I was inspired to write this piece because at many points in my college career, I have felt exploited by the hands of white patriarchy that deemed the issues that I faced in and out of the classroom as my own to solve. This piece is my heart and intellect in order for me to leave this institution feeling like someone with power will be forced to hear it. I did not write this piece with the intention of inciting pity but rather to start a conversation with the larger university and higher education community about the ways in which our current system robs many students, particularly those of color, of typical college experiences.
There is a vast deficit of resources for people who have the courage to make real changes. I feel it is my personal duty to voice my experience and the experience of many of my friends with hopes of stopping the cycle of exploitation of student activists. This burden is placed upon the majority of students of color and sexual minorities to fulfill roles our institution fails to support. After four years of investment in various student groups and committees, I feel that I have earned to the right to highlight issues that cripple our institution. This piece intends to also simultaneously liberate student activists. This is a liberation with respect to having a deep sense of one’s own dreams and having an unwavering conviction to stand up for our beliefs.
There are vast implications of pursuing social justice work but the career consequences are often forgotten. I wanted to use my personal experiences to highlight an issue that receives little to no attention. This is particularly important to me because I often feel pressure to minimize myself in order to defy stereotypes placed upon me. This is my public act of defiance. As a black queer woman, this is my way of taking up space and being unapologetic.
"What is the opportunity cost and burden of confronting oppression in and out of classroom?,"
New and Dangerous Ideas: Vol. 2
, Article 11.
Available at: https://docs.rwu.edu/nadi/vol2/iss1/11
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