As Princeton students, we are often reminded that due to our privileged positions, we are also the perfect candidates – that’s right: presidential candidates, senatorial candidates, and even big consulting firm candidates. Our leadership potential is assumed upon entry, and perhaps this is why we sacrifice everything from our youth to normal sleeping habits. As someone engaged with the tides of activism in its many forms – from social media activism to grassroots organizing I have come across a large range of people interested in changing the world. A great number of those I run across are college students or graduates.
However, because the average American still cannot afford to attend college without incurring massive student debt, folks who attend four year colleges often get categorized as part of the “elite”. Marxian scholars would even characterize such figures as part of the “petit bourgeoisie”. This is despite the fact that there are many students at schools like Princeton who come from low income backgrounds, receive full financial aid, and work multiple jobs. Unsurprisingly, this is especially true for students of color and more specifically, black students. The dynamics of race and class are more evident from within Princeton, yet from an outsider’s perspective, by enrolling at Princeton one is alienated from the proverbial masses.
This essay was written three years ago on Martin Luther King Day in Oxford, UK.
Today is Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday: January 15th, 2015.
I woke up at noon and scrambled to make myself presentable enough to eat in the dining hall. I lingered in front of the mirror, contemplating what to do with my hair. I hadn’t braided it last night, resulting in increased volume and loose, wild curls. My grandma, a Southern woman born and bred, would’ve called it “bushy.”
A video of reflections on #OccupyNassau as it stood unresolved last night. Coverage to come in the wake of a tremendous victory – demands were met, hopes were realized, and Princeton students may be ushering in a new era.
I am always enraged by the terror that Black people—and Black women who are viewed as angry and combative—fall victim to by police. The news of Sandra Bland’s arrest and then death is no exception. Almost as disheartening as the news of Sandra Bland’s death has been the response on social media. There is an overwhelming amount of arguments stating that it would be absurd for her to have committed suicide. Continue reading
As Black History month progresses, and we take a moment to honor and celebrate our tremendous history and the great strides we have made in the last fifty or so years, I cannot help but think about the ways in which our story has been one of both triumph and disappointment.
It has been more than two months since the news came out that Darren Wilson, the White officer who gunned down eighteen-year-old Michael Brown on August 9, 2014, would not be indicted for Brown’s death. Continue reading
At every protest I’ve participated in or been to—whether it’s been in Ferguson, which is only twenty minutes away from my home in St. Louis, or on Princeton’s campus—the signs held up by most protestors have boasted the names of slain Black men. At those same protests in which activists, young and old, highlight the deaths of Black men, I always notice one lone and audacious woman holding up a sign with the names of murdered Black girls and women penned on it.
There exists a global indifference to black suffering. While we proclaim that all lives matter, our society tends to discuss black lives in a reductive manner. Time and time again, we are reminded that black bodies were conditioned at birth for suffering. Continue reading