This post starts with an issue that might, at first, seem a bit irrelevant. Nonetheless, I am making a point. Here it is: I HATE COFFEE. I am a tea drinker which means that I often travel with my own kettle: I have one that stays in my suitcase for travel; another for my home; and another for my office. I have tea bags and tea leaves everywhere. I drink my tea strong and with almond milk, a regrettable concession since I had to give up my true preference, a habit I acquired from Jamaican students and friends: take a big ole dollop of sweetened condensed milk and stir it up. (That’s some good ish.) The tea kettle in my office today has travelled with me across four institutions and has the bruises to show it. It sits on a shelf in my office with other tea accessories; behind it is a collage created by one of my high school students from 1997, a young man who at every stage of his high school career gave me some kind of painting to thank me for helping him become the man he is today (I cried with each gift he gave me). To make this short story long: I am serious about my tea.
I needed to take this narrative detour to set the context for just how confused I was when a white male professor at my institution accused me of stealing his teapot last year, less than 3 months that I had been on the job. Continue reading