“What are you?” people would ask me. And when I was too young to answer, they would ask, “What is he?” and await my parents’ reply.
I remember when my friend began to shift in her seat during our weekly video call as the end of my story crept closer. Filled with endorphins and excitement from last week’s events, I was stripped of my usual abilities to read her thoughts and hesitations. We were just girls talking about dating in college—what was so wrong with that? Girls talked about love and boys all the time, right? But we weren’t just talking about boys and love. We were talking about girls loving boys and girls loving girls. As I finished my story, I automatically asked, “What about you?” Complete silence radiated through my phone as my mind began to connect the dots. How could I be so ignorant? Of course she doesn’t have stories to tell me—she’s at Howard University, a historically black university....
Since arriving on campus, I have been involved with many conversations with my peers similar to the following:
What you saw: A white man harassing a group of black students while shouting “White people built the modern world!” As his shrill voice fills your ears, you are surprised that racism exists on your beloved college campus. You discuss it over a meal with friends the next day, but as you focus on finals, the events in the video are quickly forgotten....
How 4 faculty helped create Columbia’s first African American and African Diaspora studies department
After decades of activism surrounding the University’s lack of dedicated scholarship to issues of race and ethnicity, Columbia approved its first African American and African Diaspora studies department last fall. Here, in light of Black History Month, some of those who made it happen reflect on the push for change in a slow-moving world of academia....
Discourse and Debate: Whose responsibility is it to facilitate conversations on sensitive topics in the classroom?
Gucci CEO addresses company’s blackface scandal, institutional diversity in fashion at Columbia event
“Oh you's a college gurl? Go be a Gucci gurl. Oh you's a Gucci fan? Let's go to Gucci Land,” and other lyrics of the eponymously named rapper Gucci Mane were brought to campus on Thursday in the form of their inspiration, the high fashion brand Gucci....
On Clement Street, a mini-Chinatown of San Francisco, Goldstar Discount Store is almost always in the sun. Its faded green awning is emblazoned in my mind as a stark contrast to the blue of a clear sky. As a child, I would run through the dark maze of the store, fingers trailing along the shelves to touch everything along the way: the good luck charms and the incense, the paper fans and the maneki-nekos. Dusty Polaroids depict my sister and I wearing matching qipaos my mother had bought us from the store. We’d grown up blocks away, nestled amongst other Asian-American families whose pastel houses were also faded from fog and rain. Goldstar itself was a place where I always thought I’d fit in. Until it wasn’t....
Our decision to move Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon from the last text of the spring semester to the first was, initially, just a logistical one. The Graduate Workers of Columbia-United Auto Workers was planning a strike and we didn’t want to give the only African-American author on the syllabus short shrift. But this year, we decided that it was important to keep Morrison as the opening salvo to a semester at a time when issues of class, capital, and race run rampant....