Crimson opinion writer
Ruben E. Reyes Jr.
Ruben E. Reyes Jr. '19 is a former Editorial Chair and Editorial Writer living in Leverett House. He studies History and Literature, and is originally from Diamond Bar, California. His interests include United States politics, race, structural inequity, and pop culture.
Crimson opinion writer Ruben E. Reyes Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Having white friends, as a person of color, can be exhausting. It’s much easier to make friends with other people of color who already understand the way the world pushes against you because of the melanin you carry in your skin.
The political movement for equality has slowly transformed itself into an aesthetic that allows people to be progressive on paper while upholding the status quo in person.
Racial discrimination still hinders progress, and the success of Latinos in the music industry shouldn’t deceive us into complacency.
For too many people, racial violence is not relegated to the news or movies. It takes their neighbors, draws blood, and rips apart communities.
Listeners engage with the music on the shallowest level, putting it on summer playlists and ignoring its bloody roots: 15 million enslaved black people, blood shed harvesting sugar cane, countless deaths.
There’s no one better than someone who has lived in poverty to critically, and empathetically, tackle the issue.
When someone claims that they’re “just not attracted to Asian men,” it isn’t a matter of preference. It’s an example of the way Americans reinforce systems of oppression on an individual level.
So don’t consume black art born of black grief without being down for the cause.
I am tired of being overcome with emotion when, yet again, the administration refuses to acknowledge that my experiences are different because I come from an intersectionally marginalized background, and that no, we are not all homogenous privileged Harvard students.
There’s a way of preserving a sweet, Salvadorean, Mexican, or Latin American culture while getting rid of its painful, violent, oppressive components for the benefit of men and women yet to be born into it. There’s a way of rethinking our machista world.
If I don’t speak Spanish, I’ll lose it, and my children will lose it. The loss of mi cultura y mi historia is not worth your comfort, so I’ll continue to hablar en la combination de Español y Ingles que amo tanto.
We come up with answers for the problems we’ve diagnosed in the Latinx community. In our heads, we’re doing God’s work but, suddenly, the realization that we are the select few—the glowing brown chosen ones—comes crashing down on us. There’s no purpose in learning or scheming or brainstorming the best ways to help your community if you run so far away from them in order to do so.
As an institution that places so much weight on where we will be post-graduation, and the ways we will choose, as alumni, to shape the world, Harvard is committing a disservice by ignoring the reality that not all students feel entitled to make the jump into a world of suits, high heels, social capital, and class.
I wondered if that girl would have sung a different tune if she could see her community reflected in the brown hands roughened from serving the privileged students at one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
The subtlety of this truth, of the lie that we don’t belong, is gone. People will say to our faces that our immigrant narratives, our lives on the borderlands, and our melanin are now worth questioning.