America's Slumbering Attitude Toward Discrimination Needs Wakeup After Black Yale Student, Sleeping In Common Area, Is Questioned. Day 22 of 365

Upon reading the headline, "Black Yale student fell asleep in common area and white student called police", I knew I had to write immediately.

Seriously.

What.
The.
Hell?

I recall numerous times when, as a student at the University of Illinois in the 1980s, I did the exact same thing Yale graduate student Lolade Siyonbola did. I fell asleep in a common area.

Throughout my 4 year college experience, I snoozed in countless common areas across the campus: university building lobbies; the Union; library study carrels; dormitory lobbies and common rooms... 

It was COLLEGE.

You're studying. You're tired. You fall asleep, and sometimes, it's in public.

As a white woman, no one questioned me when this happened.

Ever.

Not once.

I specifically recall the afternoon I fell asleep while studying for finals in the atrium of the English Building. I was on a curved, comfy couch, one that beckoned me to curl up and rest my eyes ... just for a minute ... and before I knew it, a security guard was tapping my shoulder, telling me it was nighttime -- and time to leave.

Atrium, English Building, University of Illinois

Atrium, English Building, University of Illinois Photo: cws.illinois.edu

Waking up in a fog, my eyes scanned the sky through the atrium glass and found complete darkness. I felt so confused and embarrassed -- especially when I realized I'd been drooling.

That's the thing I remember most: The shame that I'd been sleeping so soundly I drooled.

To my relief, there'd been no one else around, and as I quickly shuffled papers into my bag, I kept looking at that little spot of drool I'd left on that couch.

I quickly left for my dorm without a single admonishment and with little more than a ding to my pride.

Ms. Siyonbola, on the other hand, woke from her own impromptu snooze to something entirely different. She woke to a nightmare I do not pretend to know.

What I do know is, it's time we wake up to what discrimination, micro aggression and racial bias looks like.

We can do so much better than this.

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Christine Wolf, Writer is on Facebook. You can also follow her writing on Twitter.

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    Christine Wolf

    I tend to cover life's ups and downs. I don't shy away from the tougher, more emotional stories. While I'm always willing to voice an opinion, it sometimes contradicts my innate desire to please everyone at all times. Such is this crazy life, I suppose. Ultimately, I search for meaning in the human experience, and openly share how I (try to) keep my head above water. Thanks so much for dropping by. I really appreciate hearing your thoughts.

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