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Blog considers diversity at ND

| Thursday, April 3, 2014

When senior Zuri Eshun created the blog “I, Too, Am Notre Dame” for a photography class project, she didn’t know it would grow into a vehicle for conversation about race and culture at the University.
One week after the Tumblr page launched, messages on the blog drew students’ and faculty members’ attention to issues of diversity on campus.
“It started out as just the [class] project, but once I started reading more about [a similar campaign at Harvard University] and different schools that were doing it, I wanted it to be something … that had some kind of impact on campus,” Eshun said. “So that’s why I then turned it into a project involving a lot of diversity students on campus, rather than just my friends.
“I wanted it to be something that was widespread and something that caught attention and something that really brought that sense of where we are with race as a campus to the forefront.”
The blog, located at itooamnotredame.tumblr.com, and a Facebook page titled “I, Too, Am Notre Dame” feature photos of students with messages written on their arms, palms or other parts of their bodies. Eshun said those messages are either hurtful statements that other people have said to them or reactions to those statements.
“I know that a lot of the [other schools’] campaigns use white boards or a chalkboard or something to write their saying down, and so what I wanted to do to make it unique to Notre Dame was I had them write it on them somewhere, so that it was their experience and that that couldn’t be taken away,” Eshun said.

blogCourtesy of itooamnotredame.tumblr.com/

Eshun said she reached out to students of racial and cultural minorities via email and Facebook to invite them to participate in the project. She said she included students of various minority backgrounds to make the point that “as an entire [minority] group on campus, we are going through this together.”
Eshun said she instructed volunteers to make their written messages “whatever is honest to them.”
For senior Olevia Boykin, who participated in the project, that message was “Oh, you’ve got it good. You can play that diversity card!”
“I’ll be going to law school next year, and that was the most pertinent thing that’s been said to me recently,” Boykin said. “I think a lot of people think I got in because I’m Black or I got to write a diversity statement, but … that’s not why I got in.”
Eshun said she thinks the blog scares some people because it suggests that Notre Dame is imperfect.
“Being told that something negative has happened, people take it as an offense to them,” she said. “[But] no one is blaming anyone for anything. If this is anything it’s saying there is no blame, there is no anything, there’s only going forward with this.
“If you were to take this project, respond to it negatively and move backwards, that would be a problem. But if you see this project and you see what your peers have gone through, you can only go forward with it. You can only have a change in mindset.”
Sophomore Kay Kay Fiannaan said she decided to participate in the “I, Too, Am Notre Dame” project because she wanted to encourage people to discuss issues of race and culture on a personal level. She wrote on her palms, “Are you dating [blank]? He is black too!”
Fiannaan said she realized that after someone made the comment to her, she had talked about the experience only with her friends who were also minorities.
“I thought this would be a good chance to get other people to understand that this has actually been said. This … kind of view that someone has or this idea that someone has, it’s surprising, but it’s out there,” Fiannaan said.
Eshun said she has received both positive and negative feedback to the blog.
Fiannaan said although she has heard people call the project “attention-seeking” or “unnecessary,” she believes the blog strikes at the heart of issues of diversity at Notre Dame.
“Notre Dame is a family, and it’s not perfect. And really working toward that is what matters the most, which is why all these efforts that the administration has been putting in really mean a lot,” Fiannaan said. “However, it’s one thing to be up there in the office and making all these rules and changing different parts of the structure of Notre Dame … but it’s another thing to get to the heart of the issue, which is the students.
“And that’s what this project is supposed to do, really to get students talking about this on a very personal level.”
Eshun said the blog has recently started to gain momentum.
“Where it is now is that it’s starting to kind of be talked about, but what I want it to be is something that you have to go and see or you have to kind of be a part of,” she said. “I want it to be at a point where everyone has seen it and everyone can start that dialogue.”
Freshman Manny Caballero, who participated in the blog, said Notre Dame students’ different racial and cultural backgrounds are very apparent.
“I think it’s a beautiful thing, but also, at the same time, the [blog] project helps people kind of develop a sense of community and lets them know who we are, where we come from, what we are about,” he said.
Eshun said the students featured in the “I, Too, Am Notre Dame” project are shaped by their cultures and backgrounds. She said the project displays parts of these students’ identities and people should acknowledge their messages.
“It’s not sympathizing, it’s not being sensitive,” she said. “It’s respecting that person enough to know ‘I see who you are, I see that you’re African-American, I see that you’re Asian or that you’re Hispanic or Latino. I see that, and I’m going to respect you, not only as the person that I know you as, but as the person who is attached to this lineage and this history and this culture.’
“And ultimately, when the whole thing is done, that’s what I want.”

