I want to say how well written this is and how well you encapsulated my feelings on the issues. I graduated SI in class of 2001 and as you can see … I’m white. A lot of what you were subjected to flew under the radar for me, but I did see a few incidents. I’m happy to say that at least a few times I stood up and called my peers out, but that wasn’t my universal response because I, like you, was growing up. As you say, SI provides an incredible education in both academics and the inequalities of society. I was nearly one of the suicides for a number of reasons chief among them that my friend’s rape was being swept under the rug and that her rapist was allowed not only to go free but given awards and congratulations. I think through my time at SI I made friends with all of two African Americans in school not because I didn’t want to be friends with black classmates but because that’s about all that were in SI at the time. Something that really gnawed at me was that SI stressed being “men and women for others” and had us write “A.D.M.G.” at the top of our papers and yet was always asking for more donations and preferencing the rich white kids regardless of the terrible things they might say or do. I don’t know if they figured it out by the time you were there, but when I were there there were two sets of users at SI. There was the stoner group who would do soft drugs like marijuana occasionally and there was the rich kid group who would go and shoot up during lunch period on campus. I’m sure you can figure out which group was targeted for suspension.
Again, SI’s education was second to none. I breezed through college after attending thanks in no small part to the research skills I learned and the AP scores I got. But it also taught me just how much money, race, and privilege matter. To you Justin, I want to say what you already know: you are right that people of color should have clubs and offices to retreat to kinda for the same reason that women’s history and lgbt history are taught seperately … everything else except those tiny spaces are made for the exclusive use of white people. I’m reiterating what you’ve said because I want you and anyone who might challenge you to know you are right. Basically, I didn’t experience SI quite the way you did for very obvious reasons, but based on what I did see I’m disgusted but not surprised at any of the experiences you had. If anyone tries to tell you that you’re overreacting or misremembering - and they will if they haven’t already - just stay strong.