Heart and Other Obligations
To me, the suffering and injustice in the world demand action. From the tragic mass shootings in El Paso, Dayton and Chicago this past weekend, to the affordable housing crisis that forces Chinatown residents out of their homes every day, there are so many people hurting across the world. No one deserves to be a victim of gun violence, and I adamantly believe that many other harms are arbitrary and unjust as well — after all, numerous factors completely out of a person’s control like one’s race affect one’s life opportunities. When there’s so much wrong with the world, something needs to be done.
I want to talk about what it’s like to walk into class an hour late because I’ve been crying on the phone with my parents. I want to tell them that for me, college includes the shame of asking for extensions since I’ve been staying up till sunrise obsessing over my mistakes. But I catch myself. It’s easier, for them and for me, to not make a scene.
This past spring, anonymous posts on the Harvard Confessions Facebook page sharply criticized several Asian affinity organizations at Harvard over their perceived exclusivity. In April, these online arguments prompted a wide range of students to come together for a discussion on the role of Asian affinity organizations on campus. Today, the task of building an Asian American community seems especially urgent as the Harvard student body continues to change: For the Class of 2023, slightly more than one in four students are Asian American, a record high at Harvard.
As a non-athlete, I know I’m biased. I’ll never know what it’s like to spend a lifetime training in one sport, to learn and grow through playing it, and to work as hard as I can to keep playing it in college – even as a full-time student – because I love the sport so much. Instead, I know what it’s like to be a non-athlete at a university that invests millions into its sports programs, and I feel that, in the context of numerous other meaningful student activities and organizations, Harvard overvalues athletics through disproportionately high funding and athletic recruitment.