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  • Anthony

    As a student, I don’t understand the purpose of this project. Are certain groups on campus oppressed just because they contain less individuals than other groups? I am tired of this Us vs Them mentality that projects like this promote. Will nobody be happy until there are the exact same number of people of each ethnic and racial group on campus? Every Notre Dame student was admitted to the University based on his or her merit. Projects like this make it seem like Notre Dame should admit minority students who have not truly earned their admission, even though they would be taking the spots of deserving white kids, just so the school can manufacture “diversity.”

    • none

      I hope you’re a freshman, and if you’re not, I am terrified by how completely our university has failed you.

    • Guest

      “Every Notre Dame student was admitted to the University based on his or her merit.”
      How exactly can you back up this claim?
      “Projects like this make it seem like Notre Dame should admit minority
      students who have not truly earned their admission, even though they
      would be taking the spots of deserving white kids, just so the school
      can manufacture “diversity.””
      No, projects like this one illustrate the disturbing amount of ignorance that a number of students have to constantly face coming from their peers.

  • Alum

    I’m sorry, but this movement, among all of the other “I too Am” movements across college campuses, is extremely childish and immature. I happen to be of an ethnic race myself, a first-generation child of immigrant parents, and was an under-represented minority on campus when I attended Notre Dame. I’ve lived in predominantly Caucasian neighborhoods since I graduated, and I am also openly gay.

    I’m skeptical of the project in its entirety because I, like many other viewers of the blog, am inclined to believe that there is some severe over-exaggeration and hyperbole at play here. Is it possible that these students have received such comments in their past lives? Yes. Is it possible that this happened in South Bend? Perhaps. Is it for certain that this happened on Notre Dame campus, and the comments were made by Notre Dame students? Doubtful.

    I don’t believe for a second that even the most brash of ND undergrads would ever say to another students’ face, “go back to where you came from.”

    It’s 2014. And I’m not in denial.

    Among the more conceivable comments displayed above scripted on the students’ arms, these questions were likely asked by people who had zero intention of making hurtful or insulting comments, but instead those who simply lacked the maturity or fumbled with using the more “politically correct” terminology to get the same idea across. And the words, “politically correct” honestly make me cringe.

    Either way, these students, as well as the people behind this movement, need to learn how to grow thicker skin. There is absolutely nothing wrong in taking pride in your background, your heritage, and full ownership of who you are. I encourage and applaud that. It is important to educate and share this with others.

    However, this blog does the complete opposite of that. It aims to divide people by exposing insecurities and hypersensitivities that minority students like to cling onto because they can use them as a shield to mask deeper-rooted personal and psychological conflicts. Writing them in Sharpi across your skin and taking photos in HD quality, to me, is over the top. I do not believe you’re actually gaining something of value by “getting people to talk” about these things when it comes across to the public as self-pity.

    Sometimes, people say juvenile things without thinking or knowing that they said something inappropriate. What’s the best remedial course of action? Politely inform them that their comment could come across as offensive, and they’ll know better next time to use the filter. If people claim that you receive advantages in life because of your skin color, the only person who can prove them wrong is you by working hard and ascending to the next level of achievement. Put those people in their place by taking silent action and moving on with your life and not even bothering to deign their ignorance.

    In summary, we all go through our struggles and carry our inner demons, along with past memories that do not serve us well. But most of us are also tired of people tacking racial bias onto this list of grievances. It’s about confidence, responsibility and ownership, not about lamenting and dragging out “the struggle.”

    It’s time to stop over-thinking the whole race and diversity thing. We are now generations removed from the Civil Rights movement.

    • Guest

      You were fortunate enough not to experience this, therefore it must not exist.

