“I get it; you have the right to protest, but you don’t kneel during the national anthem. That’s just unacceptable.” My good-intentioned white male friend made this comment in Thorne dining hall two years ago in light of Colin Kaepernick’s decision to ‘take a knee.’ Simply put, I was shook.
Recently you sat in a circle with a bunch of other students. You recognized some of them, but others were new faces. This group might have been a class or a club or a team. Whatever it was, the leader asked everyone to introduce themselves by name, class year and pronoun.
Editor’s note: At her request, the name of the author of this piece has been abbreviated to protect her identity. Here at Bowdoin, we have a practice of introducing ourselves with our pronouns along with our names.
For better or for worse, the powerful combination of pop culture and the Internet has long been a large presence in my life. Whereas my parents have distinct memories of a time before computers, my earliest memories consist of afternoons taking turns playing games on the Disney Channel website with my younger sister.
“Don’t you think things are better now?” This is not an uncommon question I’ve heard, from people both inside and outside the LGBT community, but it’s always a difficult one for me to answer. Yes, the crowd in 24 College on Thursday evenings is exponentially larger than it had been a decade ago, and yes, I feel safer being out in the majority of situations at Bowdoin than I’m sure my predecessors felt.
President Clayton Rose published an op-ed in TIME Magazine arguing for the importance of the liberal arts. Roughly, his argument is that today “intellectual engagement is too often mocked,” leaving us in a “distressing place… where facts are willfully ignored or conveniently dismissed” and where “Hypocrisy runs rampant and character appears to no longer be a requirement for leadership.” His proposed solution is one we’ve heard from him before: intellectual fearlessness, the notion that one “can consider ideas and material that challenge their points of view, which may run counter to deeply held beliefs, unsettles them or may make them uncomfortable.” I take issue with much of Rose’s argument, and what I find most troubling is his seeming inability to articulate, with substance, a goal, mission and role for the liberal arts that extends beyond banalities.
Last week, the Bowdoin community was in shock upon learning that President Trump would terminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). As usual, Bowdoin students rallied together in solidarity for a week to support those who would be affected, yet somehow ignored the gravity of the situation the following week.
On Thursday morning, Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster announced the recommendations of the committee charged with reviewing the College’s off-campus housing policy. Although the College aims to use these recommendations to “serve as the basis for a clear and transparent off-campus housing policy,” the recommendations themselves are neither clear nor transparent.
In today’s world, natural disasters are inherently political. They drastically disrupt and change the lives of countless Americans, and it is often the government’s job to provide support and aid in response. This responsibility falls squarely into my choice definition of politics: “Who gets what, where and why.” Because the need for government action is often so sudden, and so concentrated, there is relatively little room for partisan squabbling in the wake of a catastrophic event.