Last year when I went on West Trek with Career Planning, almost every executive, most of who were white, described Silicon Valley as a “meritocracy,” where people are judged by ideas, not by privilege. But my privilege got me into those companies’ office.
Social change is often discussed in two ways, with the bottom-up and top-down approach. Think of them as the People versus the President. Who is responsible for change? Bottom-up says the People, top-down the President. But I say they are both responsible.
Imagine, for a moment, that you are in your favorite class of the semester. It is a Thursday afternoon, and the week is almost over. You settle into your seat, and then a student walks in wearing a mechanic’s uniform.
What was your transition to Bowdoin like? Be careful before you answer, because this is a political question. Your race, your class and your background likely played important roles in your adjustment. This column is a transcription of my own transition as a low-income Black man, as well as a more general reflection of racialized space on campus.