    • Disappointed.

      Alum, I am disappointed in the way you are invalidating others experiences. As guest suggested, just because it is not your experience, does not mean it does not exist.

      Many of these students do display “confidence, responsibility and ownership,” but they also deserve to have their voice heard on issues that affect them directly. It is one thing to have adverse opinions about this project, but to discourage these very courageous young adults from speaking up is rude and disheartening.

  • Reality Check

    “Fiannaan said although she has heard people call the project “attention-seeking” or “unnecessary,” she believes the blog strikes at the heart of issues of diversity at Notre Dame.””

    hmm ironic how the same organization that advertised this (BSA) is organizing a protest against Ann Coulter coming to campus. That decision was likely based on the issues at the heart of Notre Dame such as opposition to gay marriage and abortion but because she is conservative, now it becomes something viable to protest. Plus, half of these things could have been said by rapper Mike Jones who was invited, hosted, and performed at Legends this past Saturday. Someone want to write his lyrics on their ear or have a demonstration against Legends or Mike Jones? This is nonsense started by racial demagogues that are fed too much fuel by the University and its administration.

    • Chinelo

      The BSA didn’t plan this, as you should have seen in the article. They didn’t plan the protest either. And what fuel is the university feeding students? Please, let me know cause I’ve been waiting for stuff to change around here since my freshman year.

      • Reality Check

        Sounds like BSA is involved to me:
        “Dear BSA family,

        One of our very own, senior Zuri Eshun, has a request of us. She is doing a photo project similar in spirit to that of the #itooamharvard project. (View link here if unfamiliar: http://www.buzzfeed.com/alisonvingiano/21-black-harvard-students-share-their-experiences-through-a ) Below is a synopsis of her project and we hope you will consider contributing. All participants in this project will get free, as in $0, tickets to the Diamond Ball through BSA. Also, participating in this project gives you all an opportunity to share your life experiences in a unique way as to make the Notre Dame community aware of some of the challenges we undergo. Thanks is advance for your support!

        Synopsis of Zuri’s project:

        The I Too, Am Notre Dame campaign is designed not to bash the university but to display the experiences had by diversity students on campus. Pictures will be taken of students of color, having written somewhere on them, a troubling experience or stereotype they have encountered at the university. While other schools have done so with whiteboards, having on the skin connects the event to the person and allows that experience to be one that cannot be erased. These photos will be shown on a tumblr page. Again this is not to discredit the university. I want to inform other students that this is what is happening to their peers of color and the things they may not think or hurtful are actually adding to a very large problem diversity students face on predominately white campuses. While BSA has offered to help me find a place to take the photos, their name will not be on the project. While my intention is to simply inform the student body of the prejudice their classmates face, I know there may be some backlash and I am willing and ready to take the fall for that. Notre Dame is constantly telling us to be the change we want to see. And if that change comes with a few dirty looks and nasty responses I’d rather them be directed at me than one of the few Black organizations on campus.I would like to take pictures on Tuesday 1:30-4 and Thursday 12:15-2

        ***Again, take some time to think it over and get back to us if you are interested. You can contact Zuri directly atZuri.A.Eshun.1@nd.edu or email us back through the BSA email.***”

        • You didn’t read it, did you?

          As you can see from their email, BSA’s name is not attached to the project. An organization rewarding their members for helping a student (one of their own members, as it states) on a project does not mean they planned it.

