Every year, thousands of Harvard students take part in internships, study abroad programs, and research. Many of us have a great time. Many do not. And yet almost no one would admit to having a bad time over summer break in casual conversation. Instead, boring internships in hostile work environments are reframed as “learning experiences."
Perhaps when we go out for dinner, we should experience a moment of discomfort, however fleeting, when we meditate on the arbitrary stroke of luck that separates the person serving from the person being served.
At the same time, relentlessly focusing on the harsh realities of police brutality and mass incarceration without recognizing exceptions to the rule eventually leads to burnout and apathy.
Given the right incentives, even the most timid ally can be emboldened to challenge systems of oppression. Given the wrong ones, even committed radicals soon burn out.
While I was spilling my secrets in a dark confessional booth, millions of similarly angst-ridden teens were sharing their stories online. Assisted by the Internet, our generation has made a lifestyle out of personal revelations.
America has embraced a new equally dangerous dichotomy between the “ethnic” and the “universal.”
HUHS should focus on fostering an atmosphere based on trust, not triage.
A tuition-free Harvard would be a far more welcoming place to all students.
As long as we maintain a definition of progress that limits itself to diversification—which often consists of the diversification of oppressive institutions—we lose sight of the real benchmark of progress: the elimination of the institutions that cause oppression in the first place.
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