Institutional Racism on college campuses: I, too, am Harvard

The article above was introduced to me recently by one of my friends. While I was going to write about something different this week, this article captured me. Entitled “I, too, am Harvard” you see a preview of a photo project from 21 students of color who attend Harvard university. Each is holding a black dry erase board which dons a common phrase that they often hear and has in some way effected them. Thinking about what we have been talking about in class I realized how much of the quotes I heard, or been through. While I respect the work that these students are doing to stand up against institutional racism, I wanted to go deeper into the things that are being presented.


One of the quotes that struck me the most was “I don’t see color…so does that mean you don’t see me.” The adaptation of the colorblind ideology within our societies only fosters the inclusions of people of color and denies systematic racism. Everyone sees color, as we have talked about in class it is not something you can’t not see.

Another quote that stuck me stated “your lucky to be black its so easy to get into college.” Believing that blacks are incapable of achieving positions of merit on their own is another example of systematic racism that our society is plagued by.

I could go on a rant with every photo that is shown but I would like to know which photo quotes struck others the most.

6 thoughts on “Institutional Racism on college campuses: I, too, am Harvard”

  1. One of the quotes that resonated with me was the “The lack of diversity in this classroom does NOT make me the voice of all Black people”. There is not one person of color that I know on campus that hasn’t said this before. It’s one of those things that I already know is going to happen in every class because of the lack of diversity on campus. In classes from Adolescent Development to Contemporary Racism, I get the looks. You would think that people were smart enough to know that one person is not the representation for the their WHOLE race, yet they still look at you when issues of your race come up and they expect everything you say to be the end all be all for the whole race. It’s frustrating and at the same time comforting to know that this is not just a Muhlenberg issue, but young white adults all over America are ignorant enough to continue to do it, and young Black and Brown people are continuously standing up against it.

  2. Wow, this was a really powerful article. I think one of the ones that really stuck with me was, “You’re really articulate for a black girl.” This statement says a lot. First of all, I’m pretty sure anyone that is accepted to Harvard has to be very articulate, but the fact that the person who said this was surprised almost that this black woman was articulate is ridiculous. Every since this was pointed out in class, I am very hypersensitive to the use of the word “articulate” when referring to black people. I just heard someone else say that, “He is surprisingly very articulate” when referring to a black boy who goes to William Allen High School. People are always surprised when they hear black people speaking very intelligently, but why does it have to be like that. I also do not like that the person referred to the black woman in the article as a “girl” but that is another story that should be discussed on a Psych of Women blog. Overall, this buzz feed article was really eye opening, and I am so glad you posted it.

  3. Thank you for posting this, Maria. I have seen this project pop up on my facebook news feed and in a few other places over the past few months, and after taking this class it has had a much more deeper meaning that has really resonated for me. I think something that we can take out of this is that microaggressions and other forms of racism happen everywhere – even in the most prestigious, well-respected communities like Harvard. I’m glad that these students are raising awareness, but the fact that comments like “you’re basically white” and “can you read?” even exist in the first place is appalling.

  4. I also enjoyed reading this article, as the quotes are really powerful. I agree with Rachel – the quote that says, “you’re basically white” stood out to me, too. This phrase implies that there are certain qualities that only White people have and that other races cannot have. I feel like this comment is double-handed, as it probably sounds like a compliment (because White is seen as standard or normal) but it really devalues other races. That’s the way I’ve heard it used in my experience, at least.

  5. This is a really interesting article! I thought all of the pictures were really cool to read, but the one that stood out to me the most was the one that said “you’re basically white”. This stood out to me because i honestly never understood people who used this phrase. I’ve heard people use this phrase, especially in high school and i never understood why people would say something like this. Is this suppose to be a positive thing, a negative thing? what do you think?

  6. This photo project is really neat, and really does give a lot of examples of not only blatant but aversive racism. The picture that stood out to me the most was a girl holding a sign that said ” Can you read?” This one in particular caught my eye because I think it shows the amount of progress that still needs to be made in terms of stereotypes that were created a long time ago. It was shocking to me that even though this girl goes to Harvard, the most prestigious and well known university in America, somebody still questioned her intelligence. They didn’t even question if she was “smart enough” for Harvard, but questioned her ability to read, something learned in grade school. I think this quote showed how powerful stereotypes are.

Comments are closed.