  • Felicia

    I am not sorry about this project. I am proud of this project and I do not feel that this project is childish at all. A child would throw a tantrum and point fingers and start fights. We, however, are practicing our constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression and we did so with class and dignity. Now perhaps some people that came to Notre Dame in the past or at present have not had this misfortune of hearing these harsh words. However, are we going to dismiss the misfortune of others on the basis that SOME PEOPLE did not have these experiences? I have been here for four years now. I have seen the stares, heard the comments, basically been there done that and yes I am about to get the diploma to prove it. The University can preach all they want about the spirit of inclusion because in fact that is truly all it is a spirit. It is not something with roots it is something that floats around out of convenience for those who feel like they need to defend the honorable reputation of Notre Dame from minorities “who need to recognize that we are separated from the Civil Rights Movement.” Before there can be inclusion there needs to be understanding. There is definitely a divide on this campus and each group believes they are fighting for an honorable cause pitting them against one another. More time is spent trying to defend an argument than trying to understand where the other side is coming from. That is childish. We are the cream of the crop we are some of the most intelligent people in the nation and it hurts that we cannot come together and have a meaningful discussion about race and come to some sort of common ground for the betterment of a University that we all hold dear. This does not hurt me any more because in May I am leaving. My concern is for the future victims the incoming freshman who are going to come into this battle ground caught unawares and pickup where we left off. Why can’t we set the stage for a discussion amongst these new students. Maybe they can do something we could not. However, in order for this conversation to start someone has to start it. And furthermore so what if it is over the top. Sometimes it takes something being over the top and in your face to make a person get the hint. We do live in America a society which capitalizes off of pure, raw emotion on a daily basis. Things like this do fall on the ears and eyes of those who did not understand before and now want to. This leads to questions and questions lead to discussion, and thus leading to these teachable moments that we all want. Hate, and prejudice of any kind can be taught but so can understanding. At the end of the day that is really all anyone can ask for; to be heard, to be understood, and to know where we stand as a result of that understanding.

    • Alum

      Felicia, please get a grip and keep your emotions in check. You’re acting as though Notre Dame has stripped you of your constitutional rights. If you truly want to experience what it is like to undergo racial prejudice, emotional bias, intolerance and zero regard for dignity, then spend some time abroad in a foreign country where actual real, harsh discrimination, if not outright enslavement, exists based on class and skin color. T

      The “expression” of the blog has a self-effacing effect because it is publicly known by the greater ND community that the minority groups on campus are the actual individuals who are perpetrating this said “division” from the rest of campus. If you’re having difficulty seeing this for yourself, re-read what was stated above about using race as a shield to mask insecurities and hypersensitivities. Did you ever stop and think for a second that perhaps maybe, the reason why the so-called “fight” exists in a virtual sense is because the minority students feel like they have something to prove? It’s really all in one’s head.

      If you carry yourself in such a manner that attempts to promote a message to “understand one’s story” which, in reality, makes them sound like the victim, how can you possibly expect any redeeming outcome? Saying, “I am about to get the diploma to prove it,” gives off the impression that you were subjected to skeptics and critics all four years during your college career.

      Nobody believes that for a second, and such a statement completely validates all of the rebuttals raised to this project. You received quite possibly some of the best emotional, professional, academic and social support you could have asked for at one of the most prestigious institutions in the country, an opportunity that thousands of prospective students would kill for.

      Again, as an under-represented minority myself who spent four years at Notre Dame, and was actively involved in both multi-cultural groups on campus, I can attest that the environment there is 100% supportive on all fronts. It really is all in YOUR power to seek out the right friends, people, mentors and peer groups who act as positive reinforcements and help you realize that everybody believes in an equal playing field. That’s what it really is!!

      Whereas, if you’re going to align yourself with similar like-minded people who erroneously believe that you’re being stared at and whispered about behind closed doors, how else do you think it’s going to get any better? You’re in total control here and the power to change the attitude and perception comes wholly from within.

      This is why I know the whole “racial tension spirit” as you attribute to the University yourself, is purely a delusional group-think mindset that unfortunately continues to be passed on to each new incoming class.

      • Chinelo

        You’re discounting the experiences of others just because your experience was different. Could this really be something that’s “all in one’s head” if the ‘I, Too, Am Harvard’ movement is causing people ACROSS THE WORLD to share their very similar stories? So everyone is just paranoid?

        Yes, individuals are in control of themselves, but what we cannot control are the words being said to us. No matter what way I carry myself, how positive I am, what friends I surround myself with, etc. people have still spewed words of ignorance my way. After it happens enough times and I use it as a “teaching moment” (which by the way, isn’t what I came here to do. I came to learn), it get’s old. It’s time for people to stop being in denial about this so called post-racial America. From what history tells me, my parents where alive during the peak of the Civil Rights Movement. So no, we are not “generations removed” from it. We are the first generation to experience life after it, and there’s still a very, very long way to go. This project has obviously done it’s job, and the discussion is being had in communities that ignored the issue previously.

