“Stand back and stand by.” On September 29, 2020, the 45th President of the United States told his followers to fall back for now but be ready for his call to arms. As per usual, most people in the white community, whether it be in the media, in Congress or online, took note of his threat but doubted anything of concern would happen.
This semester was a doozy to say the least. For those of us on campus, we not only battled a pandemic that was annoying for some and completely terror-inducing for others, but we also had to balance an academic load more rigorous than many of us were expecting.
Black people have been grieving the loss of our ancestors and freedom for a long time. From the first time an imperialist stepped foot on the continent of Africa, to the violent removal from our native lands, to the demonization of traditional spiritual practices, to the rebranding of slavery into mass incarceration, to the willfull ignorance of the European American majority, to the very stress of racism lowering the life expectancy of Black women.
Fall break, for some particular reason, always falls around Indigenous People’s Day (formerly known as Columbus Day). However, this piece will not be about how most American holidays are centered around European-Americans and Christanity; the thing most present on my mind after this four-day weekend was the fact that I, for one, did not get any rest or an actual break.
It’s been a long three years, and starting this fourth year at Bowdoin has already been incredibly taxing. As the movement for our lives has picked up steam, there’s also an uptick in non-Black comrades realizing that racism is “still a thing” and that anti-Blackness exists beyond the arbitrary borders of the United States.
As I begin my senior year at Bowdoin, my mind races. My thoughts have always been rapid; growing up as the oldest daughter in a single-parent household has its fair share of challenges, and being an educated Black woman in the United States has even more.
As the Board of Trustees, you all have the “fiduciary responsibility for the governance of the College, in particular the health, vibrancy, and ability to satisfy our mission,” according to the Bowdoin website. For those unfamiliar with the term “fiduciary,” it refers to a person or group of persons that have legal ownership of a property or assets.
After reading the recent opinion pieces by three seniors of color on the racially themed parties that were held on this very campus two and three years ago, I am struck by the lack of a white opinion on these events.