It may be difficult to imagine that life at Yale, a site of immense privilege as well as a seemingly liberal oasis, could be tough for students at all in light of other, more violent instances of racism occurring across the nation. Yet Yale’s high bar of entry and its utopian image do not preclude its students from being victim to ordinary, systemic injustice. In fact, entering into a place where privilege is so pervasive may only make it more difficult for students from diverse backgrounds to assert their own identities, making greater the inequality between those who have power and those who do not. The demand we make of these student activists, then, should not be How bad is it? or Does this really happen? For at the heart of what’s going on is the long-awaited release of years of pent-up pain and frustration, caused by the slow burn of chronic, systemic injustice.
—At Guernica, Larissa Pham writes beautifully, as always, about the insidious systemic racism she and other persons of color encounter on a regular basis at one of the most prestigious, liberal universities in the world.