I spent most of my first year of grad school sitting in the back row of class with my hood up. There were nearly 40 of us in the cohort. Two were black.
My hoodie was an act of silent dissent. Today, I completely understand when my students want to do the same, even with me in front of the room. Academia and public schools are spaces where people of color often feel underrepresented, unwelcome and unheard.
From third grade through high school, I was a student in a series of neighborhood public schools. Afterward, I went to community college and then on to a public liberal arts college where I earned my bachelor's and eventually my master's degree. Each phase in my educational journey shared two characteristics: the further I progressed, the fewer black and brown classmates I had. As I progressed, regardless of the demographics of the student population, the faculty and administrators were uniformly nearly all white.