To the Editor:
Re: “Our Redefinition: Be Who, Not What, You Are” Opinion, Oct. 23
For the second time in a row, Deon Thomas’ write-up interrupted me from my normal routine to think deeply about things we tend to neglect. His article on Sept. 25 mentioned the near segregation he noticed in classrooms. Interestingly, this phenomenon is probably very noticeable across most classrooms and does not pertain to one particular genre.
To reiterate what Deon mentioned, while birds of the same feather tend to flock together, we seldom realize that we are each a free bird in this hub of education. Gaining the most of your experience here would mean interacting with an array of people and cultures, getting exposed to what ticks and flips them and trying hard to erase the unseen lines that divide our mental cavities. Being in your comfort zone is perhaps the most uncomfortable thing to do, if what you want is gaining richer experiences in the pursuit of knowledge. Those very emotions of pain, fear, doubt, insecurity and prejudice that create a barrier with our fellow humans tend to be common factors when you attempt to build a bridge and connect. It is not just who you are, but how you think that matters in nipping the buds of prejudice before they bloom in your heart.
Thomas’s write up on Oct. 23 is commendable because it strikes where it questions the most. Our definition of self builds from cultural, moral and academic experiences (in the context of Cornell) we build over the course of our life time. Embalming free spirits in water tight compartments is a great disservice we do to the self. Diversity, connectedness and being together are what the campus culture symbolizes every day. Tolerance, kindness and compassion are things that need to be harnessed for self as our lives remain miraculously woven together and for others, because life remains insipid if you do not lend a hand and reach out. What better way can we stand alongside each other at Cornell, than ending the myths that stereotypes and biases create or try to root in our fragile minds. Our hopes and lives are only as malleable as we make them — and we need to be our own moral police in making decisions for who we are and what we stand for. Fearless learning stems from a fearless mind, and this is always a choice we can choose to make.
Lavanya G. Sayam, Staff
College of Veterinary Medicine