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The Strawberry Letter: On Campus Clowning

Subject: On campus clowning

Dear Steve and Shirley, I’m a single mother of an honor student that got a full-ride scholarship to a predominantly white college in the northeast. We’re southerners and he was raised with southern manners. He moved into the dorms and found out he had a black roommate and he was excited. His roommate is a northeasterner and he is a bit rough around the edges. Within 2 months, my son had used my credit card to buy new clothes and he no longer said ‘yes ma’am’ when we talked. He said that was ‘slave talk’ and he wasn’t with that. After 4 months on campus, I got a call from the hall director at his dorm because he and his roommate had been smoking weed. He said it was his first time trying it and he said he couldn’t promise me that he wouldn’t do it again. He also told me that he’d met a female and she was ‘mixed.’ I told him to send me a picture and he sent a selfie and she looked all white to me. He’s gotten in trouble for this girl being in his room after curfew and all I can do is tell him to be careful. I didn’t prepare my son for this but his street-smart roommate is more than happy to pick up the slack for me. He’s usually in the background on his phone talking loudly and using profanity while I’m trying to talk to my son. Even though I felt my son didn’t deserve it yet, his father decided he could have his car on campus. Two days after he got it, he and the girl were caught having sex in the car. I let his father handle that and all I did was pray for him. He is on campus clowning and I don’t know what to do. This is not the young man I raised. His father has told me it will all be fine, as long as our son’s grades don’t drop. Is this normal or should I pop up often to see what he’s up to?