Matt Hazlett/Getty Images
Matt Hazlett/Getty Images

1. Because math — not English, not social studies, not horticulture, not even science — is the Blackest subject. At least it is according to JR Writer. And Fabulous. And Cassidy. And every other rapper who's devoted several bars to bragging about dropping out of school but always being good at math. Because being good at math means you're good at counting money and vials of crack, apparently.

But seriously, math is the Blackest because it has no Oxford comma controversy. None of us were taught that two plus two equals four all through school, only to become adults and learn "Well, actually. Two plus two can be six sometimes now. But it can also still be four if you want it to be. It really depends on your interpretation. You can believe either. It doesn't really matter."


Math isn't here for your post-racial bullshit. And neither is Blackness.

2. Because Blackness is Jamal Wallace in Finding Forrester proving Professor Crawford wrong and causing him to make a face (at the 0:48 mark) like a cat just farted in his mouth. It's walking into Neiman Marcus, having a salesperson ask if you need any help in the most obviously "You and I both know you don't belong here. Why don't you try Rainbow?"-ingest way, and you matter-of-factly saying "No thanks. Was just brought on as the company's new COO. And just wanted to tour our stores this week to see which things are no longer useful and need to go." (And you saying it like you're in an early-90s comedy, playing a character a Wayans brother would totally play.)

Basically, it's both defying and thumbing your nose at who you're expected to be and what you're expected to be capable of. And not really thinking much about it cause that's just who you are and what you do.

And I think a 6'5', 320 pound Black professional athlete publishing papers with titles like "A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians" — a name that could probably also double as the name of the worst Star Wars prequel ever — qualifies.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a columnist for, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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