When expanding this conversation of Black womanhood and our survival, we cannot stop the discussion of Black trans womanhood and femmehood at death. Black trans women and femmes have materialized and imagined worlds and futures that rupture and create space for all people’s survival. Learning and centering Black trans women and femmes in the reimagining of Black womanhood is vital to liberating Black women and our femininity from oppressive structures, and allows us to define womanhood for ourselves.
Harvard has a yellow brick road. If you want to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems, Harvard can help you do that. You need only follow the path (of course with a lot of personal effort).
If non-conservative faculty have attained academic truth, the value of a liberal arts education and the goal of “discovering and disseminating ideas” become defunct. Our hallowed veritas becomes a meaningless slogan. Is it any surprise that 41 percent of Harvard’s surveyed faculty feel that the University’s standing within higher education has fallen over the last decade?
For this column, I’ve spoken to Nobel prize winners, bestselling authors, and bioethicists. The idea of emphasizing the scientific process has come up in almost every interview so far. Science will be paramount in future decision-making, especially as issues of the scientific future like climate change and artificial general intelligence will become increasingly tied up with humanity’s future
Though every applicant is more than just a collection of letters and numbers — that thousands of high school students like myself spend endless hours obsessing over — it can be perhaps more unsettling to know some of the most intimate aspects of our identities are being judged by other human beings that may not like what they see.
Ultimately, Harvard’s current strategy may come back to donors wanting their money to feel safe and closely looked after when they write a check to the University. Just like they might make the mistake of placing their individual assets in the psychologically safe hands of an active manager, they want the University to do the same. But it is Harvard’s responsibility to do what’s financially savvy above all else. And higher returns will surely speak loudest in the end.
As difficult as it is to define what self-acceptance is, or what it looks like, we can’t ignore it. Unless we totally reject who we are, we must possess it to some extent. I know it sounds paradoxical, but I don’t believe self-acceptance necessitates complacency — such comfort with your flaws and weaknesses that you resist change. Otherwise, self-acceptance would involve never ironing-out those sixth-grade temper issues. And would involve me guiltlessly dedicating all of my time to Ubering a mustached plumber around a race track.
But because he’s only human, Bloomberg can also be a self-interested agent, one vulnerable to flaws, excessive ambition, and stamp-your-name-on-everything narcissism. He is a perfect example of the dangers of overly concentrated power, of how massive wealth can excessively enable the whims of a single individual.
While we can't change the past, it is our responsibility to strive towards a future where institutional outcomes match modern-day values of inclusivity, equality, and justice. We can work towards this future by listening to Indigenous students and faculty and engage in empathetic discussion about how we can collectively reflect and move forward.
Despite Black and Asian American women’s connectedness, there has been very little conversation between the two groups at Harvard and beyond, even when we are both facing brutality, violence, and can assist one another during these times. By redirecting discourse to these women’s crisscrossing rivers, our words and authentic mutual support can begin to flow.
Essentially, Harvard protects its students while they are on campus yet has nothing to say when the companies that they invite to campus and introduce to students later abuse those students as graduates and deeply harm society. Harvard needs a new body associated with OCS that compiles information about the social impact and workplace environment of every company that hires more than one student per year and that shares this dossier with students before they go into campus interviews.
Students should be held accountable for what they say. However, the problem is that Harvard has created a culture where acceptable conduct is an ever-moving target and there is little forgiveness when you miss the mark. If we truly want students who will have “enormous power” to be responsible leaders, they should feel comfortable expressing their opinions in an academic setting so that they may be corrected and refined when appropriate. Harvard’s culture of fear makes it so that students remain silent when they could be engaging in enormously meaningful conversations: conversations that could correct ignorances and future missteps.
Problematically, peer review assumes a veil of objectivity and expertise when it is an incredibly subjective process. Reviewers inevitably have overt or unconscious biases towards the institution, methods, or even individual researchers of the publication they’re reviewing. Additionally, because reviewers must have a certain level of authority in the subject, their work is often in direct competition with what’s presented in these potential publications. In some specialized fields, only a handful of researchers — and by extension, reviewers — are available, most of whom are familiar with each others’ work.
The omnipresent culture of competition that permeates nearly every aspect of life today has undoubtedly shaped the mental world that young people move through. Yet perfectionism is so potent because perfection, on a societal level, is meant to feel attainable. If only we could improve our grades, get into our dream college, or look the way influencers look on Instagram, we could be a little bit closer to perfect. But we must introduce an expression of reality into the cold calculus of perfectionism because “perfect” is not a concept that exists in real life, nor is it ever meant to be attainable.
Sitting in the middle of a vibrant metropolitan area teeming with history, culture, and attractions, Harvard students would benefit immensely from being better connected to their environs. Harvard itself needs to start showing its nearly 400-year-old hometown a bit more appreciation, whether that’s paying its fair share of taxes or not producing rapid gentrification in Allston. The University can start by giving students the ability to develop a love for the Boston area and a desire to stay here and make it better, rather than seeing the city through a purely transactional lens.
Under no circumstances should staff and students go the whole semester without any breaks. But because it may be more beneficial for your mental health to use these days productively rather than to abstain from working, this consequence of wellness days is exactly that. Looking ahead to the fall semester, I encourage the FAS to reconsider what wellness means and what’s the best way of engendering it. If they take a similar approach, it should be their priority to create a culture around break days that is supportive and conducive to abstaining from work.
So Harvard put together a glamorous trip to Saudi Arabia, one that was characterized by soft propagandistic efforts and the reflexive self-imposed boundaries on the participants' speech. That much is as obvious as it is predictable; a logical continuation of our University’s outreach to a number of less than democratic countries. The more relevant question is whether such ventures are ever a net good.
If ten chefs follow the same recipe but get nine different dishes, perhaps that reveals more about the complexity and unpredictability of science. Better understanding this inherent complexity and seeing science’s limitations, then, even if uncomfortable, is a worthwhile investigation.
It is so easy to stereotype those you disagree with and simplify complexities while studying issues as dire as climate change from an arms-length, especially in communities as politically homogeneous as Cambridge. Such generalizations fall apart when you get to know the people whose livelihoods rely on the fossil fuel industry. Many Alaskans work for the oil and gas industry, not because they deny climate change, but because they need high-paying jobs to support their families.
Outside of academics, you can find a like-minded leftist community at Harvard — but you might have to build that community. Passionate about Bernie Sanders’s call for a political revolution, nine students and I founded Harvard for Bernie to support his 2020 presidential campaign. None of us were well-acquainted beforehand and each of us lived in different Houses and dorms. Bernie’s explicitly pro-working class policy proposals, including housing, healthcare, and college for all, were what brought us together.
It can be tiring for fat women to just “love their bodies.” It is not the onus of fat individuals to forcibly change themselves and their views of themselves, but society’s responsibility to accommodate more bodies both in our construction of spaces and our interactions with one another.
For Harvard, or any other school for that matter, to be “race-neutral” would not mean that race would not impact admissions, but that in place of an aspirational vision of an equitable society, the current racial status quo would select future incoming classes before admissions officers ever have a chance to read over applications.
I want where I live to thrive, I want it to be just and righteous. And without first loving it, it will never succeed. Because if we don’t approach the country with love, even tough love, we won’t be able to have a better outcome for all, only for some.
At the end of the day, funding is supposed to fuel science, not hinder it. If the funding system is actively preventing groundbreaking research, we have to change that system.