Project Open Voices: “I am a student of color…”

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The Thrill is proud to feature personal narratives courtesy of Project Open Voices, a coalition of students providing a platform for open dialogue on campus. Today’s essay is titled “I am a student of color…” and was authored anonymously. POV is accepting submissions for their newest publication until November 16th, so if you want to share your story, email openvoicessubmissions@gmail.com. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can submit by signing into a second email account: projectopenvoices@gmail.com (password: kenyoncollege). 

This Thursday, POV will be hosting an event that will provide a forum for discussion of “the hard stuff.” Check it out here

I am a student of color and I am taking a class with a good friend who also is a student of color. The professor of the class also happens to be a person of color. I know it’s hard to believe, three people of color in the same room at Kenyon, but it is true. We were talking about different impacts of culture on different parts of the subject matter. I don’t want to say what it is about because it will make it very easy to tell who the professor is. The conversation led to different ways of greeting people, for instance in some cultures people bend slightly to show respect, or kiss each other on the cheek, etc. The professor then asked for other examples and when no one spoke up, the professor turned to my friend and me and asked us to show the class our handshake. We have no such handshake and have never given the professor a reason to think that we do, other than being students of color. It was especially hurtful to hear a comment like this from faculty of color because you almost expect them to understand what it is like to be the one lone non-white face in the crowd or at least to not reinforce these stereotypes. There is no bubble for that on the evaluation.

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