by Jessica Roy
This is not the original article I submitted.
Just like most of the readers of this
journal, I attend Tulane University, and am a member of the School of Architecture. Like most of the readers of this journal, I shop at Urban Outfitters, I don’t have an incredible tolerance for spicy food, and the large majority of my friends are white. Unlike most of the readers of this journal, I am not.
My original article was submitted as a
response to another article in this journal. It was written from the perspective of a person of color attending a well-known [white] private university, and how that setting can be oppressive for members of minority groups who have managed to infiltrate that system. It is sad to me that I have ruffled some feathers in this process, but it is even more sad that trying to express my experience foiled against that of a typical Tulane student qualifies as a disturbance at all.
Attending Tulane has been a gift. I have had so many incredible opportunities, met so many incredible people, and seen so many incredible things. It is important for me to consider how lucky I am to be in a position to have these experiences.
Most of my peers do not have that responsibility. I have grown within the walls of RMH, but I have also had to
confront the realities of its contents
and connotations on a daily basis.
The second I let down my guard and consider that maybe, just maybe, I am where I am supposed to be, a professor calls me by the name of the one other brown girl.
A calculation error is followed by the ever-creative “aren’t Indians good at math?” But I have made it, I am here in the promised land of my father and grandfather. But this is not a place of growth and learning. To be ousted and reminded that you are not the norm is to stifle those goals of advancement. You begin to realize that even if you’ve “made it,” there is someone who will challenge your power.
The New Orleans spring is here, and the thunder outside is shaking my resolve. The rain is pooling outside of my doorstep, and though I am dry inside, I still feel I am taking on water.
This could be read as a short essay based on self-pity or as a plea for sympathy, but that’s not what I’m asking for. I am an Indian woman thriving in the US, attending a well-ranked and well-known college, living in a home in Uptown, New Orleans. I am studying a predominantly white subject in a predominantly white school. I do not have it nearly as hard as the hundreds of thousands of other Americans being persecuted every day based on their race, gender, or religion.
Like most of the readers of this journal, I attend Tulane University. Unlike most of the readers of this journal, I am constantly reminded that I am here because I am lucky.