Ever since coming to Harvard, I’ve struggled with being my authentic self on a daily basis. During my time with CAMHS, I grappled a lot with the relationship between Harvard’s culture of exhaustion and the ever-present imposter syndrome, a localized manifestation of a problem existent at most elite educational institutions — that students might perform peace or even happiness in everyday life, but often experience a constant internal, silent struggle.
When I read stories like these from Martha Biondi’s “Black Revolution on Campus,” I want to believe that Harvard has outgrown the idea that belonging here requires that we look a certain way or come from a certain background.
Objective journalism assumes that all parties in a conversation, or all groups concerned with a single event, have an equal claim to freedom of expression. It therefore assumes that there’s nothing else at stake when covering events of political and social consequence than a difference of opinion.
Almost a year later, the court has ruled in favor of Harvard’s affirmative action policies. This victory, however short-lived it might be, should be celebrated. Without an attention to race, admissions policies would neglect the social and cultural contexts that have underwritten the experiences of many students of color. While the era of slavery or the struggle for civil rights may appear to be relics of the past, their narratives and truths continue to determine everything from our subconscious biases to the distribution of wealth.
When I returned to campus as a first-year, Crema became a hallmark of my first few semesters. Sure, the café didn’t have Wi-Fi, and the second floor was usually crowded, but I loved the atmosphere, it was a local business, and I’d cultivated an emotional attachment to the place that was hard to shake. Among other things, Crema had a vibrant “community board” situated to the right of its entrance; it captured the various events that were being held in the Cambridge community and always made me feel like a part of something larger than Harvard. So when Crema closed seemingly because of rent practices perpetrated by their new property owner, Asana Partners, I was reasonably devastated.