I grew up black in a very white neighborhood in a very white city in a very white state.

As such, I am a lot of people's only black friend.

Being the only black friend is a gift and a curse. I am black and I love having friends. But I am also, at any given moment, expected to be a translator, an ambassador, a history teacher, and/or a walking, talking invitation into "I am not racist" territory. It's a lot to handle. See what I mean about that curse?

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Whether private, public, or charter, everyone is familiar with the idea of the "strict" school.

Even if you didn't attend one yourself, you probably had a friend or two who complained of the inflexible rules, rigid uniform codes, and discipline for even the slightest infraction.

There's a word for schools like that.

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A couple years ago, I had a conversation with some of my guy friends that I’ll never forget.

We were talking about whether there’s such a thing as "a good rape joke" (answer: no), and I mentioned that women tend to have “rape anxiety” in public. They didn't understand the concept, so I explained:

Sometimes, if we’re walking down a dark alley alone, we worry that we might get raped. That anxiety can even happen in more low-risk situations, like if we’re walking to work in broad daylight or even when someone rolls down the window of their car to shout something about our bodies.

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