Lastly, BSU’s demands were completely taken out of context. In no way, shape or form were they insinuating that Cornell should admit fewer African/Caribbean students. I don’t think that admitting more American Black students means admitting fewer international students. These things are not mutually exclusive.
A few weeks ago, the Trump administration declared its intention to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, giving Congress six months to act on it. As someone who arrived in the United States as a seventh grader, I cannot and will not remain silent. This decision jeopardizes the lives of nearly 800,000 who came to this country. Their families seek new careers, new beginnings and for some, a safe haven. Many have arrived in the United States in hopes of a better education.
I never expected the shift from freshman to sophomore year to be so drastic. Living on North Campus again makes me feel like I am part freshman, and walking the extra five minutes down Thurston was the only distinction I initially noticed. I still walk along the same Thurston Ave. bridge (although now also occasionally the Suspension Bridge) to class each morning feeling like an assembly line worker, I still spend most of my time in Ives, and I still pull all nighters before the deadline for an assignment. Yet over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that there’s actually quite a big distinction between freshman and sophomore year.
Everything worth saying has already been said. Everything worth writing has already been written. We’ve heard it all before. We’ve read it all before. I just hope that everything worth doing has not already been done.
Well, I just stress ate a good third of my friend’s leftover birthday cake. I haven’t gone on my daily run in several days, and my period is a good four days early. I’m not pregnant, but what if I wanted to be? Gah! I haven’t finished updating my resume from this summer.
In the fall of my freshman year, I thought it would be a sane idea to write about gun control for The Sun. As an 18-year-old barely moved into my first-year dorm, I looked at a topic that has caused intense political conflict for decades and thought, yup, time to take a stab at that. Needless to say I got absolutely flamed in the comments section. At the time, each one felt so personal. Reading through the comments now, some have a bit more meat to them than I had originally thought.
This summer, I attempted to “re-program” some aspects of my thinking. In accordance with psychological literature promoting gratitude journaling, mindfulness and the like, I resolved to following proactive steps that would hopefully offer a sense of emotional groundedness. In periodically following these steps whenever I’ve remembered them over the past few months, I have begun to see how some of the abstract theories I’ve been exposed to at Cornell may actually have an applied purpose. The other day, on the commute home, I found myself ruminating on a view called “event-causal determinism.” To summarize, under this view, it’s inaccurate to claim that other people — agents — cause phenomena. For instance, in the event that a car speeds over a puddle, splashing muddy water all over your beautiful outfit, how would you answer the question: “What caused your outfit to become dirty?” While most of us would instinctively claim it was the driver, under event-causal determinisim, blame for ruining your outfit isn’t specific to the driver.
On Wednesday afternoon, hundreds of students and staff gathered on the Arts Quad to take a knee in protest of racism and white supremacy on Cornell’s campus and throughout the United States. The event, organized by the Cornell Coalition for Inclusive Democracy, was a great display of solidarity and resistance, but there was a brief moment that made me rather uncomfortable. During his speech, Prof. Russell Rickford, history, passionately denounced the recent events on campus, and ended his time by leading the group in chanting “Free Palestine.” I understand how hypocritical it would be for me to tell Prof. Rickford that he can’t use his time to say whatever he would like. After all, that would make me more similar to the people attempting to silence protestors around the country than to those protesting in the first place. That being said, I was nonetheless frustrated with his decision to initiate a chant of “Free Palestine.”
A quick note in the interest of full disclosure: my father is Israeli, his parents moved to Israel shortly after its independence while fleeing persecution in Yemen.
By way of disclaimer, if you think Greek life no longer has a place on this campus, you and I are not going to agree on much. What happened two weeks ago is nothing short of tragic and abhorrent, so we can start with that, at least. I am a proud member of the Greek community, and I have many friends who would say the same, both in my chapter and in others. I am not a white supremacist. I do not know a single white supremacist.
Hate is a brute expression of power. At its most transparent, a cross burns on the lawn of a black family and a sign is posted in a storefront signaling who need not apply. Then, hate is motivated by a desire for power, a gruesome declaration of exactly who ought to belong. White Americans are trained to spot this kind of power grab, shown black-and-white diagrams in textbooks outlining racism like it’s some strain of poison oak that we can sketch, memorize and hop over on our way to get where we’re going. Yet when confronting bigotry that requires us to break stride, when an act of hate expresses a kind of social power from which we benefit, our response is often insufficient.