        • alum

          Did I ever say that my experience was 100% free of moments when I felt insecure? No. But, after much self-reflection (particularly in later stage of adulthood), I eventually DID realize that it was all in my head. Furthermore, the fact that the movement is also occurring in tandem at Harvard and other universities serves to prove that it is just a generational/maturity thing and that’s why it needs to come to a stop.

          Again, I’ll reiterate that I went through years of repressed feelings at Notre Dame because my closest friends made homophobic comments and bigoted slurs that made me feel 100% powerless and fearful. It wasn’t until I realized, in later years, that it was just because none of them had ever had any openly gay friends. In all truthfulness, I’ve since been open and honest with them and not lost a single one. In fact, the friendships have become even stronger since then. Why is that? Because I learned to develop a stronger sense of self-esteem and awareness to gently portray to them that I am not ashamed of who I am. That ultimately creates an indestructible bridge of trust and reassurance in a relationship that will only attract more genuine people towards you. It’s not like I’m trying to make a statement, break down a stereotype, or become an ambassador to an under-represented group. Rather, I’m just being who I am and people admire that.

          It’s not something that develops over time, and I am not trying to preach on a high-horse. I am just saying that it is fully available to anyone, regardless of their skin, race, religion, orientation or gender, and if everyone just tries a little bit harder to develop those skill sets, these types of debates and arguments wouldn’t have to occur.

          • alum

            sorry, meant to say “overnight” instead of “over time.”

      • Hi Alum,
        Buchi here. I just thought I’d chime in because I kind of agree with you. I do believe that a great part of the Notre Dame experience is what you make of it. As an under-represented minority myself who also spent four years at Notre Dame, I understand what you’re saying about the responsibility of each individual. Before I ever stepped foot on campus as a student, I had already decided that I was going to make the most of my college career no matter what. So when I started to see cliques forming in my dorm during my freshman year, I immediately began to branch out because I realized that the University had much more to offer than just the 5 or 6 guys I happened to live next to. I took responsibility for my own college life, and I made the decision to meet people from other backgrounds. So I get it. Trust me I do. You think people should take ownership for their own experiences at Notre Dame because they have the potential to do so. I tell anyone who asks the same exact thing.

        However, where I disagree with you is in your portrayal of Notre Dame as a utopian society where racial tensions and social discord do not exist. Notre Dame is a great place, but it is not perfect. It sounds like you had a great experience there, and so did I, but this does not mean that it is free from its flaws. You actually contradict yourself and cheapen your argument by asserting that Notre Dame is “100% supportive on all fronts” in one sentence, and then encouraging us to seek out the right friends and peer groups in the next sentence. If Notre Dame really was “100% supportive on all fronts,” why would an individual have to seek out “the right friends, people, mentors, and peer groups?” Shouldn’t they be readily apparent and not require seeking?

        I actually did not come on here to bash you. I just ask you to consider the possibility that some people were not as fortunate as you. While you experienced the great good that comes from having a supportive Notre Dame family, others have struggled to find where they fit in. Their struggle may be attributed to a variety of reasons from a lack of social dexterity to just bad luck. In fairness, some of them may not have tried very hard to fit in. But others have tried and tried and tried, but have still failed to find a space that fits them. Now, instead of welcoming them and telling them that they don’t have to keep looking anymore, you are ostracizing them and telling them that this utopian Notre Dame experience is reserved for only the people who know where to look. Is that the kind of Irish family we want to be a part of?

        • Alum

          Thank you, Buchi for the well-written and well-portrayed response to my comments. I appreciate you taking the higher-road.

          Per your comment on the 100% supportive statement, I actually do maintain that the University actually is 100% supportive. It’s just that students have this image of fear in their minds that it is not.

          I also was not as fortunate as I may appear in writing. Allow me to explain from the perspective of someone who was closeted for four years while I attended ND: I felt an irrational sense of internalized homophobia from coming out. I could have participated in 4 to 5 or the allianceND program, but in my mindset, it simply appeared to be that was going to lead to a disaster and I would lose all of my closest friendships.

