A look inside the world of black Slavic studies scholars

Imani Crawford grew up in Maryland in the 1980s, during what was still very much the Cold War. And yet something about America’s supposed enemy intrigued her. At one point, after watching a segment on the news, she asked the elders around her what a communist was.

“The answer I got was people who thought everything should be equal and shared,” says Crawford, the founder of Black Bread, a discussion group for black Slavic scholars. “And I thought that wasn’t so bad.”

Crawford became captivated by the Russian language. It was like a secret code of numbers and peculiar letters that consumed her mind. She soon discovered that one of her neighbors, spoke Greek, French, German and Russian. Crawford, then eleven, began spending time with the woman, eventually picking up some Russian. She told me that at the time she always carried two things in her hand and had one thing in her head: a book on the Russian language, another book on German language, and a desire to learn Russian. …

“I don’t know, if you’re like really big and go to the gym a lot you are a body building, I think,” said a Penn State senior majoring in nutritional science. “A lot of big guys here at Penn State body build I am guessing, that’s how they get so big,” she continued.

When asked to describe a female bodybuilder, she paused. She fiddled with her pen for a little and had trouble getting her idea across. …

We are…” wait what?

The chants I heard excessively during my first day at Penn State. Walking down the street, in my dorm, in the dining area, “we are” became the soundtrack to my freshman year. I did not know who we are, I don’t even know who I am.

Coming to Penn State I was oblivious of the school’s legacy, reputation and social construct. …


Aisha Powell

#ColumbiaJ-School alum. #PennState alum. Fitness Blogger for BodiedbyScorp

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