I don’t have a lot of school pride. I know I probably should, but I don’t. I’m aware of how much this school has given me. There are things that I’ve done here and opportunities that I’ve been granted that I would have never dreamed of having as a kid. And yet, the feeling just isn’t there.
For me, the word that probably best describes what it’s like to be black here is “exhausting.” It’s a weird feeling. You spend all this energy trying to navigate this space as a person of color, and just when you think things might be getting better, something happens that says the exact opposite.
A Spectator article comes out taking a stand against diversity. Hateful and racist comments get thrown at you and your friends on the street. Racist, sexist, group chats are exposed to the public. Micro-aggressions and insensitive comments come at you on a weekly basis. And when you tell people about your experience, some don’t fully believe you or tell you that you’re exaggerating. Let me say it again, it’s exhausting.
On top of academic stress, these are the constant daily traumas that come from residing in a space that wasn’t really made for you, and in some ways, rejects your entire existence. It’s hard to fit in here without sacrificing some part of yourself. Coming here, I knew the statistics, but those never tell the whole story. There’s another narrative here that can’t be relayed through percentages.
Sometime during my sophomore year, I chose to push back. I chose to do everything I could to try to make this campus a better, more inclusive place for students from all kinds of backgrounds. The fight is hard, but it’s necessary. Luckily, I’m not in it alone.