Pillow Talk

by anonymous, ’13

Trigger Warning: Rape, Sexual Assault 

I don’t know if I said no

But I didn’t say yes

Hands in fists, belly up

Torn from sleep

Awoken from ignorance

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On When Things Hit Close to Home

by Heather Charles, B.A. ’10 + M.A. ’12

When I was an undergraduate I had several people tell me that I should just pretend that my family wasn’t poor, that I hadn’t gone to a bad school, that I didn’t grow up in a rough neighborhood, and that I hadn’t been abused. I was supposed to pass, which should have been even easier for me because I was white. I was deeply offended by this, I am not ashamed of where I come from, I have no reason to be. I went to Stanford, what do I have to apologize for? I am proud of my working class roots, because even though it was difficult it made me stronger, a better human being, a better teacher. I also found this advice to be terribly impractical. For one thing, I had an accent, and for another I could only reference what I knew and having never seen rich people before Stanford I really only had one truth to talk about. I couldn’t lie about my mom when it was visibly clear to everyone that she had had me as a teenager. I couldn’t make up stories to hide the fact that my summers were spent looking after my brothers and sisters and reading books. There were things I obviously didn’t know about, foods I had never seen, cultural references I didn’t get, and locations I had never heard of. I developed some close relationships with people more privileged than I was so that I would always have someone to call when I needed something explained to me, which was quite often.

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Freedom, Liberty, & Justice For All

by Emilio da Costa, ’12

Panopticon

I’m not shocked that a white man killed a black boy and that the deliberations of the American judicial system resulted in that white man serving no jail time. I’m not shocked that there exists a Florida self-defense statute, colloquially known as the “Stand Your Ground” law, which not only encourages acts of violence founded solely upon suspicion, but also effectively pardons white-on-black killings. When I read Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, a book that makes the case for mass incarceration of lower-class minorities being a calculated mechanism of mass disenfranchisement, I wasn’t even shocked that the United States imprisons a larger percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid or that black males are five times more likely to spend time in prison than white males.

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Of Michael Kors and Microaggressions

by Rukma Sen, ’15

PrintYou swivel gracefully on your Michael Kors clad ankles, and stare straight at me. Your eyes are blank, and they make me shrivel and curl up inside my head like a dead, nameless thing. We are at a meeting of Stanford’s undergraduate pre-professional community and I have just asked about financing professional schools. The kindly old man talking to us has just paused, and asks us whether we have questions. I do, “What about —- school debt?” I ask.
He isn’t surprised by the question, he merely nods and begins to answer but the other undergraduates turn around and look at me. There is the swish of dyed, coiffed hair and the Gucci, Chanel and Burberry women attached to these heads turn around to stare at me.

At once, I am otherized.

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REMINDER

by Lina Schmidt, ’15

This article originally discussed only the Boston Marathon bombing. Because it is being posted now, it has been revised to include some events of the past few weeks that are also important to conversations about prejudice and privilege.

A lot of my friends, family, and fellow students at Stanford have been watching the news over the past few months. A lot has occurred: the Boston Marathon bombings, the trial of George Zimmerman and, recently, two Supreme Court decisions with grave implications for the Voting Rights Act and Native tribal sovereignty. These events all have something to do with the way US culture views race and ethnicity or, to its peril, attempts to ignore them.

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Valarie Kaur’s Baccalaureate Address to the Class of 2013

by Valarie Kaur, ’03

On June 15th, 2013, alumna Valarie Kaur, gave the Baccalaureate Address to the Stanford Class of 2013. Kaur is an award-winning filmmaker, civil rights advocate and interfaith organizer, and this is what she had to say:

President Hennessy, Dean McLennan, professors and staff, family and friends, and the Class of 2013, it is a profound gift for me to return to Stanford to address you. Ten years ago, when I stood in this spot to deliver the student address, I believed what they always tell us on graduation day – that your Stanford education empowers to change the world, that we are the ones we have been waiting for. But what they don’t tell us in college is just how dangerous the journey might be and what that courage might cost.

So I could tell you the story of how I found my passion in a classroom in the Main Quad right over there, or how I snuck a raft onto Lake Lag in the middle of the night, or how I survived SLE [Stanford’s Structured Liberal Education program].

But the story I must tell you today begins in crisis. Continue reading

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A Girl’s Guide to Getting a Gay Best Friend

by Giselle Moreau, ’16

*White cis female identifying heterosexual girl’s guide to grabbing her cis male identifying homosexual Sex and the City best friend.

Coordinate your outfits, hawt!

Oh em gee! It’s Pride Weekend and you still don’t have a gay best friend! Cheaaa, what are you doing with yourself? Time to put on those Louboutin pumps and hit the Castro gurl!

You are an ally to the LGBT community, and as such you need to find yourself a cute gay accessory to drag with you wherever you go. Stay away from the gay girls, they’ll get too confused about their relationship with you—you do not want to find yourself making out with a girl gay best friend! That behavior is so college straight girl problems #lug. Stick with the gay male, he will make all of your (fashion, romantic) dreams come true.

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Could You Not Touch It? A Mixed Girl’s Hair Intervention

by Giselle Moreau, ’16

My entire life I’ve been defined by my hair. In fact, people describe me by it, praise me for it, locate me by it—it has been the go to for people of all ethnicities and backgrounds to approach and interact with me. I even wrote my college essay on how I “was” my hair.

Last night I started pondering getting a hair cut. I was only looking to get my ends trimmed, but then my thoughts expanded and began asking me questions: what if you really cut your hair? What if you cut it short? What if you cut it all off?

7-1 Giselle

Hair isn’t a joke.

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The Power of the Party: Gender Inequality in Greek Life

by Julia LaSalvia, ’13

Author’s Note: Before I launch into an argument explaining my issues with the Greek system at Stanford and ultimately why I left, I must make a disclaimer: I think there are a lot of amazing people in the Greek community, many of whom are my best friends at Stanford. I was in a sorority for three years and a lot of my most memorable experiences occurred with the friends I made through my Greek organization. However, for the majority of time that I was in the sorority, I felt like there was something wrong. I couldn’t understand why girls, including myself, would take part in a system in which we voluntarily subscribed to superficial judgment by our peers and were constantly made to feel like we needed to impress the opposite sex.

Greek social culture revolves around male gratification – it’s often overt, sometimes subtle, but the conclusion remains the same: in Greek culture, fraternities hold the power. My goal in writing this essay is not to offend anyone, but rather to start a dialogue that might determine a way in which we can change the power dynamic of Greek culture so there is more equality between genders.

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Stanford Students React to DOMA and Marriage Equality

by Sammie Wills, ’16

Yesterday, on June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional by a 5-4 vote, because “it violated the right to liberty and to equal protection for gay couples.” With this decision, Facebook exploded with the reactions of many individuals — some full of sheer bliss, some seething with anger, and some couldn’t care less.

I wanted to explore some of these reactions, and hear first-hand what students and alumni had to say about the recent rulings.

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