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.”
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
While I was scrolling through Tumblr, I came across this blog post accusing African Americans of being hypocritical when complaining about their image in the media as they’re the ones who perpetuate it. Continue reading
In our education system, students are not given an appropriate education in history. When they learn American history, much of the semester or year is spent learning about wars, presidents, and economic failure. They get a few days at the beginning of the course learning about the different Native American cultures and history, and about a week (or less) focusing on the Civil Rights Movement. Then the curriculum goes right back to “American” History. Continue reading
In recognition of Black History month, The Stripes has decided to now publish another Round Table discussion we recently hosted, one which sought to address the differences and divides between the community of recently immigrated African-Americans and the community of blacks who are historically (for multiple generations) American. For the discussion, we invited a range of participants, including those from each of the aforementioned communities, and also those who were removed from both of those communities (for example, the president of Princeton’s African Student group, who happens to be a white female).
When I was a child, I wanted to be a writer.
My reasons were not heroic. I did not initially see writing as a way for me to think about my role as an African immigrant in America. As a child, I did not fully understand how the lack of black heroes and heroines in the books I read affected my writing and my self-worth. For me, writing served was just a fun outlet.