro and not straight long hair.”

He doesn’t notice my eyes are narrowed.

“So the Afro is an indication of my blackness, of my “Africanness?”

“Err, not really,” he stammers. He sees the trap. “I just like the Afro better.”


He stammers some more. He checks his watch and tells me he is running late for a meeting.

The next day in class, I sit next to him. Every ten minutes during the lecture, I take time off to stare intensely at him. I also make stabbing motions at the table with my pen. For no reason at all. Just because.