#TellUsTigers: “I don’t have anywhere I consider ‘home.’ I’m Ghanaian & have li…

#TellUsTigers: “I don’t have anywhere I consider ‘home.’ I’m Ghanaian & have lived in 8 of the 10 regions of Ghana. My family moved so often because of my dad’s work as a Presbyterian pastor. The 4.5 years I’ve spent at Princeton as a doctoral student is the longest I’ve ever lived in one place. As an immigrant, I’ve noticed that Ghana often gets conflated with all of West Africa. After traveling to Trinidad in 2015, I was stopped by TSA during the height of the Ebola epidemic. The immigration officer saw my passport was from Ghana and grilled me on Ebola for 1.5 hours. I kept assuring them I hadn’t been in Ghana for 3 years and reminded them that the US had more reported cases of Ebola than Ghana’s zero cases. Eventually, someone started talking to me about her niece who had graduated from Princeton and that seemed to be enough of a connection to let me back into the country. I tell people there are two main privileges to having a dark Black skin — not talking Will Smith or Beyoncé, more like Seal’s dark Black skin: (1) Protection against sunburn; (2) Everything pops and dazzles more. Like my bright-colored eyeglasses. I receive more compliments than I ever expected; they’ve become my signature look apparently. Not exaggerating when I say three people a month ask me where I got them (online because they were on sale)! My best childhood memory is watching football with my dad on Sunday afternoons. This was our bonding ritual — and the only time my mom would allow me to watch TV uninterrupted for 3 hours. My worst childhood memory is the first 2 years of high school. I attended an all-boys high school in South Africa, a former whites-only school during apartheid. In 2001, it was still an adjustment to have Black and White students learning in the same space and many of my teachers had never taught a Black student before 1994. There was also a lot of animosity from Black South Africans towards Blacks from other African countries. As a result, I was bullied a lot from both sides, probably a combination of racism & xenophobia.” — Kobby Aboagye, graduate student (probability & optimization); awarded 2015 Excellence in Teaching Award as a TA; photo by Cindy Liu ’18

2017-03-20 06:05:01

Princeton University

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