I was a sophomore at Bowdoin when Donald Trump was gaining momentum in the presidential election in spite of his xenophobic rhetoric. Anxiously dreading a near-fascist regime in the event of a Trump presidency, I talked with my mother about getting reacquainted with Nigeria, my mother’s native country.
Instead of waiting until junior year of college to go abroad, I dared to study in France during my junior year of high school. During my stay, my mother imparted me with words of wisdom via email.
Rape culture exists at Bowdoin, too. The pervasiveness of sexual assault and sexual harassment in Hollywood is a microcosm of rape culture that plagues the country. Still, one can feel far removed from the high-profile cases of sexual assault among entertainers without a local perspective.
“If black people hate it here so much, maybe they should just go back to their country.” A white girl in my high school allegedly made this remark while I was reciting an original poem about Trayvon Martin during our weekly assembly meeting.
As a singer and songwriter, I naturally tuned in to this year’s Grammy Awards show on Sunday night in hope of seeing some wins by my favorite artists. I was shocked to see Alessia Cara take the award for Best New Artist, since her latest album was released in 2015 and she was even nominated for Best New Artist in other music award shows in 2016.
It is easy for a minority student to hate Bowdoin. From the classroom, to College Houses, to student clubs, almost everything is perceived through the perspective of a “traditional-student” population. I was tired of it, so I decided to start writing about my experiences from a different cultural lens.
Last year as a junior at Bowdoin, I made the mistake of complimenting a female friend on her outfit; that time, she accused me of “benevolent sexism.” As a first year, I made a similar tactical error by opening the door for a friend, a liberal self-proclaimed feminist, who disparaged me afterwards.
I had a fun-packed Family Weekend at Bowdoin with my friends and family, but everything changed when the storm unleashed its wrath on Bowdoin’s campus. On Monday morning, October 30, I woke up to rain showers of epic proportions and winds that could lift one off the ground.
Being at a liberal arts college, I constantly hear about the politics of language, but I have never known of in-depth discussions on slurs and epithets. I was reminded of this last week when I attended the performance of queer disabled femme poet Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha who was asked at some point why she calls herself a “crip.” Her remarks that using ‘crip’ is part of a movement to subvert traditionally ableist language reminded me of the reclamation movement of ‘nigga,’ also known as the ‘N-word.’ This year, debates about the N-word have resurfaced in light of Bill Maher’s N-word joke on his talk show and the Instagram video of white sorority girls singing the N-word in the Kanye West classic “Gold Digger.” This debate often enters the social sphere through one question: why can’t white people say the N-word?
“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.
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.
The other weekend, I was talking with my best friend from Bates College when the subject of the surprise hit thriller “Get Out” came up in conversation. He asked me, “What did you think?” I gave the usual response, saying it was “so good” and “so funny.” He disapproved of the response and retorted, “No, but what did you really think about it?” Honestly, I had to put a great deal of thought into my response.