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  • REACTInitiative


They say graduate programs, particularly Ph.D. programs, are designed to tear you down and build you back up. Explain to me how I can trust an institution that doesn't see me or people like institution teeming with faculty who won't see me or people like build me up again?

You can Build-A-Bear.

You can Build-A-Becky...I've seen you do it. Manufactured. Mass produced.

You can Build-A-Blake. They seem to come in one-size-fits-all-CEO-slots.

But if you have spent years building a system that overlooks my identity, my struggle, my strength, my community, and my people, then how the hell you gon' build a Budrah, a Breanna, a Byron?!

You can't.

It's time for a paradigm shift. Instead of stripping graduate students of who they are just to prove some kinda antiquated point, let's start stripping these inequitable programs, racist policies, and effacing pedagogies, and building something better.

I was neva broke to begin wit.

When we build back, let's incorporate antiracist practices and policies. When you Build-A-Becky sprinkle in a little racial awareness. Matter of fact, decenter the mainstream gaze setting so that I don't have to get her all the way together when she bounces into work spouting microaggressions. She can be real sensitive to that sort of thing. You've seen the tears. Them crocodile tears from blue eyes that didn't see me when I Was in the same graduate program that she breezed all the way through.

Let's break down the atmosphere that apparently made my white professor comfortable enough to slide the N-word into a casual explanation offered to a student. Oh, he used a racial slur for Jewish people too, and just as nonchalantly. What gave him the caucacity to think that was okay? What about your university's culture reassured him that there would be no repercussions? Find whatever that thing was and strip it...instead of my dignity and self-worth. Break that thing all the way down so it can remain in that that others can look upon it and know tf that the racist folks, whom I've told to kick rocks, can drag it alongside them as they go.

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