Editor’s note: Our series “Life Cycles of Inequity” explores the ways in which inequity impacts the lives of black men. Each month, we focus on a life stage or event in which that impact has been shown to be particularly profound. Previously, we focused on implicit bias in the classroom.
The first thing you notice about Dorian Moody is how easily he laughs. He punctuates conversation on just about any topic with a shy smile and a disarming chuckle. It comes out as a self-mocking accent when he describes his initial boredom with high school. “My mother was like, you can’t fail,” he says with a smirk. “Alright, so I’m gonna give you Ds!” It takes the edge off of his raw pride when he describes his later academic revival, which began after his whole family sat him down and warned he’d be “a nobody” if he kept screwing around. And it softens his chiding response when I comment on the peaceful, spring vibe of his Irvington, N.J., neighborhood, on the western edge of Newark. “Well, go up to that corner and see what the Bloods think of that.”