          Post-college, I’ve met tons of ND students who were also closeted at the time, and we’ve all collectively agreed that we ourselves made it out to be worse in our heads than it needed to be. A few even came out while they were undergrads, and universally have said, “it got better.” Mind you, this was BEFORE prismND started. I recall that in the years following my graduation, I saw a Google Docs spreadsheet started by a fellow alum who asked all recent/young alumni to sign the document in support of the student group. I was OVERBLOWN by the number of signatures that appeared on the spreadsheet from classmates whom I had never thought would openly declare support in writing for a cause that didn’t even affect them. It then dawned upon me that it was a completely self-inflicted wound.

          Skin color, in a different vein, is not as easy to conceal. But, nevertheless, the principle still applies: if you cower in feelings of shame, however great or small, and feel as though you have something to prove to your audience, there isn’t going to be the same type of favorable response that you might want and expect from them. Whereas, taking a more passive, yet obvious since of pride in who you are, and demonstrating that strength through confidence and sincerity, you will always win.

          Regardless, your thoughts are insightful and I appreciate you offering a different perspective.

          • meh

            I came out at ND, and it got better, but I would never say the fear was completely self-inflicted. When one of the first conversations I had to participate in during orientation (oh god orientation) was about how wrong it was to be gay and how supporting gay marriage was completely ridiculous. Gay jokes were incredibly common. It did not feel like a safe place, and I didn’t come out to more than a few friends until after I was out of the dorms.

            And had I been out before attending ND, I would not have gone, and would have been discouraged from going. I don’t regret going to ND, but its flaws are many. Coming out was good for me because it was a weight lifted off of my own shoulders. The university’s continued insistence on refusing to recognize something as innocuous as a student group didn’t help.

      • Anon

        Alum, there are so many
        blatantly generalized statements and assumptions in your two responses, that I
        do not want to count or refute them all. Not to mention all the contradictions.
        And you say you received a degree from Our Lady, huh? What is this lie you
        tell? Post a picture of your diploma!

        One of your generalizations was that we receive “some of the
        best emotional, professional, academic and social support you could have asked
        for at one of the most prestigious institutions in the country, an opportunity
        that thousands of prospective students would kill for.” This is an
        opinion. There are many students here who would share narratives about how they have felt the exact opposite of that egregious statement. For example, there
        was recently an ENTIRE PRODUCTION of monologues written with narratives of
        students who experienced sexual assault at ND, and HAD NOT RECEIVED THE SUPPORT they deserved, when the brave few who did sought it. There is also ND’s confession page. Which, I guarantee, if you did a statistical analysis on the amount of times phrases/words relating to “loneliness” or “lack of support” come up, the rates would be significantly high compared to your idea of these things not existing at all. These students are sharing their personal narratives, and asking as a cohesive body that their family be more mindful of their humanity. Just because it did not happen to you, or does not ever, that does not discount the validity of their stories. It does not discount yours either.

        Old buddy, I wish I lived in your bubble, because the place you speak of sounds fantastic. But ND is not a utopian society; as a young, naive, overly optimistic sophomore in love with ND even I know that to be true. You want your experience of support and love to be recognized, while chastising theirs as “purely a delusional group-think mindset”. What is this tomfoolery of an argument? If we are arguing in such a manner, then I must argue that you were definitely sipping sizzurp while on campus and your entire experience is in your MIND. You wanted to ignore the mean glares and racist comments made by your peers, so that you could get the most out of your experience. You were in total control here and your power to change your attitude and perception came wholly from the constant drug use, and some came from this “within” of which you speak. Everyone copes differently, my guy. It’s okay. You may have been all alone when you were here, but we minorities at Notre Dame and few of the majority have each other’s backs sometimes now. Some of us stand up for one another when our family says things that hurt us. We do what we can to create better outlets like the “I, too, am Notre Dame” blog and a few other media sites. We cannot support everyone because that is just not possible at the moment, but we are also old enough to avoid deranged denial of his or her truths because it makes us uncomfortable.
        P.S. I really want to see proof of that so-called ND diploma. Are you going to post it or nah? Trolling is not nice.

