“I’m not crazy,” a close friend of mine told me last fall when I suggested he reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services to cope with some personal hardships. At first, I was surprised by his reaction. Then, I realized I had heard this excuse before.
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Recently, the back-and-forth generated over a string of guest columns and letters to the editor on The Daily Pennsylvanian’s opinion page has left my head spinning.
I have a confession to make: I do not celebrate Black History Month. Last Wednesday, I had to be reminded that it was the kickoff to a month’s worth of cultural festivities. This was not because I had forgotten my race.
We were guilty. There is no excuse.
When you think about the typical Friday night college scene, two types of people stand out: the enthusiastic partygoers and the studious all-nighters. We usually stereotype the partygoers as wild, drunk and typically horny, while the group who lounges all night in Van Pelt as nerdy, awkward and sexually inexperienced.
I had diarrhea. I was dehydrated. My body was covered with mosquito bites, and I wore the same sweaty shirt for three days. I was standing on top of a mountain in Agallpampa, Peru. Although I was given the fancy title of “director of marketing” for the international nonprofit organization Global Development Collaborative, there was nothing grand about my physical state.
“You have nothing to contribute to the black community.”
Before reaching the age of 18, 60 percent of black girls will have experienced sexual abuse at the hands of black men.
Another one bites the dust.
Every time I have had a discussion about my admission to Penn, my acceptance has always been questioned. I am plagued with statements like:
“I sincerely desire that the DP doesn’t waste any more ink on this fatuous egotist,” an anonymous commentator wrote in response to one of my columns. I was initially pissed off. But eight columns, 14,000 online views and over 5,600 wasted ink words later, I remain a weekly columnist for The Daily Pennsylvanian.
It was a cold October night in 2010. While many students were in their dorms staying warm, I was blind-folded and locked into a dark bathroom and ordered to wait in silence. I had just finished doing push-ups and having beer pushed in my face while an array of yelling upperclassmen tormented me. My anxiety was shared by seven other freshmen as we waited for acceptance. The door then opened, and the cheers followed. We had finally made it. Not into a fraternity, but into our elected student government office.
I have an unlimited number of meal swipes. I pay $4,200 each year. And I have fed 3,000 other people since I bought Eat Any Time, the most expensive meal plan, this semester.
I have been called an “Uncle Tom,” an “Oreo” and a “white-wannabe.” People have questioned my blackness based on my student involvement. Recently, a picture of me photoshopped next to an American minstrel was made viral through Facebook. In this picture, I was depicted as having “blackface” — one that is white but is perceived as black. Controversy ensued online, and some even tried to defend it. But you probably did not know about this until now.
It’s October. The time of year when the old and new of Penn collide. Alumni visit during Homecoming. Prospective students tour the campus. But there’s something that unites these two groups — their parents.
Conversations with women can provide the most informative revelations for a man. I was in class last week sitting across from three freshman girls giggling and chattering. They were discussing a direr topic: life after college.
Today, the Nominations and Elections Committee kicks off another year of debauchery and massive paper waste. Flyers and posters can be seen all across campus as monetary student spending and freshman endorsements (new this year) are now in full effect.
As the Lambda Alliance kicks off its annual introductory member events this week to unite new and old LGBT students and their allies, one will hear at least once of that highly publicized Newsweek ranking.