This Week Has Been Difficult

I haven’t posted since coming to college back in August. But I need to get this off my chest. I’ll make a lighter post about my first semester sometime later.

The last week or so has been, a lot to handle. I’ve had a variation of this discussion somewhere around a dozen times in the last as many days. But things are a lot, and I think I need to say my piece about it if I’m ever going to be able to do my homework.

This past week, two students were kicked of campus, and I think expelled, for being Neo-Nazis and posing a credible threat. I’m unclear on a lot of the details that administration hasn’t shared, and I’m unsure how much we are allowed to say of what we have been told. But thats the gist of the situation: my campus had neo-nazis.

Its started conversations about diversity, inclusion, tolerance. Which are good conversations to have, but they should have been happening before this, and I fear they will die out, that they will amount to lip service, and that nothing will change.

This week has left people scared to leave dorms, too stressed to do work. I’m not one of the most affected. I’m Christian and white. But it still has left me stressed. I’m tired of this conversation. Tired of being told everything is fine – when it wasn’t. Tired of being told this is isolated – because this sort of thing happens all the time, only this time it was my school, but it’ll happen again, probably not to long from now, somewhere else.

I’m tired of being told this isn’t who we are – because its who some people are. But I’m scared for my friends who are affected, scared because I am a hispanic, asexual girl in STEM on a premed track at a school that is 70% white, where a majority receives no financial aid.

It feels wrong to say I feel targeted or unsafe – because I’m not. My campus is safe. No one has been hurt physically. I’m not a part of the major targeted groups. Nothing that has been said or discovered is anything new – this happens all the time.

But its the first time I’ve seen it first hand. Because its one thing to know people think those things. Think, among other worse things, that I shouldn’t be in this country, because my mother came from Cuba. But its different when its someone who went to my school, who lived a five minute walk away from me.

I know and knew that I am going to a majority white, richer than average, private liberal arts college. I knew coming here that I was going to be one of a handful of hispanic students. And mostly, people are decent and don’t fixate on this, so I haven’t thought about it. But now I am.

I am the only student of color in some classes, sometimes the only student of color who isn’t an international student. I’m white-passing, I am white, and means I don’t feel like I belong in a lot of the safe spaces for students of color. I am a weird in-between.

In high school, we joked about how I am a college’s favorite type of minority. I count for quotas on paper, but look white and have a European last name. I won’t offend and rich, white donors.

I am becoming increasingly aware that most of my peers went to private school, see the world fundamentally differently than I do. Even when those differences aren’t bad, they seem unaware of my experiences, which were common back home. People eat out every other week. Swipe credit cards whiteout checking bank balances. I am upper-middle class and very lucky for it. And yet, here, I feel poor. Other kids speak Spanish learned from textbooks and non-native speakers, and my Spanish is singled out as odd, because its Cuban Spanish, because I have a lisp.

I am stressed, and I have a sprained dominant wrist, and I have an essay to finish and a physics test to take, and I am so so tired.

Its just been that kind of week.

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