        • Alum

          Wow, that’s a very mature and adult-like way to offer a rebuttal to someone. Thanks for being specific about which perceived “contradictions” are posed in my response? And no, I’m not a troll. Thanks for the accusation, but I’m not going to deign you with any veritable proof of my diploma just because that’s the best effort you can make towards making a constructive criticism.

          As far as my statement about receiving top-notch support, I daresay you ask the same question to yourself when you enter the real world and realize how immensely challenging it is to rise above corporate bureaucracy, partial treatment and favoritism. You’ll realize how lucky you had/have it at ND.

          Moreover, you’ll want to compare your college experience with students who went to larger state schools or smaller institutions where there were fewer resources to go around among a much larger volume of undergraduates.

          You also need to understand that the people who express feeling of loneliness, isolation, despair and repression is a COMMON thing occurring across college campuses. It’s not uniquely a ND thing. It happens when you’re away from your family and are basically taking independence and autonomy over your day-to-day personal health. People experience nervous breakdowns, anxiety attacks, depression, anger, homesickness — it’s all there! Yet, you have access to an unlimited volume of people and support systems at an enviable level.

          I’m sorry, but I still refuse to see your side of the equation.

      • Bri O’Brien

        Actually, private institutions such as ND and SMC have the capability to, and use that capability in some instances, to strip students of their constitutional rights. Let’s just take a look at code of conduct hearings, censoring of SAGA and PRISM events/flyers, etc, “anonymous” incident reports that are held in higher regard than the alleged, etc. Do you have any idea of white privilege? Stop putting your beliefs regarding people of minority onto other minorities. Obviously, a majority of minority students feel a legitimate need to express their feelings surrounding the atmosphere of ND/Harvard/etc.. Felicia has every right to become emotional surrounding a topic that is personal and most likely upsetting in some regards. Simply because you, for whatever reason, have not experienced similar situations, does not mean your situation is the commonality. Being an out lesbian at SMC is tremendously difficult.

  • Concerned student

    It’s funny how many of you have your facts all wrong, then want to argue about the experiences of everyday Notre Dame students…..
    You should be ashamed of yourselves for questioning brave students actions to speak up about injustice and cultural ignorance… What is this world coming to.

    And BSA didn’t start anything about Ann Coulter… Idk who told you that lie

  • Shelley

    Thank you Zuri and everyone who was involved in this project. We need to call out racism for what it is.

    If you are offended and feel that this project is unfair, then reach out and continue the conversation. Talk to friends who may have experienced something similar. This project was meant to prompt discussion in areas where many feel silenced. It’s just too easy to ignore these issues and throw them under the rug. Sure, you and everyone you know may not be prejudiced. That doesn’t erase the hurt and shame many minorities have faced.

    If you claim that racist micro-aggressions don’t exist at this school even though many, many minority students feel “other,” you’re a part of the problem. You may not be saying anything and directing hate towards anyone, but your decision to ignore the issue perpetuates the divisions.

    • Alum

      It’s not a situation about ignorance. It’s more so that the actions taken in this project are only serving to cause more self-destruction. Again, as has been stated above, it’s an example of using race and calling foul on non-minorities as a means to draw inwardly, mask insecurities, and all the meanwhile create more alienation and tension because the takeaway message to the public goes as such: “LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME! I’M THE VICTIM! LOOK AT ME!”

      I was speaking about this last night with a black girl who attended John’s Hopkins University, and discussed the “I, Too, Am” movement on college campuses. She grew up in the Bronx. Her response to me was, “while in college at JHU, I feel like I became more self-conscious of my skin color based on all the s*** that the other black students on campus gave me than any other student, minority or not.”

      At the end of the day, a lot of this is internalized.

      • Shelley

        Yes, I’ve become more aware of my race here. Despite the hurtful words and micro-aggressions, I’ve learned to love my heritage and value my racial background as a essential construal of my being.

        If I hear my diverse group of friends being called a racial slurs, should I keep quiet? Experience discriminatory WHILE other minority students relate?

        I wrote an Observer piece on a similar issue. The wrong thing to do was for me to weather the insensitivity and tell myself it’s all in my head. I would be wrong by omission. http://ndsmcobserver.com/2013/11/post-racial-pipe-dreams/