You Get A Side Eye, You Get A Side Eye, You Get A Side Eye!

The side eye, a tool so powerful our mothers have been using it since the beginning of time. I for one have been sleeping on its power, but simply being at Duke was all I needed to be awakened to what a solid side eye can do.

In the classroom, in my dorm, on the C1, in Marketplace, in the library, there is never a time nor a place when side eye isn’t necessary. And yes, maybe I’m overusing it a bit, but I’ll have you know that in most situations it’s warranted.

“So are you Muslim?”

No, I just happen to be wearing a hijab (headscarf) for no particular reason. Side eye.

“Can I cuss in Jarvis or are cuss words a substance?”

Yes, Jarvis is a substance-free dorm, but please explain to me when we decided to categorized cuss words as substances? Side eye.

“This song has no swear words, and I won’t be using the N-word,” says a white Duke Parent as he walks on the stage to take part in karaoke night. Excuse me sir, but when did you ever think it was okay to use the N-word?! The N-word isn’t another little old “swear word.” STRONG side-eye.

Maybe it’s adjusting to a new environment, but ever since making the move from Denver to Durham for college, I’ve found myself using a side eye a lot more. That’s not to say that Denver had any less side eye needing situations but there I felt a lot more comfortable. Comfortable enough to speak up and express my thoughts rather than replacing them with a side eye. Here at Duke, I’m searching for a place to call my own in a space shared by 10,000+ other people. And in all honesty, the adjustment has been difficult.

All my life, I’ve been the sassy, bossy, opinionated, assertive, or whatever you want to call it, person, who has never been afraid to express her feelings. But being that person didn’t always translate well for a number of reasons. One, I’m a woman and while we admire assertiveness in men’s character in women it’s a lot less appreciated. Two, I’m black: being expressive has led to situations where I’ve been told to be “a little less ratchet.” I’ve personified the loud, angry Black woman numerous times, and I can assure you it wasn’t well received by all audience members.

Wait, am I choosing to suppress my personality just to please others and in doing so come off as less “black”? Well, I guess I deserve the greatest side eye of all times.The journey to find my place here at Duke must start with choosing to be unapologetically me, regardless of how others will perceive me. I’m not sure who I’m trying to impress with this suppressed personality because it certainly isn’t me, Doha, in my truest form. If you can’t deal with loud, angry Black Doha then, I’m sorry but there’s nothing else for me to offer you so I’m sure you’ll find your way out of my life. Oh and as you leave just know that’s not a side-eye I’m giving you, it’s just me looking through my peripheral vision to make sure you’re gone because today I traded in a side eye for words. Well…maybe we’ll add one last side eye just for kicks, how about that.